These questions are the ones we are asked most frequently by new and prospective clients.  If you have any questions that I have not addressed here, or if you’d like further explanation, please call me at 805.602.1789 or use the form on our “Contact” page.

Do you provide hands-on services?

Absolutely!  I prefer to work side-by-side with a client for organizing projects.  It provides great teaching moments as well as the ability to quickly make changes to the project.  However, when the job requires more hands on deck, I work collaboratively with a specialized team of other local professional organizers.  Projects that involve potential safety hazards (heavy furniture, hazardous materials, etc.) will be addressed on a case by case basis as they require a different crew.

What determines an organizing project?

The scope for an organizing project is based on five components:  necessary supplies, the tasks required, how much time to accomplish project, how much you are willing to do (vs. me) and your budget.  Together we customize your project to fit your expectations and your budget.  It is my goal to ensure you can afford my services.

What are your hours and do you work outside of typical business hours?

Generally I work with clients between 8 am and 5 pm on weekdays.  Evenings and Saturday sessions are available on a very limited basis.  I am happy to adjust my schedule to meet and work with you on evenings and or Saturday.  Sessions are typically booked in minimum four-hour blocks.  For instance, 8:00 am – 12:00 pm or 1:00 – 5:00 pm.  I usually only book one session per day on a Saturday.

What are your rates?

My rates range from $45–$55 per hour depending on the project’s timing.  Unless otherwise specified as a “Free” consultation, time “on-the-clock” (billed in 15-minute intervals) includes phone consultations and coaching, project research, approved shopping, lengthy emails, instant messaging or texting.  In addition to my hourly rates, you are responsible for all cost-of-goods used in your project.  And, for jobs located outside 25 miles from my office I charge an additional $.55 per mile.

I am willing to wait at your home or office for fifteen minutes past the time of the appointment.  After 15-minutes, I will consider you a no-show and charge you for the session.

How do I pay you?

I accept cash, check, and Venmo.  Payment is due at the time of our appointment.

Should you choose to pay by check, please make it payable to Claryce Knupper.  There is a returned check charge fee of fifty dollars ($50.00).  The client will also be responsible for all other charges incurred by my bank as a direct result of the returned check.

How do we get started?

I start with my initial “complimentary” on-site, no obligation consult which typically lasts an hour.  This opportunity allows me to visit with you in your space of need and discuss options, goals, and scheduling.  As important, this meeting gives us a chance to decide if we’re compatible and determine if we’ll make a good team.  The organizing process can become emotionally overwhelming, so it is important that we work well together.  I am here to help you and I promise I will not judge you; I come in peace to give you peace.

If this is your first time tackling an organizing project, I find it works best if we test the waters and start small.  You will be delighted at how much we can accomplish in our first hands-on session.  This boost will give you the confidence needed to reach your goals.

The next step is for me to provide you with an action plan and proposal.  If you agree, then we schedule our session(s) accordingly.

How does a professional organizer differ from a house cleaner?

I love house cleaners and consider them the best gift I’ve ever given myself.  But what we do is very different.  A house cleaner will tackle the dirt, dust and tidy your clutter.  A professional organizer will work with you to figure out what’s causing the clutter and help you streamline your daily habits and routines to keep your home in order.  My relationship with my client is a partnership of support.  I try to make the decluttering stress free and even fun.  I don’t just make your space look nice; I help you make it functional where you can enjoy a Good Life.

How long does it take to get organized?

It’s hard to answer because there are so many variables.  It depends on the level of clutter in your home, the size of the space you want to organize, how detailed you would like the organizing to be, how much time you can devote to the project, how committed you are to completing your homework, your emotional attachment to the clutter, and how quickly you make decisions.  All of these variables affect the length of each organizing project.  That being said here are a few of rough estimates.

  • Walk-in Master Closet – 4-12 hours
  • Kitchen – 4-12 hours
  • Bathroom – 2-4 hours
  • Linen Closet – 1-4 hours
  • Garage – 4-20 hours

It’s during our first hands-on session together that I will get a better idea of how quickly we’re able to make progress.  Being mentally ready for our session and limiting distractions is essential to spending our time wisely.

Will you protect my privacy?

Absolutely!  Your privacy and confidentiality is of utmost importance to me.  I abide by a strict code of ethics.  My vehicle is unmarked and I do not wear logo branded clothing.  Remember, I am an unbiased professional who comes to you without judgement.

I’ve always struggled with staying organized, how can you help me?

If you are willing to make some changes and learn new skills, I can show you how to make changes that can have great impact on your life.  Most chronically disorganized people were never been taught how to organize their time or their possessions.  Or, it comes as the result of bad habits; in that case, the client needs commit to new habits.  With newly formed habits, both can have great success!  Remember, that organizing is like a muscle – if you don’t use it, you lose it.  For best outcomes, you need to be ready to make an ongoing commitment to yourself and then your space.

I'm a hoarder or I have family member who is a hoarder, can you help?

Yes, I am happy to work with someone with hoarding behaviors as long as it is in collaboration with a mental health specialist as a member of the support team.  With regards to a family member who is a hoarder, the most crucial factors are to show concern and be supportive of process.  Most importantly, you must remain non-judgmental.  Again, I am happy to assist as long as we have a dedicated mental health specialist as a member of the support team.

My loved one could really use your services. Can I hire you to work with them?

Yes. However, I need to know that your loved one wants to work with me.  As much as you might want to help them, if they don’t think they have a problem or aren’t ready and receptive to change, hiring me may be a waste of time and money.  Talk to them about their situation and maybe in a while the idea of working with a professional organizer may appeal to them.  If they would like to test the waters and you would like to support their efforts, I suggest purchasing them a gift certificate for a certain amount of hours.

What cities do you work in?

I primarily work with clients who live in the Five Cities Area of south San Luis Obispo County and the Santa Maria Valley of northern Santa Barbara County.  If you live further away than that, don’t worry – I’m always up for a road trip; my travel fee depends on where you live.  And of course there are my virtual organizing services where we talk via phone, Face Time or Skype – I ask questions, give you my expert advice and recommendations and you make the magic happen in real life.

What is the process of hiring you?

Simply call me at 805.602.1789 or use the form on our “Contact” page to schedule a time to meet.  During our first meeting, we will review your space, conduct an assessment and determine your goals for the project.  We will also discuss my fees and answer any questions you have.  At that point, I’ll head back to the office, create an action plan for implementation, a budget and schedule for our first working session.  Once the proposed plan has been approved we begin our journey together.

What are the benefits of getting organized?

There are too many to list them all, but here are three very important reasons to letting me help you get organized:

  • I remove the clutter and implement systems that give you back time, which is invaluable
  • I fashion spaces that encourage respite which purports good health, which is invaluable
  • I create order to reduce stress; less stress improves the quality of one’s life, which is also invaluable

The results of getting organized is invaluable compared to the cost.  For example, image the impact of having an organized bedroom and closet:  you save time in your day-to-day activities in getting ready for work; such as finding your favorite pair of shoes in 10 seconds vs. 10 minutes, pulling an outfit together in 3 minutes vs. 15 minutes, reaching for a pair of earrings and matching necklace in 1 minute vs digging through and untangling a mass chain for 10 minutes – all of which allows you to get out the door on time in the morning. This means you get to work on time, refreshed, unhaggard and ready to work.  You can start enjoying the things you own instead of them owning you.

Can I afford professional organizing?

I think an alternate question is, what price would you put on freeing up lost time, improving your mood, decreasing stress levels and creating balance in your life?  Consider professional organizing as an investment in your home, your family, and your life.  See the benefits of getting organized listed above.

What are the benefits of hiring a professional organizer?

As a professional organizer, I will work with you, at your pace, to help find systems and places for your things.  I bring you tested suggestions or solutions for your organizing needs.  While your friends and family may want to help and come to you from a loving position, your relationship may make tough for them not to criticize.  As an organizing professional, we are not there to judge, but instead to help, coach and lift you up.

In addition, while you may recognize the need to purge and declutter, you also recognize that it is a difficult and emotional process.  As a professional organizer, I will be your coach at this time, pushing you when needed, stepping back when necessary and providing a guiding hand throughout the process.

What should I expect during our first consultation appointment?

First and foremost, please don’t be embarrassed and don’t clean up for me.  Don’t worry!  I’ve seen it all.  It really helps me to see your home or office in its “natural” state.  This enables me to formulate realistic recommendations.

During my visit, I will ask you to give me a tour around your entire home.  Even if you are only interested in having your kitchen organized, the tour helps visual all options.  This process allows me make suggestions such as using an underutilized hall closet as an overflow pantry.  In addition, it also gives me a better idea of the organizing systems that you have in place, and identify which are working and which aren’t.  A big part of my job is asking lots of questions so I can learn more about you, your daily routine and your stuff in order to identify and address the problems behind all of your clutter.

A consultation can last between 1-2 hours.  I take before pictures that are used solely for professional purposes and no identification is attached.  We review the pictures during our consultation to determine how you would like to utilize the space compared to how the space is currently used.  Then I use the pictures again when I develop the action plan, research of organizational supplies in order to get a better idea what your needs are.  We also discuss a budget for the project, figure out a date and time for the project to be done and sign a contract.

How should I prepare for my organizing session?

Try to get a good night’s sleep, drink plenty of water, be sure to dress comfortably in clothes you won’t mind getting dirty, eat a good breakfast or lunch and be ready to dive into the project.  Organizing can be hard work, so being on top of your game is a great asset when sorting and making decisions.

There typically isn’t anything you need to do to prepare for project day unless other plans are discussed ahead of time.  For example, if we’re working on a closet, I may ask that all of your clothes or linens are washed (I wouldn’t want to put away dirty things) and the same goes for dishes in the kitchen, etc.

I bring all necessary tools required, such as a table, large trash bags, sorting bins for us to collect everything in order to purge so I can work my professional organizer magic.

I ask that company is not invited over during our session.  Also, I advise all my clients to set any other appointments AFTER our scheduled time.  If you have children or pets and they are not required for the project, then I recommend getting a sitter so we can fully concentrate on the project.

When you are here for our appointment, how much help will you need from me?

Your input and decision making ability are crucial to the success of the organizing process.  I usually work side by side with my clients for the entire appointment; however if you have different needs or expectations, I am flexible.

Is there anything I can do outside of our organizing sessions to keep the project moving?

Yes!  I’m so glad you asked.  Understand that everyone’s schedule is different, some clients have time and energy to commit to homework while others don’t.  It’s certainly not a requirement and there is no judgement.  So, if it is part of our agreed upon plan, I will be assigning small amounts of homework such as:

  • Sorting paperwork, sentimental items, photos, letters or journals
  • Taking returns back to stores
  • Posting items for sale
  • Taking large trash loads to the landfill

Should I buy storage bins or a system in advance?

I lovingly say, no, please don’t.  The cute bins/baskets and fancy storage systems are very enticing, but it’s far more important to purchase the right size containers and systems.  And, we won’t know what those sizes are until we have purged and determine what you want to keep.  So buying containers and systems is actually one of the last things we do in the organizing process.

As part of my planning process, I always like to incorporate existing organizing and storage solutions.  When and if it seems necessary to purchase any organizing items, I’ll make recommendations based on what is needed to reach your goals, the purpose and cost of the item, design/style of item and the timing of acquiring the item.  Ultimately, the decision will be yours as to whether it is purchased or not.  We can purchase the products together online, or I can give an itemized list per store or I can do the shopping for you at my hourly rate and then you reimburse me for my expenses (no markup products).

What about before and after pictures?

I take before pictures that are used solely for professional purposes and no identification is attached.  We review the pictures during our consultation to determine how you would like to utilize the space compared to how the space is currently used.  Then I use the pictures again when I develop the action plan, research of organizational supplies in order to get a better idea what your needs are.  In addition, I take after pictures as record of completion of the job.

I respect my client’s privacy and only use photographs that a client has granted their permission (via signed Photo Release Form) to in my marketing materials – again without identification of location or ownership.

What happens when you leave, how can I stay clutter free and organized?

First of all, you rest, reward yourself for job well done and enjoy your space.  And, if you are truly happy with my services, I ask that you provide feedback about the experience via email in the form of a testimonial along with three referrals.

Remember, organizing is an ongoing process.  Your success is based on us finding systems that will work best for you, ones that you will keep up on your part.  Keeping clutter at bay and staying organized is something we all have to work at, just like maintaining our health.  You will have to be dedicated to regularly put things away when you are done with them and keep an even flow of items in and out of your space.

I believe that in order to provide you with the necessary tools that will last you a lifetime, I need to check in with you on now and then.  These check-ups will provide us the necessary opportunities to re-evaluate the systems created and conduct any necessary touch-ups.  As we age, our life and needs change, and I want the systems to change and grow with you.

What happens to the stuff that I don’t want, will I have to throw anything away?

Absolutely not!  Your possessions mean your decisions.  However editing and purging is a big part of reducing the excess in your home/office and life.  It is my job to encourage you to purge so that we can reach your organizational goals.  I’ll be there to be a voice of reason, providing guidance and support, but YOU make the final decision.  I will not throw out one empty gum wrapper if you do not want to.

It is your home and your stuff – I am respectful of both!  If you’re trying to downsize and let go of excess, I will suggest a reduction plan based on percentages to help you meet your goals.  We work together, as a team, to find a way to store your treasures and utilize everything that you want to keep.

I encourage everyone to donate goods to the charity of your choosing so that a needy family may be able to benefit through their generosity.  It’s your call – YOU make the final decisions!!  I am happy to deliver the donated items (one car load) or arrange for pick-up of items at the end of the day and provide you with a receipt.  In addition, I am willing to work with you to properly dispose of the trash and recyclables.  Please note, that you will be responsible for all costs associated with disposal of trash.

Can you organize my things for me even if I'm at work?

Yes, while I prefer to work side-by-side with my clients, I will do the work by myself.  However, the initial consultation is required to be in person so that I can conduct an assessment, capture your wants and directions.  Once we have agreed on terms, I’ll take it from there.

Do you have a cancellation policy?

Yes.  It’s important that our relationship be based on mutual respect of one another’s time. Like other professionals, I reserve time slots for my clients. If you need to cancel your session due to something unforeseen, please contact me 36 hours before your appointment. Otherwise, you’ll be invoiced for ½ of the appointment fee, unless you’re seriously ill or you’ve had a real emergency. It’s a business necessity for me, since I can’t re-book that time slot if I’m not given enough notice. Thank you for understanding.

Do you provide virtual or online organizing services?

Yes, I definitely take advantage of technology to enhance the process of an organizing project, this includes using texting, email, Facetime and Skype sessions (instead of in-person meetings)..  Simply put, virtual organizing provides a way we can work together when we are not the same room or even the same state.  We’ll start with a phone consultation where I ask questions, then you will email or text me photos of the space you’d like organized.  I then create an action plan, then give you my expert advice and recommendations, and you make the magic happen in real life.

Do you have an option for DIY’ers?

Sure do!  I fully support Do-It-Yourself projects, and happy to provide some direction.  My DIY 2-hour consultation includes a full walk-through of all of your spaces to identify trouble zones and potential solutions.  In addition, I obtain your wants, needs and desired goals.  From this meeting, I will email you a prepared action plan which includes a calendaring of prioritized action items, list of required supplies to consider, resources, and tip sheets specific to your project.  In addition, the $300 set fee includes two 15-minute phone support sessions.

Can you help me organize my apartment?

Of course!  I help people organize any size home or office space.

Can you help me organize my garage?

Yes.  Within reason, there are very few places that I will not help you organize.  So, don’t hesitate to call me if you have a barn, storage shed, granny unit, pool house, basement, attic, car, or recreational vehicle that needs tidying.

Can you help me establish a process for managing my emails?

Yes.  It would be my pleasure to clean out your emails and create a system to handle your emails!

Can you help me organize my computer?

Yes. I can help you with organizing files and systems for PC-type computers.  Electronic organization is a growing challenge for many, as we move our lives from papers to electronic documents.  Knowing where to find your work in your computer is just as important as knowing where to find your stuff.

Can you help me with my holiday organizing needs?

Yes. From cards, to wrapping presents to planning meals — there’s a lot to do!  And there’s about to be more stuff coming into your home.  Count on me to help you survive the madness.  I would love to prepare you space, showcase your decorations, and pack-up your decorations following the holidays!

Can you help me organize my photos?

That depends entirely on your specific needs and goals for the photographs.  Once that is determined we will develop a plan based if you want to work together or under my guidance to purge and sort.  From there, we have them digitized, made into a book, etc.

Can you help my student organize their college dorm room?

Yes.  There are many systems and tools designed to set up your student for success and, more importantly, for getting along with his or her new roommate.

Can you help organize my home office?

Yes.  I would love too!  Because the home office is often a unique blend of work and personal lives, it should be accorded great importance.  We can help you create a focused work space with order to handle your work and the duties of running a business.