Show of hands: Who among us does not have a cardboard box stashed in the corner of a closet, stuffed with papers to be sorted or shirts missing a button? How many of us drag the same dog-eared box from move to move, with a vow to definitely get it unpacked this time for sure?
Don’t call Hoarders just yet. There are people who can help: professional organizers, whose clutter-cutting skills streamline your day-to-day routine and hopefully make your life more serene.
Professional organizers can help you make a move, arrange your kitchen, establish a workspace, organize your closet, and even manage your time. Knowledgeable on the latest storage products and tricks of the trade, they serve as a fresh pair of eyes, able to see past the material attachments and baggage we all carry, to find the best way to get ‘er done.
If you’re shopping for an organizer, nothing beats word of mouth. But if you lack a personal recommendation, there are membership groups such as the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO), which boasts more than 4,000 dues-paying members across the country. You can search for organizers in your zip code, and see their credentials, affiliations, and areas of specialty such as closets or kitchens.
Fees span a wide range. Some organizers charge by the task – one room, for example. Most charge by the hour, from $50 and up. Some charge for an initial consult, while others do them for free.
Below is my list of the best professional organizers in Dallas. I generated this list by starting with Letitia Pfeiffer, who is president of the DFW chapter of NAPO. I asked her and others on this list to suggest worthy competitors, and these rose to the top based on recommendations from peers.
Based in Plano, Sorted Out offers organizing and consulting services for both residential and business clients in the DFW Metroplex. In 2008, she published a book, Chaos 2 Calm, The Moms Of Multiples’ Guide To An Organized Family.
The companies residential organizing services includes help with packing and unpacking homes as well as photo and memorabilia organizing. Sorted Out also offers errand and personal shopping services.
Former flight attendant Desiree Hill formed Organized Touch 15 years ago. She helped found the Dallas chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers, and has appeared on Hoarders a number of times. Her niche is in relocation, a task for which she can assemble teams on short notice.
“I focus on people who are moving,” she says. “I often help unpack high-end executives who are moving into area, with companies such as Toyota and American Airlines. It’s a great service to provide, since people hate moving.”
With her five-year-old company based in Bedford, organizer Rochelle Ross of A Simplified Space focuses primarily on the mid-cities.
“I stay in the mid-cities bubble,” she says. “There are so many people moving into this area, and I can come in and help unpack. Having an organizer is especially important when people are relocating. If they have to start working right away, they tend to just cram their stuff in wherever it fits.”
Her favorite project: kitchens. “It’s the center of the house,” she says.
Michelle Earney escaped the telecom world, where she was working around the clock, to form Unhurried Life in 2007. She can tackle any room, but her special skills lie in organizing the office and maximizing productivity.
“It could be a space issue, where your space isn’t being properly utilized,” she says. “Or it could be a case of minimizing distractions and helping people accurately estimate the amount of things they can get done in a day.”
Leticia Pfeiffer of Styled & Organized Living is a frequent public speaker and a favorite expert for stories about her field, with many connections, including relationships with real estate brokers.
“I have one who gives my organizing services as a gift to new homeowners,” she says.
But with a degree in apparel merchandising and experience at retailers such as Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue, her real flair is for personal styling and wardrobe consults.
Organizer Reanna Wallace founded Blissfully Organized in 2011. In addition to organizing, she does relocation services, working with stagers to help purge a property of extra stuff, in anticipation of it being put on the market for sale. She’s also tech-savvy.
“I do a lot of work with getting people, especially older people, organized on their devices, and getting them paper-free,” she says.
Based in Irving, Michael Preston of Mr. Organizer and More is the rare male in a field dominated mostly by women. He’s good at big projects, and his specialties include helping empty nesters downsize to a smaller space.
“And I also get a lot of male clients,” he says.
In addition to organizing, he also offers some basic handyman skills.
“If you need a ceiling fan put up, I can do that,” he says.
A former fashion merchandiser, Christine “Chicka” Shanklin made a natural transition from clothes to closets when she founded Closets by Chicka in 2006. She loves transforming all kinds of closets, from wardrobe to bathroom to office.
She’s killer at weeding things out, whether it’s clothes in the back of the closet or stacks of paper on your desk.
“There’s five steps, from purging to storing,” she says. “It’s a simple process but not always easy.”
A veteran organizer, Terri Fulton founded Top Drawer Organizing in 2003 and became the first certified professional organizer in Dallas.
As CEO – “chief encouraging officer” – she’s joined by a team of organizers who expand the company’s reach into areas such as developing in-home offices for the growing number of workers who telecommute.
A master at paring away, Fulton has special training in “chronic disorganization,” a condition in which people live with chronic clutter.
Sandy Jones of Simply Organized by Sandy has been in the field since 2005, and is one of the small percentage of organizers that work with hoarders. But it is organizing photos for which she is best known and has the greatest passion.
“I help people take those boxes of photos and get them into a traditional album or get them digitized so they can be shared,” she says.
On the flipside, there are the thousands of photos sitting on people’s computers, never being enjoyed, which she can edit and manage.
“There’s a much greater risk of losing your photos digitally, and those memories are important,” she says.
A former school teacher, Terri Cox of Organized by Terri specializes in residential spaces, including closets, kitchens, and garages. She’s done everything from a small cottage to grand homes with adjoining wineries.
She has experience with downsizing, including working with seniors and organizing estate sales. A resident of Collin County, she has many clients in the Sherman and McKinney area.