Tidying-up shows like Netflix's 'Get Organized' boosted demand for professional organizers — 2 share how business has boomed in the last year
- Home organizing became popular earlier in the pandemic, partly thanks to shows like "Get Organized."
- Two people who recently started organizing businesses share how they've grown in the past year.
While this kind of programming has existed and attracted audiences for some time — the show "Hoarders," which follows people dealing with obsessive-compulsive disorder or an anxiety disorder as they accept professional help to clear out their cluttered homes, premiered in 2009 — newer shows have spearheaded a fresh kind of philosophy: Organizing a home can be a form of self-care.
This is more prevalent than ever as Americans grapple with the struggles of a pandemic that's forced them to reevaluate how they use and spend time in their living spaces.
Two professional organizers told Insider their businesses grew significantly in the past two years as a result of this trend and that they anticipated even more growth in 2023.
Meanwhile, more and more people are entering the field: Amy Tokos, the president of the National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals and owner of Freshly Organized in Omaha, Nebraska, told Insider that while association membership had stayed at about 3,500 over the past couple of years, the organization saw an uptick in people pursuing its certification programs. Melissa Klug, the program director of Pro Organizer Studio, a company that helps people launch organizing businesses, said that in 2021, it had a huge increase in people taking its Inspired Organizer course. She said it now had 700 people in this flagship program across five continents, a 60% increase since 2020.
How 2 professional organizers got their start amid the pandemic
Jill Moore, the owner of North Carolina's Organized Jill, generated a little more than $58,000 in sales in 2021 and is on track to make at least $100,000 this year, according to financial documents reviewed by Insider.
She launched her business in November 2020 after reading Marie Kondo's book "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up." Moore told Insider she self-funded the side gig with $2,500, which went toward completing a professional-organizing course, launching her website, and buying office and marketing supplies. She made just $250 in her first two months of business working three hours an evening, four to five days a week, and soon after decided to leave her administrative and accounting position to take on the work full time.
"Like so many people during the pandemic, I decided that a traditional workforce job was no longer right for me," she said, adding that one of the things that had always brought her peace of mind during chaotic times was organization. In her first 12 months in business, Moore and her team of four — which she started hiring three months into her business — helped 80 clients and organized 237 spaces. Because the business is service-based, she said, she's able to keep overhead low, with 97% of revenue going toward paying herself and her team members.
Today, Moore works six or even seven days a week and is booked with clients four to six weeks out. As more awareness of the industry grows, she thinks demand will continue to increase.
"As long as big-box stores exist, there will always be a need for organizers," she said.
Julia Raz is an adjunct professor who started Golden West Organizing in Sherman Oaks, California, as a side gig in July 2021. Even as she worked 30 hours a week at her full-time job, she generated $13,000 within the first month of being in business. Over the first six months of her business, she made $10,000 to $17,000 in monthly revenue, according to financial documents reviewed by Insider, with a 2021 sales total of more than $72,000. Raz said this year was looking even better and that the business was on track to generate nearly $110,000 in sales for her services.
Raz has recently scaled back her hours, she said, as she's delegated more responsibility to employees. She added she now worked 30 to 40 hours a week on her business and spent only 10 hours of that time organizing, while working her full-time job. This has opened up her time for things like appearing on the "Minimalists" podcast.
Opportunities abound for job seekers and entrepreneurs
As her brand has grown, so have Raz's number of inquiries from clients. Like Moore, she doesn't see demand for organizing going away anytime soon.
She added that the barrier to entry for this kind of business was low, making it a great opportunity for people naturally inclined to this type of work.
"There are so many opportunities ahead, and professional organizing is as much a mental-health service as it is a residential service," Klug of Inspired Organizer said.
There are many affordable options to get started in the business, including the approach Raz took: She joined the National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals, as well as her local Los Angeles chapter, and completed its "professional-practices" coursework. Her annual dues are $300. No certifications are required to perform services as a professional organizer, but these professionals said organizing and business training could go a long way.
"Not everyone who starts this business will get to jump right into fabulous closets and Instagramable pantries. Sometimes, we have to do the not-so-glamorous, sweaty, dirty jobs before settling into a lovely niche," Moore added. "It's not like what you see on TV, where they have a huge team, endless product budgets, and a makeup and camera crew.
"This is real life, real people, real results if you put in the work."
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