30 years’ work
30 hours’ decluttering
30 bags of paper …

 

“Now that it is clear of clutter, I can’t believe how overwhelmed my office was. I’m glad Helen took some photos of it before decluttering. Even though I lived with it for a year or more with things gradually getting worse, it somehow didn’t register how bad it was until I looked at the photos. I think it must be like being an addict in denial. Helen was both kind and uncompromising, and I probably needed both.

“She gave me encouragement when I was getting demoralised, and pushed me when I was getting too interested in what I was making decisions about. With Helen there to organise it skilfully decluttering became an exercise in making decisions. Keep (in several different categories, not too many), rubbish, recycle, charity shop, can’t decide (don’t use too much!), and memorabilia (to be honest about things one wants to keep but don’t have a functional value).

“What I realised at one point was that Helen was ferreting in all corners, pulling things out. And then putting them beside me to make a decision by presenting a level of difficulty she thought I could cope with. Complex piles when I was fresh and confident, easy ones when I was tiring and talking about a tea break.

“Towards the end, Helen’s visual talent came to the fore. She advised on objects and plants that would enhance the room, give it some style and beauty. She even went to buy some of them, so I wouldn’t be distracted from my task!

“I must say now it is all over – it took several days – life feels easier and I really enjoy coming into my office. I had begun to hate it, feeling stifled just being there. Not a good state in which to do challenging or creative work.

“I remember the reluctance to give the decluttering priority. I put it off for a long time, being too busy. But the benefits I’m now experiencing made it highly worthwhile, a new lease of life in my work! And not to mention the amazed reaction of friends and colleagues who see it now – I shudder to think what they might have thought before!”

Mike Fitter
Occupational Psychologist, London

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