While all people have their strengths and weaknesses, an organization is a lot harder for some people than it is for others — particularly the process of becoming organized. It’s one thing to live by a routine or keep up well established good habits, it’s quite another to establish that routine and those habits. Some people live and breathe to sort things out, to create order from chaos, however, and they are called professional organizers. They can help you.

If you do not have the gift of organization or the time to commit to establishing it in your life, it’s not a weakness to involve a professional – it’s just good sense. Organizing is a skill, and skills are what we pay professionals for. How does one go about finding a good professional organizer, then? There are a number of ideas:

  • The National Organization of Professional Organizers (NAPO) has an online directory that allows users to search by country or zip code and environment (business or residential) and filter for specific areas of expertise. This would be a good place to begin any search.
  • Another available directory is FindMyOrganizer; it allows for searching by state or Canadian province.
  • NAPO also has several helpful videos online in their How to Choose a Professional Organizer Series. Watch these for tips.

Determine up front what expectations you will have for your organizer. Are you looking to hire an educator – someone who will teach you the skills you need to organize yourself and your work or family – or an ongoing hands-on helper – someone who will be a part of your regular schedule and will help keep you on task? With that decision made, you can better go over your options.

Once you have narrowed down your choices by geographic location, take some time to look at the websites and social media of the organizers on your short list. Don’t forget online reviews as well. They can be invaluable. Taken together, they will give you an idea of the personality and strengths of your choices, as well as what aspects of the organization they choose to focus on. You want to find someone you can work with companionably to help overhaul your life. Ask your friends and family, particularly those who are also a bit organization challenged if they would be interested in hiring your organizer as well. Not only will involving them reinforce your commitment to doing this, you may be able to negotiate a deal if you can generate enough new business for the organizer you engage.

It’s important to remember when determining who is best to hire, that value is more important than the price here. How much time do you waste every day, every week, every month, or every year because you can’t find things? How much money do you waste regularly because items you own get damaged because they are not properly put away or cared for? How valuable would more peace of mind be to you, to know that you will not be missing meetings or be forgetting to turn in important forms?

Look through the rooms in your house and rank them in terms of your happiness and satisfaction. Go through your bank statements and see how much you’ve been paying in overdraft fees because your finances aren’t in order. All of these are important considerations to factor in and positive reasons to find the best possible organizer you can to help you.

Calculate how many hours every week you tend to waste due to bad organization, then do the math by how valuable your time is at work. If you waste 3 hours a week finding things you’ve misplaced, and your hourly rate is $25 per hour, a good organizer would be worth $75 per week to you. Multiply that by 52, and that’s what a good organizer could save you over the course of the year. If time is money, that’s what you’re wasting by not hiring a professional to help you. The great thing about organization is that improving it will improve almost anything or the efficiency of any task. The process can be kickstarted at any time as well, so if you are losing time and/or money due to disorganized habits and surroundings, do yourself a favor and start your search for a professional organizer today.