Working with a Declutterer - What’s it really like?
Updated: Sep 11, 2019
You may be wondering what happens when somebody agrees to letting a professional organiser into their home.
Clutter doesn’t sneak up overnight. On the same note, making that decision to get help to tackle it can also take a while. You may feel apprehensive about exposing your home to someone you don’t even know. I get that.
That’s why I want to give you an insight into not only WHAT happens at a session but also HOW it feels.
Over a period of a few weeks I worked with Edel as we took on her cluttered cupboard. She has agreed to let us inside her home to track progress.
First things first – I’m not that scary!
I WON’T be wearing high heels and a business suit. Usually, I’ve got some sportswear and flat shoes on – ready for action.
I WON’T make you get rid of things or impose my ideas. This is a collaborative affair. We work together to find a solution that will work well for you. Sometimes this may mean I will ask challenging questions that force you to think about the flow and systems in your home, as well as the items themselves.
And lastly. My family house is not a perfect SHOW HOME. Yes, a lot of decluttering and organising has gone on and continues to do so, but sometimes life just gets in the way and little pockets of “stuff” start to grow !
The next step after getting in touch with me is for us to get talking during a 15-20 minute, relaxed free consultation. This allows us both to see how we can work together.
Session One - Initial consultation
I met Edel for the first time in her home. She runs her own business, has a family with teenage children and tries to slot in a little time for herself. We started off by having a quick look at the cupboard that she describes as “the bane of her life”. It had been on her “To Do” list for the last 3 years but as she's busy with full time work and family commitments she just never managed to get round to it. There's all sorts in there from an unused computer to old paperwork.
We decided to set aside a 3 hour block to declutter and re-organise the contents.
It was great to hear from her after my visit saying,
“It’s like a weight has been lifted. I can’t wait to get started now”
Session Two - 3 Hours
I’m back with Edel and we’re raring to go - Let’s do this!
Looking at the cupboard I ask her to imagine how she would like it to look. It’s decided that this should be a mini-office space, where all the paperwork can be easily accessed. We also take a photo at this stage in order to compare at the end. It’s surprisingly easy to forget how it looked originally.
As with most things, preparation is key. Firstly, we need to set up our work area to sort into. As we are working on a hallway cupboard space is quite limited so we decide to use the bathroom as well.
Boxes and bags are set out and marked:-
STAY | RE-USE | RE-CYCLE | RELOCATE | BIN
At this point it’s also a good idea to pop on your favourite tunes – go for something upbeat to keep your energy levels high. Let’s face it, decluttering would not be our first choice of activities in our spare time, so we need to make it as fun and motivating an environment as possible.
O.K. we’re ready. We start at the top and take each piece out and make a decision as to which pile it’s going in.
Some things are easy “stays”. As a child-minder she has children’s files she must keep until they are 21 years old. Then there’s the accounts that MUST be kept for at least 5 years for the HMRC.
There’s an array of bits that can go – old bank statements from years ago, toys, cards and magazines. The old computer will go to electronic recycling and there’s quite a few things for the charity shop. We try to minimise stuff to landfill but unfortunately, the videos have to go in the bin.
We come across a tripod and vintage binoculars case that are her husband’s so these are set aside for him to decide later.
Intermingled amongst the “must keeps” and the definite "to go’s” are a few more tricky items. She stalls briefly on a beautiful old book that was from her own childhood. Also, some of her own children’s artwork brings back fond memories. We talk a little about how these items have served her and whether they still have a place. With a smile, she decides that it’s time to let them go.
The hours pass quickly. The constant decision making is tiring but seeing the results keeps Edel going. There is huge satisfaction from dropping a large bag of recycling into the blue bin. Another feeling of relief washes over when the car boot is filled with items to go to charity. There are still a few files that need sorting out that we won’t have time for today but they can go onto the, now very manageable, “To Do” list.
As we re-arrange all the stuff that is left back into the cupboard there is a feeling of excitement growing. Edel admits that she thought “It could never be tackled in 3 hours!”
“Voila” – a neat, organised space has emerged which provides Edel and her
family easy access to the items they really need.
In the days that follow she finds herself doing more decluttering fuelled by the success of her cupboard.
Could you benefit from decluttering and organising your home ?
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