It’s time to set the record straight on organizing vs. cleaning. Over the 8 years that we have been in business, I have heard and I have seen ads for cleaning services offering organizing services. I have also heard people say that they hired an Expert Organizer to help them clean. Organizing and cleaning are two different animals! Would you have your auto mechanic wash your car or would you have your auto detailer give you a tune-up? Both are very valuable services – however, they rarely mix well.
Here’s how the two are different.
To get organized you have to make decisions about your things and create “homes” or “parking spaces” for the items you decided to keep, while cleaning means that you remove soil, dust, dirt, grease etc. from the spaces that you call home.
An Expert or Professional Organizer helps create customized systems and solutions for you and your family. We will help you with making decisions on what items to keep and what items to let go of so you are left with what you love and what you USE. A cleaning company on the other hand, helps clean your home by scrubbing bathrooms, mopping floors, dusting and other like tasks. While cleaning companies dedicate themselves to ensuring that the best chemicals and methodologies are used in order to get your home spic ‘n span – Expert Organizing firms dedicate themselves to the methodology and psychology of organizing for their clients and generally leave the cleaning to the cleaning experts. This level of dedication to the organizing field of study means that they are up-to-date with what works, what doesn’t work as well as any new systems or products that have entered into the marketplace to better assist their clients.
From time to time I will get a call from a homeowner that has been utilizing their cleaning service for organizing services. While cleaning services mean well they are most often ill equipped to handle the organizing projects that they have been enlisted for. We often step-in to these situations to literally “sort it out” and get the homeowner as well as the cleaning service back on the right track. Just recently one of our dedicated team helped such a homeowner; after some time working with us they were preparing for a move and offered to fly us out to the new home so that we could setup the organizing systems in their new home as well. It brings a smile to my face to bring this level of peace and value to our clients.
I know that the lure of having a cleaning service to help you organize may be appealing as they tend to charge a very low rate per hour versus the rate that an Expert Organizing firm would charge. However, keep in mind that the type of service, the effectiveness of the service and the quality of service is very different. An Expert Organizer is specifically trained and equipped to do the organizing for you and either maintain it for you, or coach you along the way so that you can learn the skills to maintain what you and your family bring into the home. After all, organizing is a journey not a destination.
Hiring the right person for the right job can be a tough decision. Usually the first step forward is the hardest. My advice would be that whomever you choose to help you organize, please always consider their track record and their experience. Paying the lowest price is not always the best. My personal rule of thumb for hiring someone for personal services is to hire someone in the middle of the price range with experience, professionalism and great testimonials. I even look for one bad testimonial – I would be leery of a company with a perfect track record 😉