If you have an uncomfortable amount of clutter in your home, you’re far from alone. In fact, an entire industry—professional organizing—has come of age over the last few years in order to address the clutter that fills our lives. Storage is often only one piece of the puzzle for home organization, and these professionals offer more than what meets the eye. We spoke with Jennifer Martin of Philadelphia’s JM Home Organizing about what a professional organizer can do to lighten your burden.
Too Much Clutter? You’re Not Alone
As Martin confirms, professional organizers can help people of practically any personality, living space, or lifestyle. “I have different types of clients. Most tell me that they have too much stuff and too much clutter, which causes them to feel overwhelmed. Some are moving and want to make the best impression on prospective buyers. Some need help unpacking in their new homes. Others have too much paper.” Though the reasons for hiring an organizer are endless, the root of the problem seems to be universal. Martin articulated this similarity her clients share: “I work with a lot of busy, working people who have lost some sense of control over the maintenance of the house. All of them, though, are looking for someone to help them clear the clutter and create some sort of system to keep on top of it.”
‘Tis the Season for Organizing
“Spring is very busy with people ready to clear the clutter form their homes,” Martin explained. “I think they have spent too much of their time indoors looking at their things and, eventually, what they have grown tired of.” She also noted that this is a very important time in the real estate calendar: “Spring is definitely the kick-off to moving season. I have a lot of clients who want to stage their homes for sale and also are decluttering years of accumulation.” On the other side of the calendar, Martin explained that holiday time is also relatively busy, as her clients often scramble to get their homes ready for guests. “Organizers are busy most of the year, with the exception of January and February,” she finished. “Those are slow months. It’s cold here in Philly, and people need a break after the holidays.”
Martin was also quick to mention that, often, her clients may experience a sense of shame or embarrassment. She elaborated: “Of course, people feel some reluctance or embarrassment to let anyone in their home when they feel their home doesn’t look its best, even though they have asked me for help. I am here to help, not judge. I always tell them that, if they were the only one with clutter or disorganization, I would not have a job.”
Experienced Professionals Help You Face Down the Challenge
Your professional organizer will have the experience necessary to cater their service to your specific needs. “While I do tailor organizing to each client, the steps I take are usually the same,” Martin explained. “I asses what their goals are. For example, clear a basement or organize a kitchen for better flow.” This strategy is contingent not only on the space, but on the personality of the client: “I always take into account the type of person or family that I am working with and their preferences. Some folks like to see most of what they own out in front of them and others like to tuck things away. Either way, they want a neater, easier to manage home.” Once she assesses her client’s space and preferences, Martin turns her thoughts into action: “Then, the steps are often the same; sort, purge, and organize. I also, of course, include teaching my clients certain steps to maintain their home.”
“There are two types of challenges that I help with,” she continued. “For one, most people cannot see their home objectively, so they don’t notice how negatively a poorly-placed piece of furniture is affecting them, or they don’t know the best way to store certain items.” Martin was able to provide this illustrative example: “One example of this is a client who was keeping her mail in baskets in the dining room. The baskets looked bulky and the mail was still piling up. She thought she was tucking it away out of sight. We made an office space for her in another room, and I gave her tips to manage her mail better. Now she loves her dining room and by just removing those baskets, we opened up the space.” A professional organizer provides an objective, distanced opinion, which will help clients understand exactly what is wrong with their current organizational system.
Martin then explained that the second challenge her clients face is the inability to remove items they no longer want or need. “This can be things that need to be tossed, like old paint cans or weed killer, or where to store things like memorabilia or furniture that they are holding for the children,” she articulated. “My clients have very busy lives, so for them to investigate removing these things and then to actually do it is overwhelming. So they are left with the clutter. Organizers, of course, have the resources to remove unwanted items and will physically organize a home. We get it all done quickly!”
Additional Services and Support
Most professional organizers offer coaching or transitional assistance as additional services. Some, like Martin, offer help during one of the most stressful events a person can experience: moving. “I work with many people on moving preparation and move-ins,” Martin explained. “Moving preparation essentially means decluttering and simple staging. I help them discard the clutter they have accumulated over the years that they do not want to bring with them to their new home, but also to help ‘thin out’ the belongings that they love.” She explained that this often means her clients may need a place to store these extra items—books, dressers, and furniture. “These are things that either look too personal for showings or that the realtor suggests makes the rooms look too cluttered.” In these cases, Martin suggests finding a storage solution, like our full-service Philadelphia storage units.
Martin can also help with the other side of the moving process: “Move-ins can be just as exhausting for clients as packing. It takes great effort to put everything away in its best place in the new home, and many people do not have the time or physical energy for this kind of careful work.” Regardless of your particular situation, you can find a professional organizer who offers the services you need.
What Sets JM Home Organizing Apart
If you’re searching for a Philadelphia-area organizer, JM Home Organizing is a great place to start. Martin told us, “When your home is organized—including clothes, closets, kitchen, and paperwork—life becomes streamlined and easier. I work with people on the flow of these areas. There is no such thing as a perfect house, and my intent is to make home life better for my clients.”
She finished by explaining why she got into the business: “I love working with busy moms. This is really the reason I became an organizer. Moms have careers, maintain a house, and they take great care with their children’s education, extra-curricular activities, and even meal planning. They are exhausted. No one can do all these things without some help or guidance. My goal is always to make their burden lighter.” If you’re a Philadelphia mom, JM Home Organizing might offer just the assistance you need.