Every year we have written the Unclutterer Gift Giving Guide, we have picked a gift that we believed to be the most generous gift you could give (or ask to receive) to an unclutterer. In 2007, we recommended the Fujitsu ScanSnap (PC and Mac). In 2008, we chose the Kindle. In 2009, it was my book, Unclutter Your Life in One Week. Last year, we went with the Intellishred paper shredder (now called the Powershred). And, this year, we have decided to mix things up a little by thinking outside the box.
Instead of tangible gifts, which have been the focus of our Guide in 2011, we are recommending a service as the ultimate gift of generosity. We suggest getting your favorite unclutterer a few hours of consultation, uncluttering, and organizing with a professional organizer.
This is one of those gifts where you have to be careful about how you give it. You have to put out feelers, see if the person is open to the idea of working with a professional organizer. You need to know the person’s personality and gauge whether a gift like this would be welcomed or deemed offensive. Then, you have to make sure the gift is given in a way that expresses you don’t believe the person to be a slob, rather that you know it is something the person wants and will really enjoy. If done correctly, this will be a wonderful gift for someone who is interested in becoming an unclutterer or even just improving one rough area in an otherwise well-organized space.
The best way to give one session or more with a professional organizer is to provide a coupon to the recipient with either a designated dollar amount or number of sessions you wish to supply. Also, it can be nice to include a list of three professional organizers who live near the gift recipient as well as their contact information. Professional organizers specialize in particular areas, so be sure to suggest an organizer that matches with your recipient’s needs.
The best and easiest way to find a professional organizer who lives near the gift recipient is to go to the National Association of Professional Organizers’ website (http://napo.net). There is a “find a professional organizer” tool that allows you to search for organizers by zip code. I recommend choosing a radius of “within 50 miles” to get a nice selection of organizers to research.
Once you’ve narrowed the field to three organizers to recommend, it is best for the gift recipient to make the final decision about who will be the chosen professional organizer. Feeling comfortable with a professional organizer is very important to the success of the sessions. If your gift recipient doesn’t trust the organizer in his or her home or office, or respect the organizer’s skills, your money will be wasted.
To get you started with your search, here is a list of some of my favorite organizers across the U.S.:
- Atlanta, Georgia: Monica Ricci
- Austin and San Antonio, Texas: Lorie Marrero
- Chapel Hill, North Carolina: Geralin Thomas
- Chattanooga, Tennessee: Julie Bestry
- Los Angeles, California: John Trosko
- New Haven, Connecticut: Cara Brook
- Richmond, Virginia: Sara Bereika
- San Francisco Bay Area, California: Jeri Dansky
- St. Louis, Missouri: Janine Adams
- Washington, D.C.: Scott Roewer
- Other major U.S. cities: Julie Morgenstern Enterprises and Clutter Diet
- Technology organizing via online consultation: Brandie Kajino
And, it should go without saying, but none of the organizers I just listed paid me or rewarded me in any way for including their names on this list. They’re simply people I’ve grown to know over the years through NAPO activities and whose work I am acquainted with in some form.
View the complete 2011 Holiday Gift Giving Guide.