How long will it take to organize my (filing system, desk, drawers, etc.)?

This varies for every client and every project. How long any given project takes depends on the scope of what you want accomplished, what “being organized” means to you, frequency and duration of sessions, how much “homework” you are able to do on your own, and how quickly you are able to make decisions when decluttering, filing, etc.

Do I have to be there while you are organizing?

Generally speaking, it is important that you be there during organizing and productivity sessions. Our process is very client-focused, and for that to best succeed, you need to be available to consult about decisions about your systems and your things. That said, it is also possible to do some or part of the work on our own (based on your needs, input, and guidelines), and then train you on the systems that Custom Living Solutions has created for you. It depends on your needs/desires, your availability, and the scope and type of the project(s).

Will everything be confidential?

Absolutely. Anything that comes up during our sessions will be kept with the utmost confidentiality. No details of your organizing projects will ever be disclosed without your express permission.

I like watching organizing shows on TV. Does the organizing process work how it’s shown on TV?

Sort of. While the general elements of the organizing process are the same (assessing the situation, designing a solution, hands-on organizing, etc.), the timeframes, cost, and other considerations are very different. For instance, on TV, support staff (handypersons, electricians, painters, etc.) are on standby, waiting to participate. In reality, those people are not waiting in the next room, and it may take several weeks to schedule those personnel. Also, the timeframes are very compressed – what may take weeks or months in real life is shown to occur in just a few hours or days on TV. Finally, organizers on TV are sometimes shown forcing or coercing clients into making decisions. In our work with clients, all decisions come from the client – we may encourage and challenge you, but all decisions are yours in the end.

Do you come in with a support staff with a handyman, painter, and other helpers?

Generally speaking, no. If the need arises, we can call in support staff and other related professionals (handypersons, more organizers, etc.).

I need a custom cabinet installed, shelves hung, furniture moved, and a bookcase assembled. Can you do that?

While we can certainly help you envision your custom cabinet and let you know what shelves you’ll need and what to store on them, we don’t handle design, installation, or assembly. For that type of work, we would call in an outside specialist, handyperson or other professional who has skill in that area. For moving furniture, we call on laborers to assist us.

Are you certified?

The founder and CEO of Custom Living Solutions, Joshua Zerkel, is one of the first professional organizers in the nation to become certified through the Board of Certification of Professional Organizers (BCPO). What this means is that BCPO has verified that we’ve completed a minimum of 1250 hours of Professional Organizing work, along with completing a minimum of 250 hours of related professional development, culminating with a comprehensive exam. Currently, this is the most rigorous certification program available in the Professional Organizing industry.

What are your business hours?

We strive to work with your schedule and availability. We offer evening and weekend sessions by appointment.

Do you have any minimum hours that a session must last?

Our typical session is 90 minutes in duration. That gives us enough time to define a project for the day, make some headway, and tidy up when we are completed. Shorter sessions tend to not accomplish very much, and longer sessions tend to leave clients exhausted.

Do you charge for driving time?

For clients in the San Francisco Bay Area: We charge only for driving time to clients outside the city of San Francisco. Round-trip driving time is calculated from central San Francisco to the site of the organizing session using time estimates from Google Maps.