2011 Unclutterer Holiday Gift Giving Guide: Ultimate generosity

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.:

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.

17 Comments for “2011 Unclutterer Holiday Gift Giving Guide: Ultimate generosity”

  1. posted by MaryJo @ reSPACEd: Budget Organizing on

    I am a professional organizer in Portland, Oregon, and I just wanted to second the mention of Brandie Kajino for all your tech organizing needs. I’ve known her for awhile and I can honestly say she is brilliant at what she does and so easy to work with.

    Also, if you are in Oregon, Kathie England is simply the best around for helping people with time management. I have referred several clients to her with amazing results. http://www.timeforsuccess.net

  2. posted by Egirl on

    Excellent post, Erin. This is a great idea. Another service-related gift would be a gift of professional housecleaning. In my circle of friends this would be a much appreciated service, especially if EcoMaids or another green cleaning service were enlisted.

    BTW, I got the Fujitsu ScanSnap and love it.

  3. posted by Brandie Kajino on

    I am absolutely honored to be in this group. Thank you so much, and be sure to visit all their sites! They are all top notch! 🙂

    Happy Holidays everyone!

  4. posted by Karrie on

    Great post Erin and so timely! I think a professional organizer is a great idea and I’m person who is tempted to give myself this gift. LOL! I feel like once I get one place, or one aspect, in my life together then another one pops up and it needs help. I was determinded this year to get my spare bedroom cleaned out and liveable and I did — at the expense of another empty I had so now I’m back in the same boat. Even my desk at work needs a professional organizer since I have at least 4 empty file boxes stacked as a table and maybe 4 more doing the same on the other side of the room. It’s gotten so bad that my co-workers sent me the link to a contest, “Pimp My Cube” (contestfactory.com/pmc), where the winning mess gets cleaned up and “pimped out.” In case I don’t win that, I’m seriously considering seeking professional help to get all my areas together — any Florida recommendations?

  5. posted by Lissanne / SORTED! on

    Big congrats to all on the list – and killer idea there Erin!

    For those needing uncluttering down under, you will also find a NAPO member and founding AAPO member – moi!

    We’re celebrating ten years in Business in February and we looooooove to unclutter.

    Gift the gift of “un”!!

  6. posted by Scott Roewer on

    Many thanks to the cool kids at Unclutterer for including us on this amazing list of organizers. DC represents! Thank you for having faith in our work!

  7. posted by Janine Adams on

    Erin, I love that you’ve selected the gift of working with a professional organizer as Unclutterer’s ultimate gift this year. Your advice of giving a few names of a POs to a gift recipient is terrific.

    Thank you so much for including me on your list of favorite organizers. Such wonderful organizers there. I’m so honored to be in their company!

  8. posted by Monica Ricci on

    Oh my gosh Erin what a great and thoughtful post! You are right about being careful when giving our services! And most of all THANK YOU for including me on your list. I appreciate it so much. This business continues to gratify me, not only through my work with clients, but also in the amazing relationships I’ve developed with my colleagues.
    I am honored to be among such wonderful people on your list and in the industry in general!
    Thanks again,

  9. posted by Lorie Marrero on

    Thank you very much, Erin– it’s an honor to be on your list! I want to clarify that I am the founder of LivingOrder, but it is now owned by my team members Yvette Clay (Austin) and Helene Segura (San Antonio). In 2008 I transferred ownership of the company to them to allow me to devote full-time energy to helping people online from anywhere with our membership program, The Clutter Diet. So Yvette & Helene can help Texans in person, and the Clutter Diet can help people from all around the world. 🙂

  10. posted by John Trosko on

    I am absolutely floored that you included me in this list. We are surrounded by some great people who work side by side with clients either in-person or virtually, help them develop goals, strategize, and implement life changes (and not just in the space). Erin is right, there is help in each and every city, ask the right questions and you will be shocked at how much you can accomplish with just a few changes under the leadership of a professional organizer. NAPO is your source for ideas and the consultant that fits your needs. Again, I am honored to get a mention and thank you!

    John aka OrganizingLA

  11. posted by Beverly Wade on

    Just to add that you can find professional organisers and declutterers in the UK at the Association of Professional Organisers and Declutters UK (APDO) http://www.apdo-uk.co.uk

    Merry Christmas!

  12. posted by Julie Bestry on

    I’m honored and delighted to be on this list, especially among such remarkable colleagues. Erin, thank you for including me, and for being such a champion of the professional organizing community, and for sharing your expertise with your readership. Unclutterer rocks!

  13. posted by David on

    How much should this ultimate gift cost?

  14. posted by Rev BK on

    Love the idea for my sis in Las Vegas who would really like some help. Any pro organizers in the Las Vegas area to recommend??? Thanks and Happy Holidays!

  15. posted by A. J. Miller on

    To answer your question about cost, David, Professional Organizers’ fees may be based on an hourly, daily or project rate and can vary widely depending on where the recipient of the gift lives, what kind of organizing service(s) are needed and the amount of experience the Organizer has. The best way to determine what a gift of organizing services is likely to cost is to contact some Professional Organizers who service the area where your recipient lives and discuss it directly with them.

  16. posted by joanna | 365declutterchallenge on

    I suppose one would have to be choosy about who receives the gift. Some people would be a little put off by the “hint” that they’re messy!But for those who appreciate it, how wonderful!

  17. posted by Geralin Thomas on

    It makes me very merry to be included in this list of organizing experts.
    Thank you and happy holidays to all!

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