Organizing FAQ 2017-08-07T14:46:06+00:00

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Organizing FAQ

I’ll usually begin by spending 10 to 15 minutes on the phone with you. Then, if in Vancouver and if appropriate, I offer a half-hour assessment, wherein I review your project with you, you get to meet me, and I offer options on how to proceed, if it seems that we are a good fit.

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This is a real question I’ve been asked, but without more details, and depending on many factors, it’s a bit like asking “I want to buy a car, how much will it cost?” That’s pretty much impossible to answer without more details. That’s why it’s best to browse through my website, then email or call me with a brief description of your situation. I’ll explain my process in more detail, tailored to your specific needs.

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No. Lucky you! It’s better that I get to see your home in its natural state. That way, I can see your ‘hot spots’, challenging areas, etc., and help you make changes from there.

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Only if you want me to. Professional Organizing is about asking strangers into the corners of your home and life that you might not show everyone. After more than 13 years, I’ve seen many things, many drawers, and many skeletons in closets. I value compassion and caring, and will work with you with as little judgement as possible. Yes, I’ll discern and assess, but I do my best to leave personal judgements such as “you’re a bad housekeeper” out of it. I don’t think it’s helpful or necessary, plus it’s not my job to heap judgement on your person. In fact, I’d rather help you de-clutter your own inner negative judgements.

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When your space is already cluttered, I’ve learned that there’s not much room for demeaning judgements, so I do my best to work without those. I’m there to support you. After 13+ years in the biz, I haven’t ‘seen it all’ but I’ve seen all kinds. I’m happy to provide references upon request, and let my clients tell you what it’s like to feel embarrassed but call me for help.

 

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Another question I hear frequently.

The answer is usually, no. I’ve been in hoarders’ homes and picked up mail and newspapers from decades ago. I’ve been in places with thick layers of dust bunnies and worse: animal droppings. If you can imagine it, I may have seen it. Hope that helps!

 

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No, but I do work with people who call themselves hoarders, or with families needing to clear up the estate of a hoarder.

I work best with people who are ready to let go, who are at the stage where their ‘stuff’ is no longer as important as the freedom that comes with living with less. Most hoarders are not ready to let go, or don’t want to, for many complex reasons.

If you are wondering whether you are a hoarder, or if a family member or friend is a hoarder, there are some excellent resources online which include a hoarding scale by ICD (Institute for Challenging Disorganization)

There is also a clutter rating image scale at http://hoarding.iocdf.org/cir.pdf

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Definitely. These are transitions highest on stress lists. I’ve had personal experience with all of them. Well, except retiring. Since an early age, my family experienced death. I like to think that what I’ve been through might be put to use understanding others and helping with compassion. Let’s start with a phone call, you can tell me what’s happening in your life.

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Any day of the week that ends in y? 🙂

Or any of these times are good too, when you are:

  • Just before New Year’s Eve, and just after New Year’s Day is a great time for physical and holistic cleansing: out with the old, make room for the new!
  • Planning a move &/or downsizing.
  • Thinking of listing your property for sale.
  • Planning a renovation and want your marriage to stay intact.
  • Before Christmas for holiday preparations.
  • After Christmas for seasonal clean-up.
  • Valentine’s Day (to make room for romance or organize a romantic date).
  • The day before April Fool’s Day (to really stun the husband/wife).
  • Then seasons change, like spring to summer and fall to winter.
  • Before school starts up.
  • When the student clutter bugs are back in school.

 

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In some ways, clutter is clutter wherever it occurs. If your office is cluttered, it’s probably costing you in efficiency, focus, and time, all of which translate to higher costs and lower profits. I’ve helped clients clear their cubicles, and I’ve helped a big company of more than 200 clients declutter their entire office space.

The cubicle client estimated his sales went up by 30% as a result of our two three-hour sessions. I asked an independent contractor to estimate the value of my work with his company. He calculated that, at minimum, the company’s bottom line savings were $220,000 annually.  In addition, I helped reclaim 5% of the 20,000 square-foot space. The benefits there are easy to see!

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People are disorganized for different reasons. In some cases, clutter evolves from a lack of organizing skills; sometimes, enough time just doesn’t seem to be available for organizing; and there are times when life’s transitions, such as a baby, come along to change completely the way time is used in a home. Businesses can grow quickly, accidents happen to affect one’s health, or a death occurs in the family. All these factors can result in usually organized people finding themselves facing clutter and chaos they just don’t feel capable of handling. A high-level business coach explained the value he received: “I’m a pretty organized guy, but in the first 10 minutes of your assistance, I recognized I had already learned something valuable that I never would have thought of.“

I love working with organized people: they usually know what they want and the principles of organizing. That can make it easier.

I love working with disorganized people: their eyes open up when introduced to something new to them, but clear to me, and they love the results.

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Maybe. But then why haven’t you?

I love working with organized people, who know what’s needed, how to get there, but might just not have time. So sometimes you could do it yourself but time limitations or other life situations are a barrier. Or your time may be too valuable to be sorting old things and hauling them away, so you can call us. Some people don’t have the organizing gene, or skill. Generally my team stays 4 steps ahead, and your time is spent making decisions. Decisions about what to keep and how to utilize a space can sometimes come easier when you have a Professional Organizer guiding you through the process, asking the questions that help, giving suggestions, keeping you on track, etc. So go ahead, try it, and if you find you can’t do it by yourself, call me.

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Generally it’s better for you to be present, after all, it is your stuff, and you get to make decisions about what you define as clutter and what you no longer want. There are times when you can set parameter and come and go, while we do the work.

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Depending on a few factors, i.e. timeline, volume, budget, contents, etc, either is an option. Most of my work is one on one, but I’ve had crews of up to four Organizing Angels on site.

 

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In the Lower Mainland, I prefer to work in Vancouver and West Vancouver, because those locations are most accessible by foot, bike, or bus. I try to live a greener life, so I don’t own a car. When I need one, I book a car or truck from the car co-operative where I have memberships or need a truck, like MODO, or car2go.

I’ve also worked on Bowen Island, the Sunshine Coast, Manitoba, and parts beyond. The commute up the coast is breathtaking, and relatively easy from my downtown location, so it’s become an exception for me. Family in Manitoba means I visit often, sometimes combining visits with Manitoba clients. Plus I have a passion for traveling and would love to help you de-clutter almost anywhere in the world. (See my Travel page.)

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A variety of factors determines how a project unfolds: the size of your home, nature of the contents, volume, how quickly you make decisions, what your priorities are, your timeline and end goal… all these factors add up to your unique situation. Creating the home you desire or preparing your home for a sale and move could range from $500 to $5000, or more. We work with you and your goals, there are options.  Hourly rates or packages are available. I have several packages, including The Inspiration, The Renovation, and The Excavation.

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Yes, I charge my hourly rate for travel time beyond 45 minutes, and for travel outside of Vancouver.

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Yes. But understand that it’s best if we each make decisions about our own stuff. Over the years I’ve learned strategies that can help couples. I’m not a marriage counsellor. Maybe you could try both, Goodbye Clutter! and a therapist?

 

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No. Garage sales can be a fun way to reduce volume. But most garage sales don’t make the kind of money that would be profitable for you if I was there for the day, at my hourly rate. I can help you prepare, give you tips, and possibly drop by for coffee on the day.

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I think the five ounce bar of gold tops the list. It was hidden in the back of a lower cupboard, wrapped in kleenex, in a baggie containing cash, jewelry, trinkets, and the bright yellow bar with 5 on it. We happily called the client, who was out for lunch, immediately share our find. What might be found in your clutter?

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