How to become a professional organizer & earn more money

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If you enjoy decluttering and packing away stuff or figuring out the best way to organize your tasks and documents, you may want to try your hand at making money by organizing professionally.

Professional organizers find efficient, time-saving solutions for clients who deal with anything from limited space, too much clutter, poor workflows, or all of the above. Think: working smarter, not harder. If you’ve got a passion for fixing up spaces this way, you can make a job out of organizing. 

Types of work you can do as a professional organizer

female organizing stuff in their kitchen

There are many ways to make money as a professional organizer. The clients you’ll work with may need help with their homes, workspaces, and events. Here are some examples of the work you may do:

  • Organizing physical documents

  • Creating storage solutions

  • Packing and unpacking items

  • Lifestyle coaching, e.g., minimalism

  • Optimizing business workflows

  • Speaking engagement, e.g., public speeches

  • Organizational training, e.g., organizational skills

  • Paper and filing management

  • Budgeting and financial planning

Home organizing

As a professional home organizer, you can work directly with your clients. Here, you can organize your clients’ personal spaces, be it in their closets, kitchens, or home offices.

  • Pantry and closet space organization

  • Space management for home downsizing

  • Clutter management

  • Moving and relocation management — for packing and settling in

  • Designing workflows for home offices

  • Digital file organizing

Event organizing

Do you enjoy a more social setting for organizing? You could also look into organizing different events. You can provide the following services:

  • Event management

  • Event communication and coordination

  • Budget planning

Business organizing

Organizing isn’t just about cleaning up physical clutter! If you live in a big city, there will be full-time positions open for professional organizers. The work you’ll do can vary for each business’s needs. Here are some examples of work you can explore:

  • Designing optimal workflows for businesses

  • Admin work, e.g., physical and digital file organization

  • Creating storage solutions

  • Lifestyle coaching, e.g., minimalism

  • Speaking engagement

  • Organizational training

Organizing consultancy

Ready to make a bigger commitment to take on projects full-time with yourself as the boss? Start an organizing consultancy so you can build even more experience and get bigger projects. You can choose the range of services you can offer as well.

This will mean that you’ll need to register your business. Learn how in the next section!

5 Steps to become a professional organizer

admin sorting through color coded files in a drawer

There’s no set path to becoming a professional organizer. It pays to be armed with the knowledge you need to know before investing in the job. Here are some key things you’ll need to know before getting started.

1. Secure your toolkit and work equipment

A professional organizer’s toolkit will differ depending on your area of expertise and your client’s needs. To kick things off, here’s a list of essential tools all organizers should have when starting. 

  • Standard writing supplies like pens and papers

  • Office supplies such as clipboards, staplers, and scissors

  • Labels or label makers

  • Adhesives like tape and glue and adhesive removers

  • Disinfectants for cleaning surfaces

  • Measuring tape 

  • Tools for basic installation like pliers, screwdrivers, hammers

  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) like gloves, masks, and protective clothing

2. Find experience

You don’t need to be a professional right away. Find a client who needs your help and build your knowledge in problem-solving. Every organizer will have a unique situation they’ll need to figure out as they go along.

The best place to start is with friends who need assistance. You can then start networking from there.

3. Build a portfolio

Documenting their work is a step others might overlook. Having a portfolio ready will help you land more clients. Curate all your organizational work online through a website or social media. Both are easy to whip out to potential customers and are great for exposure, too! 

4. Get a credential as a Certified Professional Organizer (CPO)

Set yourself apart and get a certification. This gives you an edge with credibility, the capacity to offer more complex services, and ultimately charge an even higher rate for your expertise.

Here are some requirements you’ll need to note:

  • A minimum of a high school diploma or GED to start a course

  • Take an online course with the National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals (NAPO)

  • Sign and adhere to the BCPO Code of Ethics for Certified Professional Organizers

  • Get at least 1,500 hours of paid work experience in the last 5 years

  • Take and pass the CPO exam

An important note about getting certification is maintaining your title. There are additional steps you’ll need to take:

  • Pay the annual maintenance fee of $100

  • Apply for recertification every 3 years

  • Choose between taking 45 hours of continuing education or retaking the CPO exam

5. Register your business

When you’re confident in navigating the waters of the profession, you can register your business. 

  • Register for a Trademark 

  • Get a business license for your city, county, and state

  • Acquire a Tax ID

Find work that you love

Being a professional organizer can be quite a rewarding job. You can empower others with a more simplified method of sorting different things. You also don’t need a certification right off the bat. If you’re ready to try your hand at organizing professionally, you can become a Tasker to build your client base and do work you know you’ll enjoy.

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Frequently asked questions

Freelance professional organizers are usually paid by the hour, while full-timers get periodic paychecks from their company.

Depending on your state, you can earn anywhere from $90 to $135 per hour. This can also change depending on the type of service needed.

You must be ready with everything you need before accepting a job as a professional organizer. Here’s a quick checklist:

  1. Identify the type of organizing you thrive best in

  2. You can opt to take Professional Organiser Training before finding a job

  3. Gather the equipment you know you’ll need

  4. Set aside petty cash if you need more materials for your service

  5. Connect with clients who need your services

The demand for professional organizers has indeed gone up for many reasons. One is the recent popularity of the KonMari method, and another is the sudden need for a functional home office due to the rise of remote work setups. Rest assured, you’ll be able to find work fit for you.

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