Important Questions You Should Ask a Professional Organizer

questions to ask an organizer

If you are looking to hire a Professional Organizer in Toronto, there are critical questions you should be asking. Just as in real estate, there are professional organizers that are in this industry full time and then, as in most industries there are some people who claim to be professional organizers that work on a part time basis without much if any training or experience, looking to make a quick buck.

At ClutterBGone we believe informed and knowledgeable clients are the best clients, so here are the top questions you should ask a Professional Organizer before you hire one.

  1. Are you an active member of the POC?

    Here in Canada there is an association for professional organizers called the POC – Professional Organizers of Canada. Members are bound by their code of ethics to ensure that you receive trusted, confidential and committed service. We at ClutterBGone are fully trained in organizing, decluttering and downsizing services.

  2. What is your area of expertise?

    Some Professional Organizers specialize in residential organizing, some strictly working with businesses and some specialize in clients with ADHD. Select the one that most closely matches your requirements and that you feel a connection with.

  3. Do you have paid up professional liability insurance?

    Much like movers, Professional Organizers should carry their own liability insurance to cover accidents or damage to your property however caused. Of course, we’re all careful in our work but you never know when an accident can happen and if it does you want to ensure that you are covered. After all, it’s your home we’re coming in to.

  4. What are your fees?

    Price should never be the decision-making factor in your choice of a Professional Organizer. The old adage, “you get what you pay for” rings very true in this industry. An hourly rate may be less than another however the lower charging organizer may work a lot slower and have less experience ending up costing you more in the long run. questions to ask an organizer

    An hourly or a job rate can vary but the least expensive quote may not be the best. Also make sure you have a complete understanding of what you are being charged and for what services. How many people are working on the project? How many hours are estimated to complete the project? What is your protection if the estimate far exceeds the projected time or cost? An experienced Professional Organizer can be fairly accurate in their estimate and very transparent when it comes to all costs associated with your project and will keep you updated on any changes.

  5. How long have you been doing this?

    Like any other business it’s difficult to get started and to get experience under your belt but if you have a big job that affects the running of your home don’t you want to ensure that whoever does it is experienced and that the job is done right the first time? Ask how many client projects a Professional Organizer has completed in the last 3 years? At ClutterBGone we have over 300 projects completed with over 300 super excited and happy clients!

  6. Who is responsible for supplies?

    Some professional organizers have access to all the latest storage items and others will expect you to purchase and get what you need. This may not be the most practical for you as your life is busy and you may not have the time to shop around for items. questions to ask an organizer

    At ClutterBGone we have a large inventory of organizing products so most of the time there is no need for you to worry about shopping for items unless you truly enjoy that. We bring what we may need and pass on any industry discounts to you on many of the products we use. Because we keep a good inventory on hand we rarely need to charge our clients for shopping or sourcing fees where other organizers may need to.

  7. How many people will be coming into my home?

    Know before hand who is coming into your home and ensure that the cost of these people is in your quote. We employ only trained professionals and send you a photo of all who will be entering your home for your peace of mind.

  8. Do you take photos or videos?

    Privacy is very important to us and only after you sign a release will we take any pictures or videos.

  9. What will I do during this process?

    As much or as little as you wish. At ClutterBGone we encourage our clients to work with us but some clients just want to be there for direction and decision making and that’s absolutely fine with us. We will involve you as much or as little as you wish.

  10. Do you have references?

You would be amazed at the number of people that are embarrassed to ask for references. questions to ask an organizerDue to the confidential nature of our business we can’t always provide you with client’s names and contact information. However, we can direct you to as well as other client centered review sites where you can read first hand our client’s experiences with us.

So those are the must ask questions when you are looking for a Professional Organizer to help with your project. Ensure whomever you hire is fully trained and qualified, insured and experienced and have references to back it up. ClutterBGone has been assisting clients in the GTA for many years now and we would love to assist you. Call now or contact us here to learn more about how we can change your life!


Living With A Professional Organizer – Things I Learned

Professional organizer GTA

I have always thought I was a fairly neat person and although I will admit that I’m not the most organized person, I didn’t think I was unorganized. However, my wife is a Professional Organizer in Toronto and living with her, I’ve found out just how organized I really am! In the beginning, I was a tad annoyed with how organized things have to be but eventually I became appreciative of those things that may have bothered me in the past. Let me give you a few examples:


For a guy how easy is it to maintain your wardrobe? You buy something new, pick up dry cleaning or put away your laundry by hanging it up or putting it in the drawers, right? Professional organizer GTANot so. I have learned that you hang your clothes according to colour and have all your shirts hanging the same way. Not only does this give you a neat appearance but it makes selecting your clothes a whole lot easier. I couldn’t believe how easy it was deciding what to wear with a system like this. There are a lot more tricks pertaining to clothes that can be taught as well.

One in, one out rule

This rule just seemed silly to me. Why would you want to get rid of something just because something new came in? Well, it turns out this may just be the best advice an organizer can give you. Rather than having closets and drawers that are crammed to the point where nothing else will fit in or a dresser drawer that is overflowing, if you follow this rule you will always have a neat and organized space with easy to find items. And really, when you have something new you don’t really want to use the older items anyway.


Just last week I put a frying pan away in the wrong spot and was “politely” reminded of where it goes. I use this as an example of why every thing needs a home. Professional organizer GTAI can’t tell you how much time I’ve wasted in the past looking for things that were in the wrong place. A lot less time spent looking for things and a lot less frustration is the result of putting things back where they belong. Professional Organizers are great at creating space and systems to make your kitchen work more efficiently.

Giving back

This is by far the most important lesson learned from living with a Professional Organizer. Rather than tossing out things that I no longer require I take the time to look at it and decide if it is in good enough shape to donate. There are so many organizations that can use and even depend on donations to help the less fortunate. Everything from clothing to toys to small appliances and even items of value that can be sold at charity stores or auctions can be used to help someone else. Giving back is a large part of what Professional Organizers do.

So yes, being married to a Professional Organizer can have its challenges but it really does make life more organized, less stressful and more giving. If you are looking for downsizing or organizing services in the GTA contact ClutterBGone to learn how they can help you.

5 Signs That Your Parents Should Consider Downsizing

parents downsizing

We all want to stay in our home as long as possible. We have created many memories there and have probably lived there for many years with a lot of familiar places around us. But there comes a time when your parents need to downsize in order to remain independent.

Do your parents need some help in making this life changing decision? Here’s how you can help them in making that decision.

1. Are they having difficulty with the current upkeep?

Your parents want, and need, their independence. But sometimes pride gets in the way in refusing to downsize and acknowledge that they just can’t accomplish what they used to. The family home was just that – a family home. Purchased quite a while ago when there were children in the house. All of the children have moved out and have started their own families and your parents are still in the same house.

As their home gets older things start to need maintenance and repair resulting in expense or your parents reaching or over reaching their physical limitations. If you see them struggling to maintain the home or property or are keeping it for sentimental reasons, it’s probably a good time to have a gentle discussion centered around moving.

2. Are they having financial issues?

Once you stop working you become dependant on your own savings and/or government assistance. It’s nice to know that your prescription costs are covered by the government when you reach the age of 65 and doctors visits are also covered. However not everything is 100% covered and let’s face it, as we get older we can normally expect to start dishing out dollars for medical expenses not covered.

Entertainment costs, vacations and the home expenses start to eat away at savings.

downsizing parents

Many of the older generation believe in paying off the mortgage as soon as possible and using the value of the home towards their retirement.

Well, perhaps financial challenges are now coming to play and the equity in their home can be used to help them in their later years. They don’t have to be further away just because they sell their home. Many parents are now moving in with their adult children. Finally! Some revenge!

3. Are they having difficulty finding things?

When you visit your parents and you ask to see a family picture or a memento that you know they have, do they have difficulty in finding it or can’t locate it at all?

I’m not talking about the medical diagnosis of dementia here, just not being able to find something because of all the stuff your parents have in their home. It’s nice to be surrounded by items from the past but not if they are packed away because of the volume of items in the house.

I’ve suggested to many families that they create a Memory Box with the most important photos and remembrances and hang it on a wall for all to see. Just the sight of these items will bring back a lot of memories to cherish.

If your parents are keeping a home just because they can’t fit everything they currently have into smaller quarters it is time to talk about downsizing and reorganization. We have lots of ways to organize and display items that don’t take up a lot of space.

4. Do you feel your parents are not safe in their home?

As your parents age they may not be able to get around like they used to and perhaps don’t have the reflexes that they once had. Things they could easily manoeuvre around before or step over may now be a trip and fall hazard.

Remember that old television commercial with the lady who fell? – “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up”.
If you feel your parent’s safety is being compromised by having too much stuff in the house, I’s time to discuss downsizing. ClutterBGone has a lot of experience in identifying hazards in the home and making things safe.

5. Are your parents looking for a little freedom in their lives?

Perhaps your parents secretly want to buy that motor home or want to leave the cold for a couple of months in the winter. downsize parentsThey feel guilty about spending that kind of money or feel guilty about being away from the kids or the grandchildren. They’ve probably worked hard most of their lives and they deserve to do these things while they still can. Let them know that they have plenty of time to visit in the warmer months and that by downsizing they will have the funds to enjoy themselves.

Downsizing may not be right for everyone but many of our parents are going to do it. Look for the signs and have the gentle conversation with them. It is of course their decision, but downsizing can have a very positive impact on their lives.

ClutterBGone has assisted many families with this life transition and would be pleased to assist you as well. We are sensitive to your parents needs and are non-judgemental. Contact us here for more information or to have any questions answered.

Did You Resolve To Get Organized This Year?

How is your New Years resolution to get organized this year going?

Like most resolutions, we make, probably not well. Getting organized is one of the most popular resolutions that people make each year. I am not one for setting new years’ resolutions. In fact, my resolution this year was to not make any resolutions!

I believe we set ourselves up for failure when we put expectations upon ourselves when we’re not ready. It’s like quitting smoking or going to the gym. You’re just not going to be successful unless you are mentally prepared. It’s no wonder that less than 10% of those that make new years resolutions keep them.

Until that time comes here are a few things you can do to start the year off right.

One in, one out rule.

This is the perfect time to implement this rule with all the new items you purchased or received over the holidays. Did you receive a new item of clothing that you kept? Great! Did you donate, give away or toss a piece of clothing to make room for it? Follow the simple one in and one out rule to reduce the clutter that accumulates and keep clutter at bay.

Do you really love it?

Over the last few years this has become a mantra of mine. Unless I really love something I won’t buy it. This doesn’t just apply to clothing but to all of my household purchases. Why purchase something that you really don’t just love?

Go paperless.

Paper can be the biggest cause of clutter in a home and we work with a lot of clients reducing their paper clutter and setting up a system to maintain a streamlined and clutter free system.

Most of your bills can be automatically paid through your bank now with receipts and even advance reminders coming to your inbox. And you don’t have to worry about losing a bill or being charged for a late fee.

Be charitable this year.

Charities are always looking for donations to assist those that are less fortunate and can use what you no longer require. Locate your favourite charity in town and feel good about helping others.

Hire a professional!

Just like hiring a gardener or a handyman, a professional organizer is trained in all facets of organizing and downsizing and follows the rules and a code of ethics set out by our association. We have the skills and the contacts to help you downsize, organize, move and much more.

When you’re ready, you’ll know it. Until that time comes, try one or two of these tips to start the process. As always, we are here to help. Just contact us here.

5 Tips For Your Upcoming Move

Two generation family looking at a house for sale

I have noticed a lot of “For Sale” signs going up in my neighborhood and the “Sold” signs are going up just as quickly. Regardless of how the economy is doing the real estate market is remaining hot. Spring is the busiest time for the real estate market as families try to coordinate their move with the school years. At ClutterBGone, we have taken on a lot of projects involving a move over the years. They start out as an organizing and downsizing project to get clients ready to move house.

Then during the initial sessions the clients see the value and investment in hiring us to assist with not only the downsizing but with organizing the packing, the move, the unpacking, settling in and then setting up and organizing at the new home to make it efficient and functional from day 1.

So with moving season upon us I decided to let you know how best to organize for your move.

1) Three months before your move have the mover or the rental truck booked. Most important is to get references or a referral to someone you can trust. Summer is a busy time for moving as parents want to get their kids settled into a new school for the beginning of the school year.


Can you move early in the month or in the middle? There will be more availability as most moves are done near month end. If you are hiring a company get references and ensure everything is in writing.

2) At least 60 days before your move begin the job of sorting and paring down. You are going to be busy enough closer to move day than to be worrying about this task and why pay to have things moved that you are not going to need or use in your new home? You will also have a feeling of calm once you’ve moved into your new home without having that pile of stuff that you don’t know what you are going to do with.

3) 30 days out is the time to ensure you have the correct supplies. Boxes can be ordered from your mover or purchased from a local moving supply company or even a hardware store. Three sizes should be sufficient. If you have hired a moving company you may want to inquire about wardrobe boxes and the cost for each. They are very handy for moving your clothes.


You will also need a tape gun or two, good quality shipping tape, box cutters, lots of packing paper, bubble wrap and a few markers and labels.

4) 3 weeks before your move make sure all of your change of address notifications are completed and start packing everything you know you will not need until after the move. As you get closer to the date you can pack more. Once the boxes are sealed mark the room to which they are to be delivered once you arrive at the new home so you are not slowed down. Use up the food you have in the fridge and freezer during this time as well.

5) Moving day. Pack a suitcase with incidentals in case you need anything during the day. If at all possible have someone look after the kids for the day as you don’t want the little ones under your feet during this hectic time. If at all possible have your own lock put on the truck once everything has been loaded so only you can open it at the other end. And finally, don’t stress it. Be thankful you don’t move very often.

If you are moving this year best of luck. And if you would love to be packed up, moved in and settled in all in a matter of a few days, give me a call and learn how we can make that happen, stress-free, so you can enjoy your new home from Day 1!

Get Organized Month

ClutterBGone is a proud member of the POC (Professional Organizers in Canada) and the National Association of Professional Organizers in the U.S. who have declared January “Get Organized Month”. Many of us here in Canada are also promoting this month long event in order to promote the benefits of living and working in an organized environment.

How organized are you?

Did you know that the average person spends just under one hour looking for things? That’s a lot of time every day that you will never get back.

Organized people know where things are and spend just a fraction of that time looking for items.

This may shock you.

Almost 80% of what we own we never use. We NEVER use!! Take a look through all of your closets, drawers and cupboards with this in mind and see if that number compares to yours. If not, I’ll bet it is very close. Now think about the space you can save and the money you have spent on these items. When purchasing something ask yourself “do I love it?”. If not, take a second to think about it.

Do you pay bills late?

Almost a quarter of adults surveyed (23%) admitted that they regularly paid bills late because they lost the bill. And almost all of these had incurred late fees as a result. A system needs to be set up so you have instant access to your unpaid bills and you know when they are due.

After that, a filing system needs to be in place to file these paid bills. Save money and protect your credit score by paying your bills on time.

The clutter impact

Clutter has a significant impact on the stress in your life. It distracts you from what you need to focus on. It makes it almost impossible for you to relax. It creates feelings of guilt and embarrassment restricting you from being social. It can just plain be a downer. Get organized and see your stress levels drop.

This statistic comes up every year. Almost 90% of us are planning on organizing a part of our life this year. The majority of you are doing so because you’re tired of clutter and its effect in your life. I’m not one for making New Year resolutions but this is one I can get on board with. A new year and a new clutter free environment will improve your productivity, give you back some much needed time, save you money and reduce your stress. Who wouldn’t want that? Let’s start the new year by getting organized. Let me know how you make out and, as always, we are here to help.

Want To Get Out From Under Your Clutter Once & For All? Follow These 7 Tips

contemporary / very well decorated / show home living room

How do you do it? What is the secret? Why does clutter continually accumulate in my home? These are all questions I get asked continually when I meet with prospective clients. The answer is quite simple and when I work with clients we work out a system that enables them to keep clutter at bay. But there are tips or rules, that you need to follow.

Know why you want to de-clutter

Really think about this. We all know the benefits of de-cluttering whether it’s for safety reasons, embarrassment when having guests over, peace of mind, etc. Whatever the reason, know what your motivation is and think about that each time you begin the process. It will give you the drive to continue.

Do you really love it?

We all purchase on impulse and sometimes regret the purchase afterwards or worse, don’t even use the item we purchased. When I shop, other than for food, I look at the item and determine if I really love it or really need it. If the answer is no, then I don’t buy it. Regardless of whether the item is on sale or not this rule has rarely failed me.

Create a sorting system

Create a system that can be used each time you organize. As you organize you will want to place items in one of three piles – keep, give away (donate, sell) and toss.


Your system can be something as simple as three signs or 3 baskets or large boxes. Whatever system you use, keep it and use it each time.

Keep flat surfaces clear at all times

It’s so easy to lay something down on a table or a counter with all the good intentions in the world to look after it later. Flat surfaces are like a magnet for clutter. Make this a rule in your home and enforce it. Soon everybody in the family will be on side with it.

Involve others

Like so many other issues in our lives there is not much we can do without the help or support of others. Family members all need to be on side in order for you to stay clutter free and educating them on the benefits will help you with this. Friends too can help by either digging in or giving gentle reminders when things need to be “tuned” up.

Continually donate

As fashion changes or clothing items become unusable (hey! We all change sizes now and again) I like to give to a local charity that I know passes these items on to others that can use them.


I keep a bag in my bedroom closet and everyone knows that items to be donated goes into this bag and about once a month the contents get delivered to the charity.

Don’t click those ads on line!!

Shopping habits have changed with many of us doing a lot of shopping on line. Whether it is an on line retailer or a social media site, almost all of these sites track your “clicking” habits and tailor ads specifically to you. The less you click the less you will be enticed to purchase something you don’t need. Delete your search history and cookies periodically to help.

Follow these tips and I can guarantee that you will live a clutter free life giving you more time to enjoy the things you love.

Be Ruthless – Pare Down And DeClutter – Get Organized


Clutter just doesn’t appear. It slowly accumulates and takes over your drawers, closets and surfaces. It can make you feel defeated and just the thought of having to tackle it can be overwhelming.

Here are several tips to help you be ruthless with your approach to getting out from under the clutter.

Is what you’re holding on to adding value to your life?

Holding on to items simply for the sake of holding on to them is a common cause for clutter. We can’t bear to part with things but also can’t justify keeping them. You spent good money on an item so you feel you have to keep it.  Is keeping it going to get that money back?

Let someone else in the family enjoy the item or sell the item if it’s of some real value. Then use the funds to indulge in something you can really use.

Items you know you are never going to use again

Another reason people hold on to items is the thought that they can use them again. Do you have clothes that you love but can’t fit into? Have styles changed? Do you have items that you intend to fix some day? Some day is today.
Think real hard about those clothes and if you really can’t see yourself getting into them in a few months let them go. Besides, if you do change sizes you are going to want to celebrate with new clothes. And those broken items are not going to fix themselves. Out they go.

Here’s a decluttering technique you can use to pare down: Ask yourself this question. “If I saw this item in the store today, would I buy it?” If your answer is “no”, then out it goes.


Do you have memories of loved ones packed away in boxes somewhere? When is the last time you looked at them? Are you really honouring those memories in a box sitting in the dark somewhere?

Try making a memory box out of some of the items so they can be displayed and give you memories each time you see it. See who else in the family would like to have some of the other items. You’d be surprised at just how grateful other family members may be to receive them.

Keep up with technology

Photos in the cloud, digital music, e-readers. All of these things have changed our lives. The times they are a changing as Bob Dylan once sang. Are you holding onto your CD’s but listen to music on your phone or other digital items? When was the last time you brought out those old photo albums? How about receiving and paying some of your bills electronically?


I recently switched to a digital reader thereby greatly reducing the amount of books that gather dust in the house. There are a lot of ways to reduce clutter with all of the new technology that is out there.

Don’t let clutter get the better of you. It’s easy for it to do just that. Be ruthless and reduce the clutter in your life. You’ll thank yourself and feel that you can breathe again.

Stay Organized During the Holidays


With everything that’s happening around the holidays it’s difficult, impossible maybe (?), to stay organized through the holiday period. Like it or not, the holidays are almost here. Is it just me, or do they start with holiday commercials right after Halloween? Here are a few tips to help keep you organized and hopefully a little calmer during the holidays.

Holiday Shopping

I know a lot of you put off the holiday shopping until the last minute (guys, I’m talking to you) but try to set some time aside to get it done earlier. Put it in your calendar and treat it like an appointment – no changes.

Arrange a babysitter if need be or if you’re able to book an afternoon off work, even better. The shopping malls get crazy with each passing day, as you know. Last minute shopping is the perfect recipe for stress over the holidays. A lot of malls are now offering valet parking service for a small fee. The money goes to charity and what better way to start a nerve racking adventure.

Gift Wrapping

If you haven’t already, gather all of your wrapping supplies and keep them in one place. Make a list of what you are short of and get out to buy what you need before the selection is minimal in the stores. I created a wrapping station several years ago with all of the wrapping essentials for all occasions stored there. Everyone knows where it is and it saves time running around looking for the paper, tape, bows and everything else.

Planning The Feast

Holidays to me are all about the meal with family and friends. Sure, the gifts can be nice but there is nothing like the laughs and conversations you have around the dinner table. Make a list now of everything that you will need for dinner. Order the turkey, the ham or whatever you cook to celebrate now to ensure you have the size you need.


If wine is on your list you can expect crowds at the stores so get out there early while your favorite is still in stock and avoid the long line-ups. Don’t forget the extras like the cranberry sauce and rolls. Oh, I’m getting hungry already!

Make Room For New Gifts

Now is the time to go through the toys or clothes of you and your kids and pare down what is no longer usable, appropriate of just doesn’t fit any longer. You know family is going to spoil the kids with a lot of gifts so make room now and reduce the stress of trying to make everything fit into the same space later. Have the kids get involved. It will build their excitement leading up to the big day.

The Art Of Gift Giving

I’m sure you have already given plenty of thought to what you’re going to purchase for your loved ones. Many of us anguish and plead for hints or ideas trying to give that special gift. My children are all a bit older now so one year we purchased charity items for people in need in third world countries on behalf of each child as part of their gifts that year. School supplies for a school in need, goats for a family that would produce milk, things of that nature.


They were touched by it and it got them to thinking of what the holidays are all about. Many items over the holidays are returned or even worse, not used at all and end up adding to the clutter that people already have. When thinking of charities there are a few websites that track how much of your dollars actually make it where the funds are really needed. When in doubt gift cards are always appreciated and with the newer consumer laws most will not have an expiry date.

The holidays can be a very stressful time for most of us but with a little bit of planning we can reduce the stress and stay organized during this time. If you need assistance in getting ready for the holiday season there is still time. Contact us here to see how we can help.

Do You Have Too Much Paper Clutter?


In this digital age it‘s still surprising to see just how much paper is generated. Bills, newspapers, documents and of course those endless flyers and marketing cards.

With the holidays just around the corner you can bet there will be an increased amount of paper being deposited on your doorstep, mailbox and brought into your home by others.

So how do you deal with all this paper clutter?

Junk mail

Our mail is delivered to one of those super boxes. Every time I pick up the mail there is more junk mail, by far, than there is actual mail. I think real estate agent postcards are on the rise in most areas.

As soon as you get home separate your mail into a pile you need to look at and a pile that goes straight to the recycle bin.

Coupons and flyers

There is nothing wrong with saving some of those coupons and flyers that you receive as long as they are used as a reminder for you and you actually intend and have a plan to make contact with those that own the flyers. Many have expiry dates so check them often and toss the expired ones into the recycle bin.


I know many people keep their receipts, and for good reason. But I see a lot of clients who keep almost all of their receipts of every possible type for whatever reason.


If you do keep your receipts make sure they are kept for tax reasons only. Otherwise discard them after you have compared them to your bank statement or credit card statement. Shredding them is best. And don’t forget, you can scan your receipts so you have an electronic record of the really important ones (for warranty purposes or otherwise). Less receipt clutter = less mind clutter.

Family systems

With many adult children still living at home it is a good idea to have one central filing system and assign a drawer to each household member. I know from experience that adult children seem to keep their paperwork in one place – all over their room!

Filing systems

Decide on a filing system that works for you. Most of you will file strictly alphabetically according to name. Sometimes we like to use subsections like “Banking”, “Utilities” , “Leisure”, “Investments” and then file alphabetically within these groups.


That way all similar types of expenses are together. Still others will develop a colour-coded system. Find what works best for you.

Paper was supposed to have been reduced a great deal since the advent of computers but it seems to be on the rise. Don’t get caught drowning in paper clutter. We have assisted a lot of clients with their paper jungles and we can do the same for you.