How to Help Someone in Need of Organizing Assistance


Let’s say you have a friend or relative who needs organizing assistance and they ask you for your support. Consider it an honor — it probably wasn’t easy for them to ask you.

Here are some guidelines to follow if you want to be as supportive as possible:

1. When you enter their home, do not gasp if you see a lot of clutter. They are feeling vulnerable and need your compassion, not judgment.

2. Keep the mood light. Use humor when appropriate.

3. Be a good listener. It’s not about you. They need your undivided attention and focus to stay on task.

4. If you are sorting their stuff with them, work at their pace and avoid distractions. Don’t rush them to make decisions. Ask them questions and use encouragement to keep up the momentum.

5. Work sessions should be relatively short. You might want to work for hours but the person making decisions and parting with stuff is exhausted. Three hours is typically the maximum that I will work with a client. Periodically check in with them and see how they are doing emotionally and physically. Watch for signs of fatigue or shutting down.

6. When you finish organizing for the day, offer to help load their car with donations and even ride along as they drop them off at a donation center. This may be greatly appreciated!

Bottom line: The best way to support your friend or relative is to be patient, kind, loving and have a sense of humor.

If you are unable to help, search for a local professional organizer through the National Association of Professional Organizers at


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