Helpful Tips for Estimating Time

July 28, 2022

As professional organizers, we know that the management of time can either make or break an organizing project. When we are working with clients, we are not just delivering on the scope of the project but working to complete within the boundaries of the expected timeline. This is because the timeline, along with the budget, are the framework that the organizing job must fit within, in order for the job to be considered a success. Here are some helpful tips for estimating time. 

Identify internal timelines

We know that the schedule and timeline of an organizing project can often be affected by the client’s internal timeline. You may not realize it, but you may already have factors that are creating a timeline for you. This is important to gauge so that you can be real with yourself about the time estimation for your job. Here are some good questions to ask yourself: 

  • What am I working towards?
  • Am I trying to get this done before a certain time, event, day etc…
  • Do I have a deadline associated with a season, move, trip, visiting guest, or something else?

Taking the answers to these questions into consideration will give you boundaries within which you can schedule your project and help you to plan out how long a project needs to take. The time you spend planning a project is time well spent.

Remember that the timeline and the budget are inversely correlated

When the timeline shrinks, the budget expands, and vice versa. If we have a client that has a tight deadline and needs a lot of work done in short amount of time, there is an expectation that there will be a large output of financial investment. This is the opposite of a person who has a meager budget and plans to chip away at the project slowly over time requesting a lot of homework in between sessions in order to get to the next level and repeat this cycle for a longer period of time. The first example is one of a large output of financial investment with a tight deadline, while the second is an example of a tight budget with an extended timeline. What is the timeline and what is the budget for your project? Take some time to think through these factors in order to have a realistic timeline for your organizing project.

Some variables to look for when planning your organizing project


The volume of stuff you are decluttering and organizing affects the amount of time, especially if there is a lot of small stuff. Examples of this are kitchens, paper, and playrooms. 

Unknown Items:

Not being able to see all the items you will be working with or having any “mystery boxes” that can’t be identified have the potential to add a lot of extra time to your schedule. Be cautious with this category.

Space Size:

The size of the space you are working in is a big factor and can influence your timeline one way or another. The larger the space, the more there is usually to organize. 


If you are working with any outside vendors, their timelines will affect your schedule. We run into this often with our clients when they are having custom closet built-ins or undergoing any sort of renovation.

Decision Making:

This variable is huge in estimating time when planning your project. How are you at decision making? The longer it takes you to make decisions, the more time you need to incorporate into your time schedule. 


We cannot always control interruptions and life circumstances that come at us. However, try to allot some extra time in your schedule to accommodate for any unforeseen distractions.

These helpful tips for estimating time really do help when planning out an organizing project because it gives you a realistic plan to help you accomplish your goal. Oftentimes organizing projects can take much longer than expected because there was not an estimation of time. When all of these variables are factored in, the job is much more attainable and understandable.