Where to look?
Online search - Word of mouth - Attend a free presentation - Visit NAPO.net, the official website for the National Association of Professional Organizers - Visit FindMyOrganizer.com, many listed companies pay for leads
What to look for?
Keep “professional” in mind as you search. Interview a few to get a sense of their philosophy, personality, policies, cost, experience, specialties and qualifications.
What questions to ask?
Is your potential professional organizer a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers? All members are expected to uphold the guidelines set forth in the NAPO Code of Ethics, which include (paraphrased in my words):
treating every client and their belongings with respect
working within his/her area of qualification
keeping client information confidential
recommending products that are in the clients’ best interest
What else to investigate? In my opinion, a truly professional organizer will:
carry liability and personal injury insurance
work under a contract or working agreement that clarifies expectations
provide a free phone and/or in-home consultation to ensure a good match between client and organizer
provide testimonials from past clients
have a clear pricing policy
not request to be paid only in cash
help you explore your goals
ask pertinent questions about your organizing style, history, family dynamics
Call a few professional organizers. Interview them, ask questions, and share your story. In your search be aware of all of the above suggestions but don’t overlook how you feel about someone. She may not have all of the above characteristics, but her personality may be perfect for you.