Frequently Asked Questions...
What is your COVID-19 protocol?
The health and safety of my clients, their households, as well as anyone associated w SortSort during the course of a job, is my top priority. This protocol follows the recommendations of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and will be updated as their guidelines are updated. While I feel these procedures create a safe environment for our work together to continue, I also encourage you to communicate any requests or concerns you might have, and I will do my best to address and accommodate them.
I have been and will continue to closely monitor my own health. I will take my temperature the morning before any job.
I will wear a mask that properly covers my mouth and nose, both on route to, as well as the entire duration of all sessions.
I will wash my hands thoroughly as soon as I enter a household, approximately every hour during our time together, and at the end of the session. I will always have hand sanitizer nearby as we work.
I will have gloves available to wear at the client’s request.
We will maintain a social distance of a minimum of six feet at all times. The same applies to any situation if I need to work with a vendor. Should it be necessary to breach the six foot distance, it will only be done with the verbal agreement of both of us.
We will spray work areas with disinfectant spray before working in a space, as well as sanitize high-touch surfaces.
If possible we will open windows in the room when we are working to help the air flow.
I also ask that all my clients do their part to keep everyone safe. This includes wearing face coverings while I am in your home, washing your hands often, and of course, letting me know if you or any member of your household might have potentially been exposed to the virus. To limit the amount of contact I might ask you to open and disinfect all surfaces to be touched during our session, immediately prior to our appointment (ie doors, drawers, cabinets, etc). If any member of your household comes in to a room when we are working I would ask that they also wear a face mask and maintain a six feet distance.
If you feel ill or unwell in any way, PLEASE contact me immediately and I will reschedule our session a minimum of 14 days later with no cancellation fees. If I enter your household and you are not feeling well, or do not want to follow the above safety precautions, I will have to cancel the job and you will be responsible for my time, despite us not be able to work together on that date.
Can you help me set up to work from home?
Absolutely! Now more than ever we have been forced to adopt new ways of working out of our households. As more and more industries are finding that shared office spaces are neither necessary to productivity, nor safe for their employees' well being, many people will be finding themselves working outside the traditional office space on a reduced, or full time basis, well after the pandemic has passed. The need for a specified workstation, or permanent work-from-home set up has become a must have. You might have been making do working on the dining room table or in a desk shoved in a corner of the bedroom, but many of these makeshift home offices won’t translate well for the long term. It is important to create separate boundaries for your home and business lives so they don’t have to constantly battle for household space.
I will help you figure out an organized and attractive workspace solution designed to make your life easier, and your home more efficient. We will brainstorm together, as we reimagine the role of the home office within your own space. I can work on-site with you or in a set of virtual sessions. Together we will come up with creative fixes to meet your professional needs. I can help source products (ie an ergonomic chair, a defined space for your computer, updated aides for technology, a hidden place for all your paperwork), as well as clear clutter. With the assistance of my insight we will repurpose and take advantage of the odd or unused spaces in your home that you didn’t even think were there, and transform them into a productive and comfortable workspace.
How does virtual organizing work?
Virtual organizing is a convenient way for us to work together without having to be in the same physical space. It can serve as an alternative to on-site organizing, as well as accompany traditional in-home visits. These are collaborative sessions where we develop a plan and then schedule remote consultations to help you to accomplish your goals. In essence I will be guiding you via Zoom, FaceTime, or Skype, and you will do the physical work---partly while we are online together, and partly after we hang up the call. This service works best with a set program of consistent short SortSort sessions to help you maintain your progress, while you do the bulk of actual organizing at your own pace. In between our sessions I will be giving you follow up “homework” assignments, which will support you to stay focused, and give you specific direction.
This process works best for clients who are self-motivated, enjoy working at their own pace, work best in short bursts of time and are physically able to do the hands-on work. If you are feeling stuck or going through a life transition, virtual sessions can help you to get started on a project, as well as stay on track to finishing it. It is effective for both physical and digital spaces, as well as for overall productivity. With that said, this type of work isn’t well suited for everyone, or for all projects. Before we embark on virtual work together we would discuss the details in a phone call and then decide together if it makes sense for your specific situation. Then all you would need to do is to connect with me on one of the video conferencing platforms. Don’t worry if you are not a "tech person", if you can use your smart phone, tablet or computer I can easily help you get set up remotely.
At a minimum of only one hour, virtual SortSort sessions are much easier to find the time to fit into one’s schedule. They can also be combined with on-site organizing for those who live in the tri-state region and want the benefits of real time check-ins and accountability.
Remote organizing also allows me to work with clients who are located outside of the NYC region ("I wish I lived closer to SortSort, I’d hire Lisa in a second!"), as well as those who need to maintain strict personal space in their household for health, or other reasons. I offer it to both established, and new clients.
Where are you located?
I live in CLINTON HILL, BROOKLYN and most days am working with clients in both MANHATTAN and BROOKLYN. I also take regular day trips to clients located all over the tri-state region and schedule special trips out-of-state, on back to back days for more intensive projects.
Do I need to be present for the whole time while you are there organizing?
Generally speaking, yes you do. The process is very meticulous as only you know what is important to you and what its emotional value might be. Just like only you know if the organizing systems that I might suggest will actually work in your home/life. Being fully involved in the process is extremely empowering and the energy that is created will help you to maintain systems for a better organized life. Saying all that, once I understand your specific goals and personal style, there might be parts of the project that I can work on alone, while you are working in another room or running errands (or in some cases while you are at work). This of course must be discussed and agreed upon early in the process.
How long does it take?
There is no specific answer to this. Getting organized is very much a process and each session is different, just as each person is different. Many different factors affect this process, i.e. how large the space is, how much “stuff” you have, how long the clutter has been accumulating, how long you can sit in one place and focus on a specific task, how quickly you can process information and make decisions, your attachment level to your things, etc etc. I will proceed as quickly or slowly as your comfort level allows and am very aware and sensitive to your energy level at all times. Some clients have a specific goal that we can achieve in just a couple to a few sessions, while others prefer to have regular organizing visits to help manage numerous ongoing projects in their life, as well as routine maintenance visits.
What does it mean that you are a personal organizer?
As a personal organizer I help my clients finish things on their TO DO lists and in the process of doing so, help them improve their organizational skills. I assist my clients in reducing clutter and chaos in their lives, which ultimately results in less stress, greater productivity and more control of their life.
Are you going to make me get rid of all my stuff?
No not at all, in fact I will hardly offer my advice on your things, unless pressed. It is difficult to let go of an item that represents a connection to a past event or loved one and it is not my job, or intention, to convince you to get rid of anything. Part of my process is having you say out loud what every thing means to you, how you use it, how often it is used, etc. By doing that, and with my compassionate guidance to identify those items that are causing clutter, you will make all the decisions about your stuff. I am there to help guide you and to keep you focused, but not to force your hand on anything. Many people comment that having me there working side-by-side as an impartial witness gives them a new sense of freedom to let go. My goal is that everything you have in your home is organized so that you can easily find it and use it in your life; what you keep, and what you discard is entirely up to you.
What should I do/buy to prepare?
Nothing, besides making sure you have garbage and recycling bags on hand. There is no need to pre-organize, tidy up or hide things away in preparation for working with me, as we will likely be pulling them out again as we start to go through your things. So best to just leave everything as it is, which also makes it easier for me to understand the challenges at hand in your home. My intention is to help you clear things from your life, not add new things. If after we edit a certain area we determine some simple organizing products might be helpful, then I will help you source them at that time. But please know in advance that I am not coming into any situation w a predetermined organizing system for you to purchase. I also want to be sure that whatever container you do buy will be the right one for what needs to go in it and that it will fit perfectly in the space where that it will be stored. I also love re-purposing what you already have in your home and am really good at that. And I love zip lock bags and black sharpies! So just wear comfy clothes appropriate to the space we are going to work in, envision how you would like the space to ultimately function in your life and be open and ready to sort and make decisions.
Do you clean?
Generally speaking I am not a housekeeper and not there to clean your home. That being said part of getting rid of clutter also means cleaning the spaces that we are organizing. So if we are working through an area that needs a quick cleaning before we can put things back, then rest assured that I will be right there along side you with the broom, vacuum, duster, whatever it takes to get the job done. Any cleaning I do is strictly related to the organizing work that we are doing together, and is always with you side-by-side. I also help my clients source great housekeepers for regular or special occasion work.
Do you do "handiwork?"
While I personally do not do handiwork (hang pictures, minor repairs, move large things from room to room, build shelves, assemble furniture), I often help my clients liaison w great people who do have these very valuable skill sets.
What if I have health issues that might interfere with our work?
I have a great deal of energy and do not mind doing the physical part of the work if you are limited in any way. If you feel that you need me to be your arms and legs during some of the more active aspects of our work together, I am happy to do so as long as we mutually agree upon it during our initial consultation. An honest dialouge is important to set the tone for all our future sessions. Needless to say any heavy lifting or strenuous work might be better suited to hiring additional help specifically for such tasks.
What is a typical organizing session like?
There really is no “typical" session. The first time we work together I will ask you to give me a tour of your home, telling me in depth about the areas you want to work on and what your goals are in relation to these spaces. As we move from room to room, I will be asking you lots of questions: about your daily routines, your personal habits, who you live with, what you envision from your space, your potential blockages, etc. Then we will dive right in, focusing on one area at a time that is causing some stress in your life, methodically going through everything, piles, clutter, drawers, boxes, papers. We will be moving things around, talking about them as we touch them, making temporary piles to give away, to toss, and to move to another part of your home. This phase of the process takes time and really depends on what is actually in the spaces that we are working on. After all the clutter didn’t accumulate overnight and it certainly won’t get sorted overnight either. Once we actually get rid of the things you no longer “need” the real organizing begins. My job is to help you find efficient and practical places for everything. How you want things labeled or stored away depends on you and what you see as priority. And as we go through more of your “stuff” and really clear the clutter, and the draining energy that accompanies it, you will be creating an incredible lightness and deep sense of relief. You will actually see and feel positive results in just the first time we work together, it is pretty amazing the transformation that i will be helping you to create in your life.
So, how do I get started?
It's actually super easy, just send me a brief email, describing what you want to organize in one or two sentences, where you live and what is the best time for you to talk. I’ll reach back out to you and we can set up a phone appt that is convenient. At that time we can talk more about your goals and you can ask me any questions you might have. Then, if we feel like we are a good fit to work together, we will look at our calendars and set up a session. No need for me to come over and evaluate “the situation”; I am very much the “let’s just start” sort of person. Just by taking this very first step of contacting me, you will be amazed how you instantly feel motivated to tackle whatever it is you want to work on.
How long is each session?
This really depends on your specific goals and is tailored to meet your energy level and availability. My minimum in NYC is 3 hours, in the tri-state area it is 5 hours and if I travel by plane to work w you it is 3 day minimum, anywhere in the country. Most of my clients see me for 3-5 hours a session in NYC and 6-8 hours outside of the city. For some clients we work together on one specific project. And for many others, especially those w ADD, they find it helpful to schedule time each week, or month to achieve and maintain order in their homes/lives.
Do you ever work in the evenings or on weekends?
Definitely! I book sessions based on when it is most convenient for my clients’ schedules. So while my “regular” hours are usually defined to be between 9-6pm, I often work on the weekends, in the evenings and on most holidays.
How much does it cost?
I bill by the hour and the rate per hour depends on where you live in proximity to where I live and whether the session is during “regular” work hours or in the evening/on weekends. My rate for one-on-one organizing is based on these specific factors and is completely in line with other home consulting professionals. Once we speak I am happy to share all details related to the administrative side of the business. Note: when I travel by plane to work with you I charge a daily fee and will work with you up to 8 hours each day, after that an hourly rate applies. You are responsible for all travel costs (accommodation, food, airfare, taxis) as well as my daily fee. This kind of intensive work is extremely productive.
Are gift cards available?
Yes i offer gift cards for loved ones in both NYC, as well as in the TRI-STATE area. Please go to the GIFT CARD page for full details. Gift cards are based on my min hours per session, which is determined by where the recipient lives (ie in NYC it is a 3 hour minimum). Each gift card is for one session, so if you which to gift more than one day of organizing to your loved one, please purchase multiple gift cards.
Do you work with hoarders?
No I do not work w hoarders. True hoarders need to seek therapy with a licensed psychologist, who is better equipped to handle their specific situation. And having a lot of stuff does not mean someone is a hoarder. The desire to let go of one’s stuff is when I can do my job, to assist in that process and to organize what is kept.
Do you organize other things not mentioned on the website?
The services I list here are just some of what I provide to my clients. If you have a need that is not specifically addressed here, just let me know, as I am sure I have worked with others to help organize just the same thing. Small businesses...dining and living rooms…bathrooms...laundry areas...mudd rooms…bookcases…vinyl and DVD collections…jewelry…holiday and special event planning, etc etc
Will you work with my moving company?
Certainly! I can help you in every aspect of your move, large or small, including overseeing and coordinating things for you before, during and after the move. I can also make recommendations if you need a moving company or a "man w a van”.
Can you help my children get organized?
Yes i do and in fact it usually happens quite organically after I am working in a household. Once I start working w one of their parents, a child or teenager automatically feels comfortable with me as they can witness firsthand how I am helping to make big changes to their household. The children I have worked with have all been super excited to have a (fun) adult, who is not their parent, spent time individually working with them "behind closed doors". I am able to respectfully listen to their needs as well as to keep them focused on the tasks at hand.
Do you work with estate attorneys and executors?
In the case of estates I can work either directly with the relatives to get through this extremely emotional and sensitive process, or I can work on my own, once sentimental items have been taken from the home. I am extremely responsible for making sure a deadline is met (i.e. to put a home on the market, prepare it for closing). I also offer help to going through, inventory, separate and dispose of the possessions of a deceased loved one.
How do you deal with donations?
Letting go of things that have accumulated in your home/life is often a very emotional and difficult process. Knowing that you will be donating to a worthy cause often makes parting with some of your stuff easier. I will help you find and contact appropriate resources to make donations and can also assist in the pick up or drop off if you wish. I will help you keep a record (either written lists or photographic images) for your own personal memories, as well as for tax purposes. I will also often suggest giving specific items to friends/family, recycling or repurposing them. Disposing of things in a responsible eco-friendly manner is important to me.
Do you take before and after photos?
I will only take photos with your permission. The use of before and after pictures is great tool for reference as we work together towards transforming a space, to remind you where you started and to keep you motivated to finish the project. These (and all photos) are for our eyes only, and I will often include them in follow up emails that I send you after a session. You are always welcome to post them on social media yourself, so others might see your dramatic results and transformations.
Why should I hire an organizer?
It starts with being ready to make a change in your life. Even if you are a very organized person, my job is ultimately to listen to you and help motivate you to keep going, even when gets boring or emotional, without criticizing and without judgement. I am just there, on your side, to break down projects into manageable pieces so you can stay with the task, until we finish it, together. I will offer advice on where to put all your things once we go through them and to help you create new systems. Two people, two sets of eyes (mine being completely objective), four hands, two brains, two different perspectives, at least twice as much energy will mean you will finally be able to check that project off your TO DO list. As corny as it sounds, getting organized is really a therapeutic and spiritual process. Letting things go, and moving energy around, frees up incredible things in your life, beyond the obvious of the spaces that you live in.
I'm embarrassed for you to see my space, let along contact you...
This is a very common concern as it is normal not to want anyone to see the parts of our lives that are not perfect. But please don’t feel embarrassed about me seeing your clutter or perceived disorganization. I am in this business because I love to help people clear out, organize and finish things in their lives and I am completely nonjudgmental throughout the process. The piles of things that you see as mess, is honestly just “stuff” in my eyes. I understand it is stressful to let me in to such an intimate place in your life, but the joy that results in taking control over your stuff (aka life) will outweigh any initial embarrassment you might feel. It is a huge step you have already made by making the effort to find me and read this very question.
Is our work together confidential?
Absolutely, all our work together will be highly confidential. I know that what we do is of a very personal nature and I respect each client's privacy and boundaries.
What can I expect from you?
You can expect punctuality, side-by-side assistance throughout the entire process, personalized solutions, no judgement, constant encouragement, and whatever outside resources I can offer or research for your specific goals. I am not easily shocked by personal items, and will organize pretty much anything as long as it is not hazardous or illegal. In addition you can expect follow up communication after all of your sessions.
What is a consultation like?
I offer a free 30 min phone consultation for anyone who is interested in working me. During this time you can tell me a bit about yourself and some of your immediate organizing needs, concerns and goals. In addition, you can ask me anything you like about my background, my philosophy about getting organized and the various techniques I use.
Do you have client references that I can check?
Of course! Please visit my TESTIMONIALS page to see what some of my clients have said about working with me and the services I provide. I would be happy to put you in touch with any of these clients, upon request.
Are you insured?
Yes SortSort has general liability insurance and I am insured up to $1,000,000.
How and when do I pay you?
Payment for all hourly sessions is due at the end of the session, unless other arrangements have been previously agreed upon. If you prefer, you can also prepay in advance; I offer a small discount for multiple prepaid sessions. I accept check, cash, VENMO, PAYPAL money transfer or CHASE QUICK PAY and ZELLE. If you need an invoice for the session, just mention it and I will send it to you afterwards.
What is your cancellation policy?
In line with most professional services, I have a 24 hr cancellation policy. This just means that if you need to cancel any session that we book, I need to know at least 24 hrs beforehand. Otherwise I have to bill for the full session. Needless to say I am compassionate to true emergencies. I base this policy on mutual respect for one another’s busy schedules and valued time.
What are your preferred pronouns?
As a cisgender woman you can refer to me as she/her/hers. I am an ally of the LGBTQ+ community and respect all people and their chosen identities. I will refer to all clients using the names and personal pronouns that they share with me.