Common questions and concerns
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About my services
What is an organizer-coach?
An organizer-coach combines the roles of professional organizer and coach.
Professional organizers bring expertise about organizing and/or productivity systems and tools, which is useful, but in my experience, often not enough. To benefit from organizing systems and tools, we also need to think and act differently.
Coaching focuses on the unique individual and allows us to understand ourselves and what we need to thrive. It drives the changes in our thinking and habits that will ultimately allow us to achieve and sustain our organizing and productivity goals.
Do you offer a free consultation?I offer a complimentary phone consultation lasting up to 60 minutes.
Do you do hands-on work?When I work in person with clients, we often accomplish many hands-on tasks; however, if you need someone who can provide the bulk of the physical labor for your project, I am not the best choice for you. I am more of a "thinking partner" and someone who will work side-by-side with you, but not for you.
Do you haul things away or drop off donations?I will bring things to the trash or recycling receptacles on the premises, but I don't do donation drop-offs, trash/recycling hauling or hazardous waste drop-off. Instead, I will work with you to make arrangements so there is a plan and accountability for getting those tasks completed.
How does remote coaching work?We meet via phone or Skype, but not in person. Coaching sessions are much shorter than onsite organizing appointments. Often, clients want to discuss their challenges, brainstorm solutions, strategize a plan and develop accountability. Sometimes, clients will actually do tasks while we're together on the phone, asking questions as needed or just enjoying the encouragement.
What do you charge?Please click here for a PDF of current programs.
Can you give me an estimate of the total cost or tell me how long it will take?Generally, no. No two clients or situations are ever the same, and the organizing-coaching process is often evolutionary, so goals and desired results may change along the way. You can compare this question to someone asking how long will it take to lose 15 pounds, or how much it will cost to learn to play the piano. The best I can do is offer very broad generalizations.
Do you guarantee your work?If you are not satisfied with the results of our work together and I am not able to rectify the situation to your satisfaction, I will refund the fee for our most recent appointment, as well as any unused funds toward future appointments, after pro-rating for any services provided prior to the most recent appointment.
Do you offer reduced rates or pro-bono services?I offer limited pro-bono service to some non-profit agencies, but not to any private individuals.
Will you work with my spouse/employee/partner/parent/adult child?I will work with anyone in the household or work environment who is willing to work with me. Regardless of who is paying me, I maintain the goals, privacy and confidentiality of the person with whom I am working, unless the recipient of services gives explicit permission for me to share information with the payer. If the payer is not agreeable to this, then I won't accept the job.
Do you sell gift certificates?No. My services are too individualized and not appropriate for gift certificates. If you would like to fund my services for someone else, please contact me and we can discuss the options.
What's your availability?I am usually booked about 2-3 weeks out, but my availability fluctuates throughout the year, so it's best to call and ask.
What do I need to do to prepare for an in-person appointment?
The best thing you can do is whatever it takes for you to be as comfortable as possible during our appointment. Get a good night's sleep, eat a nutritious meal, put on some music, do some exercise or meditation before I arrive—whatever works well for you.
It helps if you don't hide or minimize any of your problem areas, but if it relieves your anxiety to clean a little before I get there, then go ahead and clean. I want you to be as comfortable as possible.
I will bring any basic supplies we may need to get started, so in most cases, you don't need to provide any materials.
What do I need to do to prepare for a phone appointment?The best thing you can do is whatever it takes for you to be as focused as possible. You will want to be in a comfortable, private environment with minimal distractions. You will also get much more out of the coaching if you have a clear goal for the call and limit your conversation to that topic.
Do I need to be there during our appointments?Yes. We work together as a team. I may have the organizational and productivity expertise, but you are the expert on yourself and your needs.
I don't really care about all that coaching stuff. I just want to get the work done.Sounds like I'm probably not a good fit for you. There are many wonderful organizers who don't incorporate coaching into their work, and you can visit NAPO.net and use the referral tool to find someone in your area who is a better fit.
Coaching is okay, but will we get any work done?Yes, if that's your goal. Combining coaching and hands-on work is a fluid process. We can ease in and out of coaching conversations depending on the circumstances and your goals.
Will you make me get rid of all my stuff?No. All decisions are yours. I want you to use and enjoy your space and your possessions. I will talk to you about your things so we can establish what they mean to you and how you use them, and then we'll incorporate them appropriately into the overall organizing plan. If you decide your home is too crowded and you would like to pare down your belongings, I will do my best to facilitate your decision-making process so that it's not so overwhelming. I won't sugarcoat it and say that it will always be easy, but I will be there to support you and gently keep you focused on the goals.
Will you respect my privacy?
Absolutely! I will not share the fact that you are a client with anyone, unless you give me explicit permission. I will not discuss any specifics of your situation in any way that might identify you. If I become aware of confidential or proprietary information in your home or workplace, I will not share it with anyone. I will not ask to see any areas of the home that aren't relevant to our work together.
Having said all that, I am an RN, which means I am a mandated reporter. If I see evidence of child or elder abuse or neglect, I am legally required to report it. I will also contact 911, or other crisis intervention specialists, if I see or hear evidence that you have a plan to harm yourself or others.
What is the cancellation policy?
For cancellations with less than 48 hours notice, I may charge an amount up to the full appointment fee.
In the event of frequent cancellations, regardless of how much notice is given, I may impose a non-refundable deposit to reserve a future appointment date.
Do you have a specialty?
Yes. I specialize in working with people who have ADHD, anxiety, depression and other challenges that make it inherently more difficult for them to get things done and/or be organized. Disorganization and procrastination may exist throughout many aspects of their lives, or just in certain areas. Clients often describe themselves as stuck, paralyzed, or overwhelmed by their organizational challenges.
Some clients don't have these challenges, but instead they are feeling overwhelmed by complex situations, such as changing careers, or sorting through belongings that stir up painful memories.
Do you work with people who hoard?
Yes, but I am not taking new clients with hoarding disorder at this time (April, 2017).
If you are inquiring on behalf of a loved one who hoards, I strongly recommend the following two books: Digging Out: Helping Your Loved One Manage Clutter, Hoarding, and Compulsive Acquiring by Tompkins and Hartl, and Buried in Treasures: Help for Compulsive Acquiring, Saving, and Hoarding, by Tolin, Frost and Steketee.
Do you work with people who don't have ADHD or who aren't chronically disorganized?Yes! I enjoy working with a diverse group of clients. The strategies that work well for people with chronic disorganization work well for just about everybody else, too.
What are your qualifications?
I am proud to hold five different certifications which directly apply to my work with clients. Although certification is not required for professional organizers or coaches, I believe it allows the public to more easily distinguish those professionals who have achieved a certain level of experience and expertise, and who sincerely want to deliver the highest standard of service and accountability.
Beyond the official certifications, I have been in business as a professional organizer since 2006, and have helped people to get organized for several years before that.
Here is some information about each of my certifications:
- Associate Certified Coach, 2015. Awarded through the International Coach Federation. In addition to providing documentation of my earlier coaching certification through Coach Approach for Organizers, I had to provide documentation of my coaching experience and pass a rigorous exam.
- Certified Organizer Coach®, 2014. Awarded through Coach Approach for Organizers and requires 60+ hours of coach specific training (ACSTH approved by the International Coach Federation), as well as multiple other demonstrations of organizing and coaching experience, including live assessment of coaching proficiency.
- Certified Professional Organizer®, 2009. Awarded through the Board of Certification for Professional Organizers and requires documentation of 1,500 hours of applicable organizing experience, as well as passing a rigorous exam.
- Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®, 2009. Awarded through the Institute for Challenging Disorganization. This program represents an 18+ month course of study consisting of one-on-one mentor coaching, written and applied work, attendance at tele-classes, passing proctored exams and culminating in a peer-review oral exam.
- Registered Nurse, State of California, 1985. I earned this after graduating magna cum laude with a Bachelors of Science in Nursing from California State University, Hayward, in 1984.
Here's information about how I meet the continuing education requirements for these certifications.
I want help to get organized, but I'm too embarrassed to let anyone see the mess.This is a very common feeling. Embarrassment and shame often go along with clutter and disorder. I don't believe your environment is a reflection of your character. Clutter and disorder are what happens when people don't have sufficient knowledge, skills, resources or support to effectively manage their life circumstances. It can happen to any of us. It creeps up and by the time people realize things have gotten out of control, it's usually way too overwhelming to manage without help. I am truly honored when people put their trust in me to help them with something that is such a source of anguish to them.
Is there something wrong with me that I can't do this myself?
I don't view my clients as having anything "wrong" with them. In all situations, it has been completely understandable to me why they are having organizational challenges.
This question may come up when people fear their organizational challenges may reflect a character flaw or lack of intelligence. I have never experienced that to be the case. My clients are some of the most hard-working, tenacious, creative, intelligent people I have ever met.
Sometimes, clients may wonder if they have a neurological, emotional, mental or physical condition that causes their organizational and productivity challenges. It's possible. Many of my clients already know they have ADHD, depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress, learning differences, physical challenges or other conditions that directly impact their ability to get things done and stay organized.
I don't diagnose any of these conditions, but I can help you get organized and follow through so that you can seek the appropriate support, if you suspect you may have one or more of them. These are naturally occurring conditions and/or appropriate responses to difficult or traumatic situations. They have nothing to do with character or intelligence, and getting the right support can make a world of difference.
On the other hand, it's entirely possible that you don't have any of these conditions and that you just weren't born with natural organizing skills, or perhaps you're overwhelmed by life circumstances. That's completely understandable and it doesn't mean anything is "wrong" with you.
I'm not sure I can afford this.It's great that you're thinking about your budget. Organizing and coaching services are a significant investment, and the last thing I want is for people to spend money on my services and regret it. If you let me know your concerns, I'm happy to explore cost-saving options with you, including the options of using self-help resources, hiring a different professional, or doing nothing.
About working together
About my qualifications
Common Client Concerns
Have a question that’s not answered here?
Please contact me at 650-733-7050 or email with your questions.