Frequently Asked Questions
What do you consider to be “organized enough”?
Your home doesn’t need to look like a model home in order to be considered organized. Your papers don’t all have to be filed to be organized. Your drawers don’t need to be worthy of being photographed. “Organized” is a measure of how quickly you can find things, how comfortable you are with your environment, and a measure of how you would feel if someone knocked on your door unexpectedly. Can you find the birth certificates and social security cards? Can you find the 2014 tax return? Do you have a pretty good idea what’s in each of the stacks in your office and can find the document you want in less than a minute? How you feel about your answers here is a measure of being “organized enough”.
I have friends who have offered to help me. Why should I engage a professional?
Many people tell me that their siblings, friends, or parents have helped them clear an area, but that it was emotionally charged or that the problems recurred. While working with you, I'm an objective party and I'm also trying to discern what might help you stay more organized in order to maintain the goal. Second, I continuously hone my ability to ask good questions and to better deduce what someone really needs. Last, I’ve tried multiple solutions in other homes and have a better idea what works for a majority of people. I would be pleased to mentor you with tips, tricks, and skills needed to maintain the functioning space or new process that has been created.
What should I expect in the initial meeting?
For local clients, I like to do an onsite visit, sort of a “pre-meeting”, so I can better understand the challenges and wishes. In this hour, we’ll talk about the reason I was called, your goals, what’s working and what’s not working so well anymore. For long distance clients, I also do a similar assessment by phone.
I don’t charge for this initial chat, as I consider this to be MY benefit to get a feel for how to prepare for an effective first organizing session.
How much do I straighten up before you arrive?
Don’t. Isn’t that easy??
Actually, besides the fact that I don’t want you to fret about my visit, there’s a reason for this: I want to see what’s really going on, where the clutter naturally collects. By not cleaning up, you actually help me. It’s like taking your temperature after you’ve already taken the medicine. It can mask some of the symptoms.
What is YOUR attitude as an organizer going to be about ME, a disorganized person?
I find that the very traits that make my clients disorganized or unable to keep up with their lives are sometimes the very traits that make them very interesting and, often, very successful. Artists, entrepreneurs, and other creative, busy people have an especially hard time staying organized. I see my job as lifting a burden off of these people so they can be free to do what they love and do well.
And think about this, I love organizing and helping people and I get to live my passion by spending time with people who need and appreciate me. Golly, why would I want to judge you?
What should I expect in an organizing session?
When working with clutter, a typical session often begins with additional conversation about the area or things to be sorted so your goals are clear to me. As we create categories of items, you’ll be guided through the decision process. This process starts slowly and, as I see trends in your thinking and as we develop a mutual trust, it speeds up.
Can I just tell you what I want done and come back when it’s finished?
In some cases you can, but I strongly prefer you do not. When you aren’t part of the decluttering process, there are drawbacks: You don’t learn how to question yourself about what to keep. I don’t get to learn how you made decisions on obtaining or keeping that item initially. I don’t give or throw anything away until you approve my decisions so your absence will slow down the process. And, importantly, it takes longer and is more costly to you if I'm taking time to guess your preferences rather than asking as we go along.
How long will it take to get me organized?
This is a common question and perhaps the hardest to answer. Time to organize varies dramatically between people and situations. Factors such as your mood that day, your natural capabilities, or your personality type have an effect on decision-making. Emotional attachment or detachment to the situation or area being worked, tendencies toward Attention Deficit Disorder, and the complexity of the task also affect the process. At one time of your life, sorting through a desk might have taken an hour. If you’ve had some difficult circumstances, that same sort might take three hours. For a simple example, a grieving client will obviously take extra time to sort a box of keepsakes. After working with you a couple of times, I can start to guess the length of the next project phase.
Do you get down in the clutter with me or do you just coach me on how to do this?
I'm with you all the way. I come alongside you to do this work. If you have a closet with old dust on everything, I usually have enough dust masks to go around!
Will you make me throw things away?
Nope. It’s likely that I’ll encourage you to reconsider a “keep” decision, and maybe go back to that decision more than once, but your things are just that: YOURS.
What do we do with the items I decide not to keep?
I continue to build out a comprehensive list of donation sites. I find that it’s often easier for you (and for me!) to give away something if we know that the shoes or paper plates or lawn trimmer will be used or appreciated (and won’t end up in a landfill).
Can you help me with decisions on what to keep, and especially how long to keep papers?
This is a primary reason people hire an organizer for their office. Though my advice can never be taken in lieu of the advice of your accountant, attorney, or financial planner, I can offer general guidelines on what you need to keep. I can also help you determine what to keep somewhat available and what can be archived or stored. We'll talk through how to make these decisions as we whittle down those dusty stacks of paper. After we're done, you'll know how to go about making these types of future decisions (and I hope you'll think of me fondly as you do it!)
I’m concerned that you’ll see my financial information when we file paperwork.
You know, depending on the work we’re doing, I probably will see a statement balance or account numbers. There are ways to work around this if it creates uneasiness until you know me a little better. I take your concerns seriously.
I'm governed by the Board of Certification for Professional Organizers' Code of Ethics. Their website can be accessed via the CPO logo at the bottom of this page.
On a slightly different angle here... If you don't feel a trust with me pretty quickly, please don't hire me. Please interview other organizers. This work is trust-based and I'd be Happy to recommend other organizers that you might like.
Why should I choose Top Drawer Organizing LLC?
I have a servant’s heart and I've held leadership positions. These combined traits uniquely enable me to work hard for you as well as guide you through this process.
Also, I'm pretty serious about the work I do. I've been trained by experts in the field. I was the first board-certified professional organizer in Dallas. That, along with the fact that Top Drawer Organizing has been in business since 2004, demonstrate my long-term commitment to the industry and to you. My mission is to bring peace to cluttered lives and I'm passionate about that.
What geographic areas do you serve?
Through word of mouth, I think, it happens that my primary client base is in Dallas along the Dallas Tollway corridor with a focus in the Park Cities and Preston Hollow. I also currently serve clients in downtown Dallas, Richardson, Plano, Coppell, and Southlake.
I don’t want people to know that I use an organizer. Cool?
In the early days, before organizers were commonplace, some of my clients wanted to be discreet about not having done the work themselves so I decided not to put a logo on my car.
I'd ask your permission before using your name. I've realized before that I was organizing for people who are friends, whose children were in the same class, or who play golf together. I got permission from both parties to share that fact -- and they got a kick out of it!
Can you help my parents / siblings / friend / spouse?
Of course! I have Gift Certificates available for customizable dollar amounts or for specified services. However, this won’t be successful if you are promoting change that they aren’t ready to make. If your loved one has expressed a desire for change, especially if they have wished for an organizer’s help, this is a wonderful idea! If you, however, have wanted this person to declutter their closet for years and they have not wanted to, an organizer’s help won’t solve your problem. Items may get rearranged, but seldom is the buyer’s goal really reached if the goal is to pursue their own desires in buying the gift. I’d love to have your business, but I’d prefer a successful outcome.
We can't all be gifted at everything. (Bummer.) I can refer you to others for:
Hoarding help for you or for your loved one. I have some training here but I think there are other DFW organizers who are more talented in this work.
Hanging pictures or installation of items involving a drill. (To my chagrin, I'm sort of a girlie-girl when it comes to tools.)
Attics and some basements or garages. Very old or very fine dust has become too difficult for me after this many years of developing the allergies around it.
Any other questions? I'm a phone call away.
25 Highland Park Village
Dallas TX 75205