Read on to put your mind at rest
If you're feeling a bit anxious I hope the detailed Q&As below will help reassure you. If you have any further questions then please don't hesitate to ask me.
Q: How exactly will you organise my home?
A: I work in 3 stages.
1) Decluttering: Together, we will go through the areas of your home you want to tackle. This might be a certain room/ rooms or a certain group of items like books or children’s toys or kitchen equipment. We’ll work through everything together so you can decide which items you no longer need or love and want to ‘let go.’
2) Organisation: Once we have decluttered, I can reorganise the remaining items to ensure they are optimally stored for easy access. At this stage, I will advise on additional storage options if I feel you need them.
3) Maintenance: On completion, I will leave you with a handout of tips to keep your space neat and organised. I will also recontact you a couple of weeks later to check how the new systems are working for you.
Q: Will I have to throw away lots of my stuff?
A: No - you decide what you want to keep and what you want to let go of. My job is to help you to see your possessions through new eyes so you only keep what is truly useful, beautiful and special and find it easier to let go of the rest. Also, I don’t believe in throwing away things which have use or value to someone else. I will discuss with you how best to dispose of anything you no longer want, making sure it is sold, repurposed, donated or recycled wherever practical.
Q: Do I need to be present while you are organising me?
A: I do need you to be present and involved during the first decluttering phase. After all, they're your possessions and I cannot decide what is important or valuable without your input. After we have decluttered we move on to the organising and placing phase. During this time you can be involved as much or as little as you wish but I find it usually works best when you are available so I can check you are happy with the way your things are being grouped and stored.
Q: How long will it take?
A: That’s very tricky to say without seeing your home and finding out more about you and your goals. It will depend on a number of factors:
how much stuff you have to sort through
what storage space you have
how quickly we can sort the necessary, beautiful and special items from the ones you feel you can let go.
Q: How much do you charge?
A: I offer a FREE Initial In-Home Consultation so we can chat about your needs and look around your home to see what you'd like me to help with and come up with a plan of action. If you wish to proceed I work in “Hands On” sessions of 2-6 hours I have found 4 hours to be the optimum session length which allows us to make decent progress with a particular category or room without running out of steam. These sessions cost £120 each. Shorter sessions of 2 or 3 hours can be arranged for anyone with stamina or concentration issues. Likewise longer sessions are possible if you want or need to make faster progress. Please see my pricing page for full details.
Q: Are you a member of any professional bodies?
A: Yes I am a member of The Association of Professional Declutterers & Organisers (APDO) and abide by their code of conduct, see https://www.apdo.co.uk/code-of-ethics/. I am also registered with the Information Commissioner's Office which is a public body concerned with data protection.
Q: Are you insured?
A: Yes I hold public liability and professional indemnity insurance with Westminster Insurance.
Q: Do I need to tidy up before you come? I am so embarrassed by the mess!
A: No, please don’t tidy! I have seen all sorts and I’m here to help you, not judge you. It is also important for me to see what your trouble areas are so I can create systems that will work for you.
Q: Are you going to make even more mess?
A: I can understand why you might think that. For example, we may start by getting everything out of your wardrobe and drawers, resulting in a mountain of garments. But rest assured, by the end of our time together, everything will be sorted and organised… And it will feel amazing! I will never leave functional areas like a kitchen or bathroom unusable overnight.
Q: Can’t I just do it myself?
A: A Professional Organiser is more than an extra pair of hands. We help you to look at your possessions in a more objective way, which in turn helps you speed through decisions that might feel very difficult or even overwhelming on your own. We are usually people with bags of energy so we can power through tasks without flagging or procrastinating. A good professional organiser should also be able to create a proper system, which will stop you slipping back into bad habits.
Q: How confidential are you? Are you going to tell anyone about my messy home? Will the neighbours find out?
A: No. The state of your home and anything you say during our time together will be kept in the strictest confidence. I do not arrive in a marked car and am completely discreet. I work to the code of ethics as set out by The Association of Professional Declutterers & Organisers (APDO) see https://www.apdo.co.uk/code-of-ethics/.
Q: Will you sort out my kids' rooms for them?
A: Yes, I enjoy working with children but please make sure they are ‘on board’ before we start. Depending on their age, we may need them fully involved in the decluttering phase.
Q: Do I need to buy lots of storage furniture and boxes in advance?
A: No. I don’t recommend buying anything until we have completed the initial decluttering phase and know exactly what you will need. In lots of cases, I find people often already have enough suitable storage but if you need additional containers or furniture I can recommend different options to suit all tastes and budgets. I can even shop with you and help assemble furniture at your request.
Q: Do you help clean?
A: Yes, when placing items back I ensure the item and furniture housing it are clean - I will wipe, dust & vacuum etc. I will not get involved in any specialist cleaning of carpets, fabrics, ovens etc. but can recommend companies who can help with these tasks where necessary.
Q: Do you mind animals?
A: I love cats and friendly dogs, but would ask that dogs are kept out of the room(s) we're working in where possible as they tend to be nosey and get in the way!
Q: Do you work with disabled people?
A: Yes, whatever your individual needs I will try and adapt my service to suit your specific situation. If you are in a wheelchair or can't stand up for long periods I will bring all your items over to you for appraisal and decision making. During the organisation and placing phase, I will ensure everything is as accessible as possible, taking into account any mobility issues.
Q: Do you work with hoarders?
A: I’m often asked if I can help hoarders and the answer is that it depends! Hoarding disorder is a serious and complex mental illness that requires psychological intervention to overcome. While I have read widely about hoarding disorder, I am not a therapist, and I believe that for my hands-on decluttering service to work successfully with hoarders, they must first get psychological help to adjust their mindset and manage anxiety levels. I am currently looking into training as a CBT practitioner in order to better support clients with hoarding tendencies. If you are affected by hoarding disorder please visit my "Resources for Hoarders" blog post for more info.
Q: Will you help me sell items I no longer want to keep?
A: I can show you how to set up an eBay account and list an item to sell (or sell on Gumtree or Preloved) but I will not sell items on your behalf. I can also provide you with a list of auction houses and second-hand specialists to contact.
Q: What about all the stuff I want to get rid of?
A: During the decluttering process I will help separate items you're letting go into charity, recycling and rubbish piles. I can then help you take your charity items to a shop, or arrange for any bulky items to be collected by selected charities in your area. Recycling and rubbish will need to be taken to the tip or collected by the council. Unfortunately, it is illegal to take other peoples' things to the tip without being a licensed waste collector so I cannot help with this.
Q: Do you organise offices too?
A: Yes! I have helped with relocation, unpacking and organisation for a small company.
Q: I’m not sure I can justify the costs to my partner/friends/family?
A: If your partner or family have the skills and compassion to help you reach your decluttering goals then great - make a plan and go for it! However in my experience clients often report that partners (and family) are all talk and no action, or, worse still, can be judgemental, controlling and difficult to work with. Employing an expert like me to support you will boost your confidence in your decision-making abilities and together we can speed through tasks that could take you weeks, month or even years on your own. Decluttering and organising your space will lighten your load and turn your unruly roost into a relaxing home. It’s a small price to pay for a whole new way of life!