Neat way to make a living
WOULD you pay $400 to a professional to organise your desk, then teach you how to keep it neat?
That is the going rate for the services provided by these niche groups here. According to the handful who are based in Singapore, people are willing to pay.
Ms Georgina Wong, chief executive officer of Asian Professional Organisers, said her business turnover has doubled over the past two years due to an increasing awareness of the service.
She set up her firm in 2011 after years of organising conferences and events.
Last year, she was hired by eight to 10 clients per month and charged between $350 and $400 for three hours of service.
Ms Nathalie Ricaud, who is also a professional organiser, said clients come to her when they have amassed too many belongings and have space constraints as a result.
"I help these people de-clutter their life by sorting through what they have and keeping only what they use and love, then I help them arrange these things in the most efficient way," she explained.
Sometimes, clients approach professional organisers when they are facing a "situational crisis", Ms Wong pointed out.
She said: "It can be a home owner who wants to sell his place, but needs to make it look presentable to buyers.
"Another client I had was an overwhelmed mother of four who was juggling many things in her life."
Holistic health coach Shamala Tan hired Miss Au-Yong Haw-San to organise her eight-year-old daughter's bedroom.
Madam Tan, who is in her 40s, explained: "My daughter had a big room and she had too many toys. It was hard to organise them and I found myself going around in circles, not knowing how to pack them properly and in an organised way.
"I often felt a little paralysed about where to put what.
"That led to time wasting and I felt a professional would definitely do a better job than me."
Miss Au-Yong spent about eight hours last year on the project and charged Madam Tan about $500.
Professional organisers like her aim to equip their clients with the necessary skills to maintain the spaces after they have been tidied up.
Said Miss Au-Yong: "The goal I usually set for the rooms I organise is for clients to take less than five minutes maintaining the rooms and fewer than 10 seconds to find any item they need."
It is not just the wealthy who employ professional organisers, Ms Wong revealed.
"I've worked with clients who live in three-room HDB flats and those who reside in bungalows with seven to eight rooms," she said.
While such services are popular in the West, they are just starting to develop here, professional organisers acknowledged.
Miss Au-Yong, whose background is in industrial engineering, said about 60 per cent of her business comes from corporate clients who engage her for storage planning. Still, professional organisers are optimistic about growth of the market for their services here.
"The pace of living in Singapore is generally fast, which leaves people with less time to organise and maintain their spaces," said Ms Wong.