11 January 2009

Is "professional organizer" a real job?

I read Apartment Therapy every day and lately, it's been more a source of daily irritation than it has daily inspiration. That website's huge and it publishes upwards of 50 posts a day and the logistics of sorting through, editing and posting 50 posts from 30 writers every day has to be a daunting one. I get it, they work hard. However, the editorial voice of that site is getting progressively whine-y and the whole staff seems to have come down with an alarming case of what Ayn Rand called "me-too-ism." There seems to be nothing these kids won't gush over. Nothing.

Well, last week, they ran a series of articles promoting someone who bills herself a "professional organizer." Apparently, this woman makes a living by going into peoples' homes and getting them organized though something called an Organization Bootcamp. I had no idea there was such a thing. And the more I thought about it, the more it bothered me.

I don't begrudge this woman a thing. She saw a niche and she's exploiting it. Good for her. However, what kind of a society has the US become that people think they need such a profession in the first place? Have people degenerated to such a state that they need to pay someone to remind them to clean up after themselves and not be pack rats? I can already hear the rationalizations. "We're too busy nowadays!" What a load of crap. 

I'll save you some trouble and you can just send me the $100 you'd pay to attend this Organization Bootcamp.

Step one: buy one of these.

Step two: use it.

If it's important, put it in this filing cabinet. If it's not important, throw it away. Ta-daaa! You're organized. Now go make your bed and do the dishes.


  1. I didn't bother watching the video, but there is another side to this one dear Paul. I hired an organizer last year for a series of sessions. She helped me figure out a healthy balance in decluttering my kids rooms with them. She helped me face some paperwork I was behind on, and showed me a better way to set up my file system. I've got a handful of kids at three schools and little free time--she made a huge difference. I hired her again to help me declutter further for my move, and with her help I got my kitchen at the new house unpacked and functioning again in one day. She's got great local expertise too--not just what will the local dump take, where else can you recycle, but local moving companies, finding someone to help clean my house when I injured my back. Really, some of the best service money I've ever spent. Better than talking to a therapist. Did more to make my home beautiful and liveable than the interior designer who helped me arrange the furniture so much more effectively.

    I know a lot of the organizing advice looks like common sense, but when it's you and you're panicking, someone with a clear vision of how to clear through the mess is a godsend.

  2. Johnna,

    How many kids do you have? I'm asking because I'm about to grant you a dispensation to do anything you want to do. In my book, mothers and families are exempt from all rules that bind the childless. I have a sister with seven kids and a sister-in-law with nine if you can believe that. Watching these much-beloved women do what they do is the single most inspiring thing I can think of. I wouldn't bat an eye if my sister or my sister-in-law hired an organizer.

  3. Well if you're lazy and would rather spend money having someone teach you to clean up after yourself, then maybe you deserve to be exploited. I can understand hiring local moving companies to help out during a move, but an organizer chick? I'm skeptical.


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