Even Professionals Need to Hire Professionals

Confession time: I am a professional organizer and I had to hire an interior designer to help me figure out how to squeeze more storage into my small space without making it look cluttered. Phew, I’m glad I got that off my chest. It was a great experience to be the client instead of the professional. Here are a few insights that I want to share with you:

  1. You are very brave to invite me into your home and allow me to open all your drawers and closets. I finally understood the extent of your bravery when I was sweating bullets and having a nervous stomach when I had to send

    My notes and floor plan from my session!

    photos of my home to the decorator; these pictures did not include insides of drawers or closets.

  2. I understand your urge to clean before I show up. But showing me the whole mess (aka not cleaning up before I arrive) allows me to see where stuff lands and/or lives. I sent pictures to the designer ahead of time that plainly showed the chaos in my house. I then cleaned up before she came because I knew we would be moving around some furniture (plus I was afraid she’d twist an ankle tripping over a kid toy).
  3. Be open-minded and open yourself up to alternate solutions. Some of your ideas haven’t worked in the past so why not try someone else’s ideas for a bit and see if it grows on you.
  4. You must advocate for yourself. My designer had a vast array of knowledge but I had to be straight with her when I thought an idea wouldn’t work. For example she proposed putting up a room divider that would block the television from the kitchen, a huge problem since my husband likes to wash dishes and watch the news at the same time.
  5. We are professionals but we are not perfect. Although my designer had a lot of great ideas, not every idea worked out.
  6. Sometimes moving stuff around makes the light bulb go off in your brain. You are often the person who comes up with a really great solution. There was a table the designer was suggesting I move elsewhere but while moving it, I realized it could open up to the perfect size for a game table. Therefore it earned its chance to stay in my living room.
  7. Implementing changes in waves keeps the project from becoming overwhelming (and it keeps your bank account from feeling the brunt of it all at once.)
  8. Hiring a professional helps you avoid making purchases that would exacerbate your problem. My designer provided me with specific features to look out for in furniture and lighting. Instead of throwing everything out, I was able to repurpose pieces and prioritize my new purchases.
  9. Give it a month before writing off a new idea as not working. My husband and I didn’t like the new location for the lamps in the living room because we thought they cast too much glare on the TV. But after living with them for a month in those new places, we realized it wasn’t a problem at all.
  10. After working with a professional, you might wonder why it took you so long to hire her. I could have improved my living space ages ago and enjoyed the benefits from it.

All of my insights could help you to work with a professional organizer or any other type of consultant. If you do your homework to find someone who shares your core values and demonstrates that they will customize a solution to fit you (instead of forcing you into their cookie cutter idea of what is correct), you will have a successful experience like I did.

About Gabriela Burgman

Gabriela's mission is to empower her clients with the tools and motivation they need to get and stay organized. Prior to becoming a Professional Organizer, Gabriela worked in a photograph archive as well as several university archives, assisting offices, administrators, and retiring academics to sort through their files for preservation or disposal. She became a professional organizer in 2007 working as an independent consultant before joining Living Peace. When Gabriela is not learning new ways to organize photos or paper both physically and electronically, she is spending time on what matters most to her: visiting with family and friends, reading a good mystery book, or cooking a tasty meal.

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