November 2016 saw me trekking up to London to attend the Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers (APDO) ‘Introduction to Professional Organising’ Training Day. I thought this would be a valuable investment of time and money, as it proved to be.
The training team focused on various aspects of starting your own decluttering business, rather than the process of decluttering itself. It was explained that this is because declutterers belonging to the organisation were found to have a wide portfolio of skills: At one end of the spectrum you can find members who focus on interior design and project management, whilst at the opposite are those helping hoarders to declutter, sometimes working with mental health services to facilitate this. I would say that my work is somewhere in the middle.
Whilst I do have a qualification as an interior designer, and project management experience, I have found that most of my clients just need help in decluttering and organising their very ‘busy’ homes. Yes, I do have a few clients who are perhaps closer to the category of ‘hoarder’, and with these individuals listening skills are equally as important as the ability to help them shed unwanted items and regain control of their living environments at a pace that is comfortable for them.
Other clients have been in the process of selling their home and needed advice on how best to style their house to best attract buyers, whilst others are looking to declutter before moving, or downsizing. Relocating from a family home to a retirement property, or from such a property into a care home can be a daunting task for the individual concerned, as often these decisions are prompted by a bereavement or decline in health. It can be a particularly difficult process trying to whittle down a lifetimes worth of possessions to comfortably fit into a new, smaller home.
My youngest client is in her mid-20’s, and my eldest is in her mid-90’s, and both suffer from the problem of having too much stuff in too small a space. I consider it a privilege to be able to help them regain control of their clutter and gain a new enjoyment from living in their homes. I can honestly say that I love my job!