I am writing this blog article by request. One of my readers asked, “How do I get my parents to agree to hire a professional organizer?” This is a sensitive subject to broach, because as the adult child, the home is not yours, and your parent or parents will be the main decision makers in the organizing process.
I have many conversations with adult children who want the help and services of a professional organizer for their aging parents, but unfortunately the parents are not on board. Your parents may not see that the investment of a professional organizer is an investment in improving their life, time, stress level and environment. Hiring a professional organizer can also relieve stress for their adult children who are trying to balance family caregiving along with so many other obligations.
Your parents may feel, “I should be able to do this on my own,” or too proud or embarrassed to ask for or accept help. They may not physically be able to lift and sort through items on their own, but may not feel comfortable asking for outside assistance. Some parents may want to keep the home decluttering and organizing process within the family, but then disagreements and strained relationships result during this emotionally draining process.
Here are some tips on talking to your senior parents about why asking for organizational help is okay, and why they should agree to give it a try.
You Hire Experts for Other Needs
You hire a mechanic to fix your car, an accountant to do your taxes, a carpenter to fix your roof. A professional organizer is an expert to help repair disorganized systems, improve your overall environment, and transfer organizational skills to you so you can maintain organization in the future.
These are Skills You Need and Want to Learn
If you wanted to learn how to paint, cook or play an instrument, you would take lessons. Some people never had lessons in organization or time management, so a professional organizer can teach you these skills that you may need to improve or want to learn. Home organizing sessions are individual personalized and customized lessons about you, your home, your time, your family and your life. A professional organizer doesn’t just move stuff around, he or she helps you to discover your goals, prioritize, create a plan of action, make decisions on what to do with all the “stuff” that’s surrounding you.
You’ve Tried On Your Own, and it Hasn’t Worked Yet
Ask your parents, “How many times have you tried to get this place organized? When will this get done if you don’t hire someone, schedule a time to do it, have an expert guide you in the process, provide storage product ideas, help drop off donations, and provide you with resources for selling or consigning items?”
You Want to Reduce the Stress of Downsizing or Moving
Moving is one of life’s most stressful events. Downsizing or decluttering to age-in-place can be even more stressful because of the decades of memories and sheer number of items to sort through, often within a short deadline. A professional organizer can relieve much of that stress, and make the entire process more manageable.
You’d Like a Safer Environment
Whether you are moving or staying in your space, decluttering and organizing will result in a safer environment. Often, seniors need to make space for walkers or wheelchairs, and decluttering can help with that. Organizing can improve other accessibility or safety concerns, such as removing falling or tripping hazards.
You Need or Want Accountability
A professional organizer will help to hold you accountable, keep you motivated, and work with you whether by your side or via email or phone to keep the process moving. After each organizing session, “follow-up tasks” and “next steps” are discussed. Your professional organizer will call you or check in with you at the start of each session to hold you accountable. Sometimes having an accountability source is all you need to get the ball rolling and stay motivated.
You are Worth the Investment
The investment in a professional organizer can vary based on your needs. The cost really varies due to many factors including the size of the home, amount of items, number of people involved, and your decision making speed. As many of my clients can attest, the monetary cost is well worth every penny because you are investing in your well-being, in lowering stress, in saving time, in improving your surroundings.
If You’re Happier, Your Adult Children will be Happier
With a better organized home, you will be safer, happier, and things will run more smoothly throughout your home. You’ll have more time for enjoyable activities, and most likely this will result in a happier family, including your adult children.
As an adult child, remember this is your parent’s home and your parent’s choice. As a professional organizer, before scheduling a session, I must speak with the homeowner and head decision maker first to be sure they are on board with the organizing process.
For more information, call On Task Organizing at 919-561-0885 or email to schedule a free phone consultation. I can also set up a conference call with both you and your parents, so we can really discuss their organizational needs and concerns in depth together.