“Hang spring cleaning.”
One of the opening lines of Wind in the Willows. Spoken by Mole, as he gets fed up with tidying up his home, and so leaves it to get involved in adventures with his friends Ratty and Toad.
Some people, for whatever reason find it hard to keep their homes tidy, and it can soon become overrun with stuff, piled high and falling out of cupboards. Some have been featured on TV. The most well known is Edmund Trebus, who was a compulsive hoarder and was always in trouble with the local council’s environmental department for the way he lived. Whilst we may not all suffer to this extent, people do struggle sometimes with their possessions. I know, as I’m one. So that’s where professional organisers like Laura Williams can work their magic, and return a house into a home. Laura runs a business called ‘OrganisedWell’, which she started from scratch in January of this year from her home in Beeston, which shares with her husband and young family.
I met Laura at the Bean, and we started to chat about what she does. I have some interest in the subject, as my home has begun to bulge at the seams with an overload of LPs, DVDs, books, camera equipment and the general ephemera of life. I firstly asked Laura about herself and why she started the business.
“I was born in Bromsgrove and used to work in HR in London. I moved to Beeston about ten years ago, due to my husband’s job. I have always been a tidy and well organised person, so I thought I would use my skills to help other people. We all have that spare room, garage or under the stairs area that is a bit overrun with stuff. So I come along and help clients to bring some structure and calmness to their home. A lot of people can’t afford to move house these days, so I help them make the best of their home and the space available. Sometimes they just need a little encouragement and some practical support. I also find enjoyment and am interested in working with people.”
What you have in your home should be important to you
Sipping her coffee, Laura continued. “People tend to keep things, as they might use them sometime, or they were a present, or family heirloom and feel that they can’t let go of them. Sometimes it might be life changing events or problems at work that puts people off sorting things out. I help them focus on what they want to achieve and help them consider their items. I tend to firstly ask a couple of simple questions like, what’s important about this item? And would you use an external storage company to store such items? It makes people analyse the reason why they are keeping it.”
“My sessions are tailored to the individual, but tend to be four hours in length. Any longer and it can be very tiring for the client. People may just need to speak to someone about their clutter. Talking to a stranger can be more useful than chatting to a family member or friend, as there’s no emotional attachment to the items being discussed. People do notice a big difference when we have finished a project. My clients say it feels like a weight has been lifted, they feel much calmer, and their house feels like a home again.”
I asked Laura about minimalism, as that seems to me to be the next stage on from decluttering. The bareness of a room, with hardly any furniture, ornaments or pictures on the wall. “I’m not really a fan of minimalism as such, what you have in your home should be important to you. It’s personal choice.” Of course I had to ask what Laura’s own house was like. “I strive to be organised at home. My husband isn’t as organised as me. But I keep trying to encourage him!”
Finally I asked Laura what she does in her spare time. “I like running and took part in the 2017 Nottingham half marathon. I’m hoping to do it again this year. I was also involved as part of a team of fifteen in the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge. You are given twelve hours to complete it. I did it, with ten minutes to spare. We raised £20,000 for a quiet room to be created in the Haematology Unit at Nottingham City Hospital.”
“Can I also mention that ‘Spring Clearing Week’ begins on 24th March. This is being championed by APDO (of which I am a member) across the country and aims to help people think about tackling and sorting out their clutter. See my Spring Clearing tips and enter my competition to win free decluttering support via my website!”
Should this article ignite your enthusiasm to sort out your own home, but you don’t know where to start, then Laura has an OrganisedWell Facebook Page and a website: organisedwell.co.uk where you can find out more details about what she can offer and ideas to help you organise your home, so you can spend more time enjoying yourself, rather than looking for some item or other.