The reason this blog is dedicated to her, is that I’ve come to believe that her passing was the inspiration for me to start my decluttering and organising business in 2011, although I didn’t realise it at the time. What I did know was that my need to help people became stronger than it had ever been before.
Perhaps this increased need to help people was because I hadn’t been able to help stop my Mum from dying. Or perhaps I felt frustrated that I’d not been able to “rescue” her from my Dad’s hoarding habits whilst she was alive. Mum was a painter, but aesthetics have never really been Dad's "thing".
So instead perhaps I thought I’d try and help someone else overcome their clutter problems as a tribute to her when she’d gone.
Or perhaps – as has been suggested to me by a dear friend – I had an urge to help others as an indirect cry for help for myself (to be able to come to terms with my bereavement). I don’t know; perhaps the Cruse Bereavement counselling people (who I’ve just signed up with) will be able to tell me.
What I do know is that when I met an elderly lady who needed someone to help her declutter, it felt like helping my Mum (who was a similar age), and the opportunity was too good to miss.
Asking for help with decluttering can be one of the most difficult things for people to do; people may know they need assistance or support, but won’t ask because of pride or embarrassment, because they’re shy, or because they simply don’t know who to ask.
That the lady asked for help meant she was motivated to get organised, although it had taken her about 10 years to get to that stage! We arranged to have a regular session every Wednesday, which gave her a structure in her week to take time out from her busy schedule - which revolved around numerous hobbies.
I started reading numerous books on things like decluttering, hoarding and chronic disorganisation, and much to my delight, the more we worked together, the more we made her home safer and a more pleasant place to live in. The added bonus was that her health improved – mainly because of the relief that the burden of having to get her life in order by herself was now being shared.
And the rest is history. Thank goodness she asked for help, because she’s made great progress with her decluttering and organising, and has become more of a friend than a client. And I’m now very happy with my new profession.
Since I discovered and became a Member of the Association of Professional Declutterers & Organisers UK (apdo-uk), I passionately want to tell everyone that there are kind, impartial, non-judgemental professionals around who they can talk to about their clutter and organisational problems, and who can provide advice, support, coaching and practical assistance to reduce the clutter and organisational stress in their lives. (www.apdo-uk.co.uk by the way!)
So Mum, if you’re reading this, thanks for watching over me and helping me find my new vocation - you always were an angel, it's good to know that some things never change.