As a Professional Organizer, you tend to go into strangers homes and office spaces so your safety and awareness of your surroundings is important. No matter how safe a neighborhood may seem, violence can happen anywhere. Don’t be a victim, it’s better to be prepared.
Here are safety tips for Professional Organizers to make sure you get through your job, and back home, safely.
Before an Appointment
- Know your boundaries and comfort level. Will you only work with someone as the same gender as you? As a woman, I personally wouldn’t take a job from a man, unless his assistant/wife / partner / kids were present too. Consider having very strict policies about acceptable and not acceptable behavior. Most importantly, follow through with them.
- Consult the sex offender registry
- Have a free phone consultation and be sure to ask questions like, who or if, anyone else would be there during an appointment. This way, you can see if you have good or bad vibes from your potential client. Always trust your gut, it’s right.
- Take self defense classes that are more situational related. RAINN is a good start.
- Coordinate with your family or team on when and how long you’ll be at your client’s space.
- Make sure your main contact has your client’s name(s) and address
- Location Threat Assessment. Look up your client’s location on Google maps to plan your route and get an idea of what the area or neighborhood is like. Notice where the Police Department, Hospitals, etc are and other places you can go in case of an emergency.
- Have a code word with your main contact, in case you are uncomfortable with a client and need to leave.
- Pack your own snack or lunch.
During an Appointment
- During the initial in-person assessment of the space, take note of the exits, and where the main door is located. Stay faced to your potential client and keep your back towards the doorway, in case you need to get out, quick.
- Take photos of the house, space, vehicles, etc., especially if you’re unfamiliar with the location or client.
- Use the buddy system. If you don’t have a team, ask a fellow organizer to do a job with you or make sure it’s ok that a family member helps you during the appointment.
- Check-in with your main contact when you first arrive and during your appointment.
- Keep a clear path to the door
- Keep your pepper spray, keys, stun gun or other safety tools, within easy reach
- Never take your shoes off in case you need to run out of there.
- Don’t eat any food/drink that is offered.
If you do need to leave suddenly
- Make an excuse to check-in with your contact and use the code-word you previously planned and start heading towards the closest exit.
- Get to your car and lock yourself in.
- Drive to the closest Police Station and file a police report not just to protect others from this individual, but also cover yourself and your company.
What other safety tips do you have as a PO for other Professional Organizers? Let us know in the comments!