Who is a typical clutter fairy client?

It’s a question I get asked more than any other and the short answer is that there isn’t one. When I started my business I had a preconceived idea of who my clients would be and what they would be like and I couldn’t have been further from the truth.

The truth of the matter is that clutter is a universal problem – we live in a consumerist society where longevity is for the most part not on people’s agendas. Fashion is ever changing, technology moves on so fast it’s hard to keep up and we deal with a mountain of paper dropping through our letterboxes on a daily basis. Many of us also still cling onto the post war thrifty Britain mindset. And that is where people’s clutter problems start – we buy but we struggle to throw away and the mountains of stuff just keep on growing.

Clutter can be as much a problem for a ten year old boy to a seventy year old lady, for a Muslim housewife to a Jewish businesswoman, for a single Mum struggling on benefits to a successful entrepreneur. My clients are diverse in race, religion, sexuality, age, wealth and personality. But they all have one thing in common- this clutter is getting them down. For some it is a psychological barrier, for others it is time and energy that is lacking. For some it is just one room that is a problem, for others it is an entire house.

The only thing I can say about a typical Clutter Fairy client is that they have all thankfully come to the realisation that life is just too short to be drowning in clutter, have asked for help and are now able to finally live in a home that they want to be in and can feel proud of.

Decluttering – a New Year’s reality check!

It’s that time of year when the world and his wife are talking about decluttering. Newspapers, magazines and blogs are all trying to motivate us to live 2012 clutter free. Now, motivation is key to a successful declutter, of course, but alongside that you need education on how to tackle the job and a big dose of realism.

As a professional declutterer one of the key skills I need is honesty. I am honest with my clients and I will be honest with you.

So here’s the reality – if you have quite a lot of clutter in your home, it probably didn’t build up overnight; it took months, maybe even years, to get to such an unmanageable level so it shouldn’t be surprising that it will probably take more than just an hour or two to sort through and get your space back to the way you want it to be. There, I’ve said it – it’s not a “Ten minutes a Day for a Clutter Free home”, it’s not a trip out to buy a gorgeous storage unit from Ikea, it’s not about a labelling machine or post it notes. If you have a lot of clutter, it’s going to take time to sort it.

And time is not all you need. More than anything you need focus, determination, motivation and a huge amount of energy. Clearing clutter is emotionally and physically draining if there’s a lot of it.

The ideal scenario is of course to get a professional organiser to help you. What they will try to achieve is a balance between your vision and the amount of stuff you are willing to get rid of. If you have said you want a minimalist home with clear surfaces more akin to an edition of Ideal Home and you only have one carrier bag ready for the charity shop then it’s time for some questions to be asked. A professional will keep you focused, motivated and above all entertained throughout what can be a mind-numbingly tedious job at times.

If a professional is not an option for you try to bear in mind the following.

Having well meaning family to help can be, in my experience, a disaster waiting to happen. A daughter, a mother in law, even a husband is not impartial. If someone has been living with the fallout of your clutter they are likely to harbour a small amount of resentment and perhaps may struggle to understand the  psychology behind your attachment to your things.

If you are going to go it alone you need to be realistic about time. For me an averagely cluttered room takes between four and six hours to declutter, reorganise and the final vitally important part – discarding the stuff to charity, an eBay seller or the tip. And that is based on me working with a client at a reasonable pace.

Be prepared with bin bags, transport to take the stuff away and plan to avoid any distractions (kids, phones, facebook, loose women etc)

Remember it will get worse before it gets better. All that stuff in those drawers and cupboards is going to have to come out to get sorted before it can go back in.

Stay focused on your goal. Don’t move from room to room. If something belongs in the kitchen, for example, put it in a box labelled kitchen and move it later with other things that you find along the way.

I could go on and on but after what might appear to be a very negative blog, I want to end on a positive note. All that is standing between you and a home that you want to be in, where you can find what you need and above all can be proud of, is time, energy and focus. And we’ve all got a bit of that stored somewhere!

Good luck and if you have any questions, let me know.