Tips for getting organized, from a professional organizer

When should you hire a professional organizer?

I recently learned about the some of the profound benefits of decluttering and organization, how it can make your life more efficient and make your mind calmer. Perhaps you, too, have heard about professional organizers but don’t know how they work or exactly what the benefits of working with one might be. We brought in an expert to tell us tips for getting organized.


Stormy Alexandra Perez, from StormySays, was kind enough to sit down with me and tell me about all the things that homeowners should consider when considering hiring a professional organizer, and how professional organizers work. Stormy has been a professional organizer for four years and has done countless closets, living rooms, offices, bedrooms and whole entire houses for clients (including my closet). She’s here to share with us her tips and advice. She can be reached at (917) 659-3291 or through her web site.

What are reasons that homeowners might use a professional organizer, instead of just tidying or decluttering on their own?

Simple – it’s very overwhelming when you try to do it alone, and to be honest, not many people know how to organize their “stuff”. If you have accumulated a lot of things in your home it can be extremely hard to to see a way out or to motivate yourself to deal with it on your own. This is why many people hire me, to help motivate, teach and coach them through the purging and organizing process. On top of that many of my clients are busy with family and work obligations and can’t wrap their head around adding another task to their already exhaustive “to do” list. Some of my clients know that their home is not functioning in a way that helps them but in a way that hinders them and they can not set a plan in motion to fix the issue.

When you work with a client, what is the outcome that you are seeking?

At the end of the day I just want my clients to feel less overwhelmed by their homes and to see the benefits of maintaining an orderly home. I also want to be a catalyst for my clients to reach whatever goals, whether it be moving, downsizing or just being more efficient in their space.

What are some of the main benefits that people see when working with a professional organizer?

One of the biggest benefits of hiring an organizer in my opinion is the support that we provide to our clients. Many of my clients know that they can depend on me to be there for them. Organizers can be a great source of information as they are often able to suggest ways to help individuals live better in their space by being knowledgeable about storage and organizing solutions and products. Working with an organizer can also bring in extra income for the client because often,  in the work that we do together, clients usually find items that they can sell. An organizer can also provide long term help with keeping household items organized.

What are some of the mistakes that people make in organizing your home that you most seek to correct?

I see a lot of clients who go to the Container Store or Amazon and purchase organizing products that they do not know how to implement nor really need. It’s putting the cart before the horse when you buy products before knowing how to utilize them. The second thing I see clients doing is trying to organize before they have purged their homes. Packing up a home without purging is a huge mistake and often cost the homeowner more because they are wasting money on moving items they may decide to throw out later. There is also this myth that in order to be organized you need “boutique style” bins and storage products, which is not true at all.

What are some efficiencies benefits that your see clients make after working with you?

Because organizational systems are put in place that suit their specific lifestyle, my clients tend to comment on how easy it is for them to get up in the morning and start the day, or work from home. When everything has a place, they spend less time searching their homes for things they need.

Clients with children have expressed that they spend less time cleaning up toys and spending more quality time with their children because cleanup is easier and can be done quickly. The behavioral skills my clients learn while we work together helps to function better outside of their home, they are more likely to schedule their time properly and to be prepared when mishaps happen helping them to be proactive and not reactive. Lastly, many of my clients start to budget their money and pay more attention to it because they see how much money and time they may have wasted double buying items that they lost or had no idea where they were.  

How should homeowners go about finding a professional organizers and what questions should they ask?

Finding a professional organizer is easy, however its finding one that fits your needs that can be challenging. I would do a google maps search with keywords such as: professional organizer, decluttering specialist, organizing specialist to gather up a list of local organizers. I would then reach out via their websites or provided phone numbers to speak with them directly. Some organizers do a free phone consultation, which is great but many times a phone convo does not allow for a true assessment, so I always recommend setting up a consultation with a professional organizer in person.

While speaking to your list of potential organizers you may want to ask them:

  1. What their process is and how involved do you (client) need to be in the process?
  2. What are their rates and what is included in the rates?
  3. Do they have a list or contacts for donations and bulk trash items?
  4. How long have they been an organizer and maybe one or two descriptions of clients homes they have worked in (large jobs to small jobs)
  5. Why did they chose to be a professional organizer?

How did you get into the business?

I started Stormy Says when I was let go from a job. I was determined to not work for anyone else, especially anyone who could fire me at a whim. It was also at this time that I realized a typical 9-5 career wasn’t my thing and definitely was not going to help me live the life I wanted to. I really wanted to help individuals, families and businesses work, live and feel better in their spaces and provide support during some of life’s most challenging moments. I offered to organize my friends bachelor pad and while doing so some of his friends saw what I could do. They decided to hire me and refer me to their family members, and the rest was history.

What is the most satisfying part of your job?

Clients often to tell me how I saved their lives or that they couldn’t of done this without me, and although I take that with a “grain of salt”, I know that such powerful statements come from a place of relief and peace!