I am often contacted by people who want to buy gift certificates of professional organizing services for others. They are calling for their parents, siblings, spouses, children, friends or neighbors who seem disorganized or cluttered. It is great that these people are concerned; however, I no longer offer gift certificates of organizing services for the following reasons:
1. The person must want professional organizing services and be motivated for change
The person in need of the organizing services must be the one to call and request it. They must be motivated and ready to make a change, and willing to put in the time and effort to work with a professional organizer, and understand the time and monetary investment needed to bring about the transformation they desire.
2. Professional organizing is a personalized service
Hiring a a professional organizer is like hiring a personal trainer. We first start with a phone consultation to determine if I can meet this person’s needs and expectations, if they are motivated to make a change, if my process will work for them, and also if our personalities mesh. The individual in need of organizing should choose the organizer that is right for them, this is not possible if the organizing service is a surprise gift.
3. The gift of organizing could be perceived as an insult
A surprise gift or organizing is similar to giving the gift of Jenny Craig or Weight Watcher’s to someone who does not feel they need to or want to lose weight. It is like seeking out a therapist for someone who is not ready to seek therapy and work on issues of concern as perceived by an outside party. Perhaps the disorganization doesn’t bother them.
4. Gifted organizing sessions can feel forced
During a gifted organizing session, the recipient may be getting organized to please the gift-giver (whether that be a parent, spouse, child, friend or sibling), and not to please themselves.
5. Client privacy may be impacted
Professional organizing services are confidential for a reason, but often the gift-giver feels like they should know what was done, or even decide what area the recipient needs to organize.
The gift giver may insist on knowing the details of the organizing session from the recipient, or even be present during the session, making this personal experience more difficult. Feelings of shame, embarrassment, guilt and frustration may be more relevant in this situation.
6. There is often less commitment from the gift-recipient
Without investing their own money into the services of a professional organizer, the recipient may be less committed, and may not appreciate or understand the value of the service. Organizing is usually not a one-time event, it frequently requires multiple sessions. If the gift giver only bought the person one session, the recipient may now have to pay their own money to finish what was started, or they end up with an unfinished project.
I’ve encountered frequent last-minute cancellations of gifted organizing sessions in the past because the recipient is embarrassed, ashamed or not ready to work with a professional organizer for a variety of reasons. Sometimes recipients procrastinate on their first appointment for months because they really don’t want to do it.
For all of those reasons, I no longer offer gift certificates of my organizing services. If you think your friend or family member can benefit from the services of a professional organizer, I encourage you to discuss this with them, and ask them to visit professional organizing websites to explore options on their own. Most organizers, like myself, offer a free phone consultation. Let that person know they can reach out to a professional organizer if they want to ask for help and when they feel ready to begin.