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Are you looking to start the new year with a decluttered space? Organizing your home can feel like a huge undertaking, but crossing this project off your to-do list might be easier than you think. We spoke to Lorraine Brock, owner of Get Organized!, to find out what it’s like to use a professional organizing service and get a few tips on how to straighten up the house without the help of a pro.

What can a professional organizer do?
Professional organizing companies take charge of a wide spectrum of projects – including tidying up the home, maximizing space in home offices and helping seniors downsize. Brock’s company even does IT organization – helping clients to sync their devices, sift through old photos and create more cloud storage. “There’s probably nothing we don’t do on the organizing side,” she says. But her favorite projects have to do with “life organizing.”

What is life organizing?
Life organizing involves structuring the foundations of your life, so you have more free time to deal with the physical spaces in your home. “Time management is one of those life organizing skills. (It includes) meal planning, kids’ chores, allowance systems, budgeting _ all those things,” says Brock. When the basics are in place, it becomes a lot easier to take care of other home tasks, like giving your home a deep clean or sifting through old clutter.

TIP: When it comes to organizing your life, don’t just plan on doing things – schedule them. Making firm, scheduled plans to accomplish tasks will help keep you accountable for completing them in a timely manner.

How much does this cost?
On average, hiring a professional home organizer costs $480 for a job, according to HomeAdvisor’s True Cost Guide. But Brock says the cost varies greatly depending on the density of the project. Even if two homes are the same size, they can have vastly different amounts of clutter, which impacts the cost.

Will I need to buy any products?
While it’s possible to organize your space without buying any bonus shelving units, storage compartments or gadgets, you may find these products are a good investment in the long run. Spending a little more on a useful organizer can make a big difference and help you utilize vertical space. “If you want to containerize and store properly to maximize space and be efficient and declutter, you normally need some type of product,” says Brock.

TIP: If you’re organizing on your own, keep in mind there’s no need to purchase an entire storage system at once. Spread your purchases out over time, or do things room by room, so you can be sure each item works for your home and lifestyle.

Where do I start?
If you hire a professional organizer, you’ll first need to consult with your pro to figure out what kind of help you need and how long your project will take. Sometimes, the consultation is all a client needs to get started on their own, says Brock. Other times, straightening up your home can require a few more visits. If you’re taking care of things on your own, start the process by asking yourself what your goals are, how long the project might last and what steps you need to take to get there. Then, put your plan into action and enjoy your newly tidied space!

By Jenna Schuster, Angie’s List. Jenna is a reporter for Angie’s List, a trusted provider of local consumer reviews and an online marketplace of services from top-rated providers. Visit AngiesList.com.