Saturday, 8 October 2016

So happy to help

It's a real delight when a client sends feedback like this. And it's a pleasure and a privilege when what is needed and what I can offer coincide so well.

"Thanks for your email and the attachments. You were worth every single penny.

It was a real honour and quite amazing to have you going through my Stuff with me yesterday, and I noticed I got quicker at deciding what to hurl or keep as we went along. Thank you also for cooking lunch and talking to me about the Cooking and Nurturing Food Thing! I had clearly been trying to go about things the wrong way round, both with clutter/storage and my general approach to the diet and life I deserve - which was a great learning curve for me.

After you left, I went straight out and bought salad + stir-fry vegetables and had a bit of a cook-up for lunch today, eating mindfully. Soooo satisfying! It was all very very helpful - physically, mentally and emotionally - and yes, I slept an untroubled long sleep after a gorgeous warm shower. I'm very much calmer (and less agitated, considering high mood-swing) today. Top stuff, Cassie!

One of the added bonuses was that I was so pleased to wake up today, to a lovely bedroom again, with just little jobs here and there that I know I can manage in minutes or half-hours at a time; every day a little something. I did clear the bedside tables last night and was actually keen to get up and go this morning.

Thanks so much for helping me to be a lot less household-crazy ... and you can quote me on any of this!"

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Peak Stuff

You might have picked up on this phrase recently. It's been a busy old Twitter hashtag (#peakstuff) and it originated with a discussion with a senior member of the IKEA team. This article summarises the situation pretty neatly (and saves me writing it again). It was written by the inspirational Jen from Wiltshire, who runs a blog called My Make Do and Mend Life.

As a professional organiser, one of the main services I'm called upon to provide is the assistance with decluttering. (The organising of what is kept is usually a separate issue. Some clients don't have, in fact, enormous amounts to dispose of, believe it or not; it's their arrangement and accessibility of 'needful stuff' that is challenging.)

However, it's also common to find myself supporting clients through the disposal of excess. There are the clothes that either no longer fit or that are simply never worn due to a change in lifestyle. There is paperwork (one of the greatest problems for many of us), most of which is accessible online, and outdated information is usually more dangerous than no information at all. There are overstocks of food (BOGOF deals, anyone?) to the extent that it goes to waste as it goes out of date before it can possibly be eaten. And so on. And, of course, all this excess 'stuff' has to live somewhere, and most people don't have unlimited space or storage.

Jen's key point in her article is this:

"We are still being cajoled by the advertising companies that our lives will be better, and happier, and easier, if we had the latest shiny new thing. But maybe, just maybe, we’re all finally starting to cotton to the fact that this is actually just advertising bullsh*t designed to keep us spending, and that our lives are not any better, happier or easier, even after buying a whole heap of latest shiny new things. Maybe the message is sinking home that current levels of consumption are unsustainable, and our planet does not in fact have finite supplies of everything we need."

Exactly so. Less stuff means:

  • more space
  • more money to spend on experiences rather than things
  • less dust
  • less pressure to conform
  • more clarity
  • less confusion
  • more efficiency

If you're wondering, there are areas in which I'm as much at fault as the next man, or woman. I'm still a bit of a clothes addict - there's nothing like succeeding in losing nearly three stone to seduce one into buying unnecessary items just because it's hard to believe that things look good. However, I have about 35% of the quantity of clothes that I had two years ago (largely because I had a wardrobe spanning three sizes). I hate to think of the amount of money that was wasted on that one. My husband's equivalent is the books: far more volumes than he could ever, conceivably, read in a lifetime.


So what do you do with the #peakstuff when you decide it's time for it to go? To start with, don't panic about landfill. Almost nothing that I, or my clients, dispose of goes there. Recycle, give to charity, Freegle (like ebay but without money), give away, car boot sale, Gumtree, Ebay... so many places. I've created a page of suggestions here that you might find helpful.

And if you need support - physical, motivational, or just ideas and suggestions - contact me, or one of my colleagues from APDO, and we'll be delighted to help.

Sharing the knowledge

I sometimes get asked for articles or interviews by journalists, which I'm very happy to provide. It's not unusual for them to be done a very long way in advance of publication - with the result that I've forgotten all about it by the time that happens!

That was the case this morning. Why was I being sent a copy of 'Take a Break Extra' in the post? Because a double-page spread, featuring both myself and a fellow member of APDO, Juliet Landau-Pope, was in there - that's why!

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Space for change

A few weeks ago, I was honoured and delighted to have been credited, in some small part, with assisting a client of mine to move on to a new phase of her life. Our decluttering work on her house, a couple of years ago, helped her to find the emotional freedom to be open to a new relationship and home. You can read about that here.

I've today read a wonderful tale with even more dramatic results. This isn't a client, but a professional colleague in an adjacent profession to my own. The lovely Sarah Morgan specialises in wardrobe decluttering and helping people to identify the right colours and styles for them. She gave me a magnificent amount of assistance a few months back, when (having achieved a two-stone weight loss, and with a house move imminent) I needed a professional eye cast over my own utterly random wardrobe.

Sarah's story today demonstrates the extraordinary power of mindset and the 'letting go' of that which no longer serves us. You can read her article here. Warning: beware the green-eyed monster... ;)

Not every decluttering session will bring such dramatic results (a move to the Caribbean being a pretty extreme example!). Yet the changes that can be brought about by release from the detritus of the past will all, in their own ways, have a profound impact on our lives.

The smallest changes can make such a positive difference.

Monday, 8 June 2015

More than just a tidy house

I was so touched to receive a wonderful message yesterday. I'd spent several sessions (across some months) with this lovely lady, a couple of years ago, decluttering her house in all corners, and she was delighted with the domestic control that it helped her to regain.

However, it's not just a tidy house, and the attendant sense of calm, that can result from decluttering; the ripples can reach much wider.

"I'm so thankful we did the de-clutter previously! It was part of the preparation, making space for the new. Many thanks for your part in the preparations. Little did you know how much I needed that de-cluttering to make emotional and spiritual space for a relationship."

This isn't the first time  that I've been privileged to have witnessed a client achieving emotional clarity as a result of physical decluttering. I am honoured to have been a part of it.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Paperwork advice: a word to the wise

I'm so delighted to have been invited to contribute to Judy Heminsley's excellent resource for homeworkers, Work From Home Wisdom. Click here to see my article on one of the most common challenges I encounter when helping clients to declutter: paperwork.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

So what's normal?

Do the default settings on your computer work for you?

If you find that every time you start a new document in (say) Microsoft Word that you're driven nuts by the need to change the font, its size, the margin settings or whatever, you need to change what your computer sees as 'normal'. Often the manufacturer's settings won't be to your taste, or practical needs.

If what you get for each new document is Times Roman - or in more recent versions, Calibri - and you don't like that choice - change it. Change your computer's view of the world with a few simple clicks!

Check out this very straightforward set of guidelines - a set for each of several versions of the software - and reduce your time-wastage and frustration.

Oh, and if you would prefer help with learning about this stuff from a real, live person... just give me a shout.