12 Things Professional Organizers Would Never Do

There’s no denying it: Sometimes chaos wins and the clutter takes over. When that happens, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work on cleaning out your house. There’s nothing quite like a round of spring cleaning (or decluttering in any other season), to make your home feel organized, inviting, and functional.

While most of us can tackle tidying up our homes every so often, that just might involve stashing stuff in attics, garages, craft rooms, closets, and storage sheds. When it’s time to clean those out, it can feel downright impossible. Whether you’re strapped for time or overwhelmed by clutter, professional organizers can help make the task much more manageable. 

We reached out to professional organizers for guidance about things they would never do while organizing a home. Lucky for us, they are willing to share some of their tips. The result is a list of helpful hints whether you’re organizing your own home or considering hiring a professional for help. 

Here are a few things professional organizers would never do: 

Organized Baskets in Cabinet

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Never Skip Decluttering

“Take the time to sort through each item and decide whether it's worth keeping or not. By doing this first, you'll be able to create an intentional and efficient system that fits your unique needs," says Victoria Tran of Sorted in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Never Stop Before the Job Is Done

“Don't leave your organizing project hanging! One of the most common mistakes is not seeing it through to the end and starting a new project before finishing the first one," says Tran. "Completing a project from start to finish will give you the motivation and momentum to tackle the next one! Plus, you'll avoid the clutter-causing guilt of unfinished tasks. So, summon that 'finish what you started' attitude, and bring that organizing project to a satisfying close."

Gretchen Moen of Cut the Clutter RVA in Richmond, Virginia, seconds that: “We never allow ourselves to get stuck in the messy middle. We typically take everything out of a given space and sort similar items together. This makes decisions easier; it's easier to let go of jeans if you see all 50 pairs in one place. But this process isn't neat. Know that it's going to be messy before it's beautiful.”

Never Get Rid of Anything Without Client Approval

“While professional organizers help their clients make decisions about which items should stay (the things you need, love, and use) and which ones should go (the donations, recycling, and garbage), they will never get rid of anything without your permission. At the end of the day, our client is the ultimate decision maker. With our help, they determine which things to keep in their space and lives, not the Professional Organizer,” says Schae Lewis, a Certified Professional Organizer and owner of Mission 2 Organize

Never Buy Organizing Products Before Decluttering

“Buying products before decluttering can delay the actual decluttering process since you may spend more time researching and shopping for organizing products instead of focusing on getting rid of items you no longer need or use," says Kenika Williams of Tidied by K, serving the greater Atlanta area. "Also, it can lead to more clutter: Buying organizing products can give you a false sense of accomplishment, making you feel like you've made progress when you haven't. This can lead to more clutter since you may start filling up your new containers with items you don't really need or want.”

Tonia Tomlin of Sorted Out, which serves Texas and North Carolina, agrees: “When working with clients they ALWAYS buy product before starting a project, and I advise against this. After a good purge, sort, and macro-organization, often times we need totally different product. So, the shopping spree they did prior is a waste of time! I always tell clients to wait until they have purged, THEN make a list of products needed.”

Never Over-Purge

“As a professional organizer, I understand that decluttering is a process that should be done with intention and thoughtfulness," says Williams. "I would never advise my clients to get rid of everything or to purge items without careful consideration. Instead, I help our clients assess their belongings and decide which items are truly important and worth keeping, so items they love, use, and need."

Never Forget the Labels

“A professional organizer would never tell you to forget the labels," says Kate Waldo Jones, Founder of Orchid Organizing, which serves Savannah and other areas of Georgia. "Labels are an essential part of organizing because they help maintain the system that you and your organizer put into place. The more people you have living or working in your space, the more labels it’s helpful to have. That way, everyone can be a part of tidying up and it doesn’t all fall on you to remember where each item lives.”

Never Throw Away Something That Can Be Reused

“We don't throw things away that can be reused by others. We're good stewards of the environment and love rehoming items to those in need," says Moen. "And, we find that clients will often get rid of much more if they know their items are going to a great cause, which is winning all around.”

Never Go All in with a TikTok Trend Without Careful Consideration

“A professional organizer would never tell you to sort your entire house into the colors of the rainbow. ROYGBIV may be trendy on TikTok, but this style of organizing isn’t necessarily the easiest system to maintain. For example, it is rare that a client truly has enough pantry items in each color of the rainbow to keep them sorted by color. Instead, try grouping by like items together for a system that makes sense for the whole family,” says Jones.

Never Insist on One-Size-Fits-All Organizing

“I would say that organizers should always listen to the needs of their client and never do a one-size-fits-all type of organizing. Clients are different and have different routines and lives; therefore, professional organizers need to shape systems that fit different lifestyles,” says Cheryl Russo of Organizing by Cheryl in Savannah, Georgia. 

Never Break Your Trust

“Our clients put a lot of trust in us. We enter their personal spaces and have access to their most precious possession," says Lewis. "Professional Organizers take this very seriously and would never break this trust.”

Never Judge a Client

“As a Professional Organizer (or in life), I never judge or criticize." says Marcia Sloman of Under Control Organizing. 'When someone reaches out to a Professional Organizer, they're looking for help not judgment. The reasons vary for those who have accumulated stuff or are unable to organize. Everyone's life situation is different and each individual's skill skill set unique. We're there to provide a service which accommodates their personality and satisfies their need.”

Lewis agrees: “Many of our clients come to us during times of transition or trauma. Professional Organizers come to the table with an open heart and a proverbial sign stating ‘No Judgment Here!’" 

Never Take Photos without Permission

“A good professional organizer will never take or use a photo of a client's space without permission. In our company, we take before and after photos to share only with the client and if they give permission we can share on our marketing platforms. Again, this is all about trust,” says Ben Soreff of House 2 Home Organizing.

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