How do you work?

For any new client, we typically schedule a 30-minute introductory phone call to discuss your project and/or needs after you’ve done a little homework to prepare for the call. This homework includes filling out the form on the Contact Us and the questionnaire relevant to the services you are interested in, reviewing the Frequently Asked Questions (which you are doing right now) and client testimonials.

The next step is to schedule either an Assessment or a Moving consultation toward the end of the introductory phone call. An Assessment (for which we charge a flat fee) is a 90-minute session in which we identify your primary goals and obstacles, define and prioritize your unique projects, and create an Action Plan which breaks down the steps and estimated amount of time required to achieve your desired outcomes. Moving consultations are a no-fee visit in-person (or virtually) where we determine the required services, necessary team size, and the estimated cost of your moving project. Following either an Assessment or a Moving consultation, we schedule in-person sessions to begin the hands-on work.

It is important to note that we will commence work after a retainer of half the estimated cost of your project is paid in full.

How do I know if it is time to organize?

One indicator is that the lack of organization affects your life on a daily basis. For some, it may be an abundance of clutter that makes it difficult to accomplish simple tasks. For others, it may be the inability to be punctual or meet deadlines. It can also sneak up on you, especially if you’ve experienced some kind of sudden change. In any case, if you notice that disorganization is a daily problem, I urge you to reach out and discuss it. We’re happy to help.

How do I know if I need an organizer to help me?

Have you made several attempts on your own, yet only end up feeling frustrated and upset that you have not been able to accomplish your goals? If you answered, “Yes!”, you probably need an organizer to help you organize. It could be that you simply need an Action Plan to achieve your goals, some help with specific projects that are particularly challenging, or ongoing assistance to maintain your organizational systems. An organizer can help in any of these situations.

I’m moving. Should I organize before or after the move?

I do not recommend organizing spaces that you are about to leave, but I do recommend editing your possessions BEFORE the move. This one part of getting organized not only reduces the amount of stuff that needs to be moved, it also reduces the COST of your move.

Can you help my kids/teenager get organized?

Yes, we do work with kids and teenagers, but in some cases, you may get referred to a colleague who specializes in working with kids and teens.

How much does it cost? Is it expensive?

I don’t know. If you want to get organized, I make cost estimates during the Assessment for which I charge a flat fee. It is up to you to decide if the service we provide is expensive. If you have an budget in mind for your project, let me know what it is during our introductory phone call and I will let you know if we can accommodate you.

I’m probably the worst you’ve ever seen and I’m nervous about having an organizer come see it.

Let me see you at your “worst.” I assure you, I cannot be scared off. Whatever your situation, you will not be judged by me or by any member of my team. I know that it takes courage to ask for help and in my core I believe that this kind of courage must be honored, embraced and given the utmost respect. My desire is to help you define your goals, find resources that enable you to achieve them and create systems that you will be able to maintain yourself.

Are you going to make me throw out all my stuff?

No. It is not my job to make you throw out your stuff. In our work together, my job is to help you figure out what is most important to you and help you create systems and processes that make what is most important accessible. Frankly, I am more concerned with YOUR relationship to your stuff than the stuff itself. I do not have rules about how many, how long, or how often you touch something determines whether or not you get to keep it. I believe every one of us is unique and we all need to craft custom-made solutions to manage our lives and the things we fill it with. You, and only you, can determine what to keep and what to let go of. My desire is to support you while you make these decisions.

Do you provide on-going services?

Yes, if you need ongoing support to maintain your systems, we can definitely help!

Do you work by yourself or do you work with a team?

I do both. During moving/relocation projects, I use a team to unpack and organize after a move. For hands-on organizing projects, I do the Assessment and craft the Action Plan, but a team member will be assigned to help you accomplish your organizing projects. If productivity coaching is required, I will work with you one-on-one.

Do we work together or do you organize without me?

In hands-on sessions, we always work together. We may be able to do some part of the project without your direct involvement, but you are the most important part of the process. You make ALL the decisions and your input is vital to crafting a system that works for the way you think and operate.

How long does it take to get organized?

I don’t know. I make estimates of the amount of time required during an Assessment. But you are the most important factor in determining how much time is needed. Your stamina, amount of available time, and commitment to the process influence the time needed to accomplish your goals.

Interview with Janine Sarna-Jones, Founder and President

How did you get started in this business?

Photo of Janine Sarna-Jones

In 1991, I began my first “real” job after college as a Photographer and Photo Archivist at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. Soon after, I asked if I could organize the office in order to efficiently manage the areas I was responsible for. I swear, that office had not been organized since the 1970s. When I finished, my supervisor told me she knew someone who could use my help after work and on weekends. That person became my first client and launched a part-time pursuit. For the next several years, I helped a handful of clients with various projects while working full-time in my career at the Smithsonian.

In 1998, while reading Julie Morgenstern’s Organizing from the Inside Out, I realized I had been organizing all along, both in the Photo Archive and in the work I’d been doing “on the side.” The realization hit me like a thunderbolt. I began to think about the joy I felt helping my clients gain control over their lives and compared that to my work as a photographer. I soon realized that my love for supporting people through the process of making a change for the better far outweighed my love for photography and my role in maintaining Native American culture and history. In 1999, I ended my photography career and transitioned into organizing. In 2001, I fully immersed myself in the organizing community, began to work with and learn from veteran organizers, and founded Organize Me.

What makes you an expert in this field? Do you have a degree?

I continually seek opportunities to learn from leaders within my field and outside of it that have information that can benefit my clients and colleagues. I have been an active and committed member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) and the New York Chapter (NAPO-New York) since 2001, and have attended the annual NAPO Conference every year since 2002. I served as President of NAPO-New York from 2005 to 2007, was elected to and served a three-year term on the NAPO Board of Directors from 2007 to 2010, and continue to volunteer for a variety of committees locally and nationally. I have also been a member of the Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD) since 2003 and attend an array of their educational offerings. From 2004 to 2008, I was regularly featured in Parenting Magazine as the Mom Squad’s Organizer. I also took it upon myself to study the Process of Change and have presented workshops on the subject for both ICD and NAPO. I have taught a 5-day workshop on Holistic Organizing at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY and have been featured in magazines (Parenting and New York magazine), radio (Martha Stewart Radio on Sirius), and various podcasts (Smead podcast and Coffee Break with Sabra).

What kind of organizer are you?

I do not subscribe to any particular organizing methodology because I believe it is essential to create systems that honor the way you think and operate. I believe that anyone who truly wants a change of any kind is capable of achieving it. When I work with someone who is looking to become productive, I strive to teach my clients how to create systems that honor themselves. I love to help people reduce stress and discover their own self-efficacy. Truth be told, I seek to work my way out of a job! When I work with someone who wants me to manage a project for them, like moving out of and into a new home, I strive to reduce the inherent stress and make the transition as seamless as possible. Essentially whatever your goals are, I will strive to find resources that will enable you to achieve them and create systems that you can maintain yourself.

Who are your clients?

While every client is different, most of my clients seem to fall into three broad categories. Delegators have a project they cannot fit onto their already full plate and are willing to share the responsibility for completing their project with me and my team. Coach-able clients were once fairly organized, but have experienced some kind of transition, such as a move, marriage, new baby, new job, illness, divorce or death of a loved one. These clients usually need some help figuring out how to adapt the systems that used to work into new systems that honor changes imposed by the transition they’ve experienced. Motivated clients are always seeking a system that will once and for all make them organized and stress-free. These clients may have purchased items from the Container Store in hopes that they would magically become more organized. They may have also repeatedly tried implementing systems they’ve seen others use successfully. These clients often need to learn how to create organizing systems that honor the way they think and operate.

My clients come from all walks of life, and include small business owners, executives, artists, philanthropists, writers, lawyers, filmmakers, home-based business owners, stay-at-home moms/dads and retirees. An essential quality they all share is that they were ready for change and eager to take the necessary steps to achieve their goals.