Annette and her Chapters
Annette had a lot of 'life' Clutter, accumulated over various chapters of her life - a career, a family, a divorce and a re-marriage.
A lot of it had sentimental attachments that she wasn't ready to let go of just yet.
Annette also had a lot of paperwork clutter. Things she had printed off from the internet and e-mail, magazines, newspapers, things she 'intended' to do.
For Annette, her journey started with accepting where she was in life and where she wanted to go in the future - and that she couldn't take it all with her.
Clare: What made you seek help to deal with your clutter?
I know this sounds rediculous, but I read a quote in a magazine:
“If you never take risks in life, you'll never see anything new” Blake Lewis
And I thought how awful it would be not to see or do anything new.
I may have seen and done a lot in my life, and got stuff to prove it, but I'm only 62, I've still got a lot longer left - hope!
So I decided to have one last go at dealing with my clutter.
I avoided getting help to deal with my clutter for 5 years because I felt I 'should' be able to deal with it on my own if I just had enough time, just had more storage, just had a magic wand to make it disappear.
I just couldn't stand the thought of someone else seeing all the clutter and chaos I was living with.
I was too ashamed to acknowledge where I'd got myself.
But then I did my annual look on the internet, just to see what was new out there.
I'm surprised I hadn't seen Clare and Clutter Clearing before!
Something struck a cord with me. She's been there too, she wasn't pratronising in her videos, she seemed human, someone I'd like to spend time with, someone who truly cared.
What was even better was that it was the most affordable type of help I'd seen, and I could try it without having to spend a lot of money - something I don't have.
Clare: What other types of help had you considered?
I'd done all the 'normal' things, or so Clare tells me!
I'd bought the books that go with the decluttering TV programmes. They hadn't been read.
I'd put some things in storage and was paying a ridiculous amount of money to store things - most of which I couldn't even remember what they were, but wasn't prepared to just throw them away without checking first.
I'd asked my husband for help and that just caused us to argue so we gave up.
I'd even got a quote for someone to come out to help me, but as Clare said it was just an extra pair of hands and someone telling me what I 'should' do, so that was a waste of money.
That said, if I hadn't tried all those things then I probably wouldn't have understood why and how Clare is so much better than those options.
Clare: So which type of help did you have?
I'm a Private 1-2-1 Clutter College member. So I have two weekly calls with Clare to keep me focused and motivated.
Clare: What surprised you most about your Clutter Clearing Journey?
I've got to say, Clare and the Clutter Community members have been my lifeline over the past few months, and things have changed beyond recognition in just a few short months. Having the weekly Coaching Call with Clare makes a huge difference
I'm amazed with how much clutter I've cleared without Clare stepping one foot inside my home.
Clare: When did you start to notice the improvements in your clutter and your home?
As Clare predicted, it was after the first session that I did - that was the Shopping Challenge.
It felt different. I could see things food out of my home, things I would never have imagined I would be OK with letting go of. In the second LIVE session I found my not sure things were more sure.
Plus, as Clare predicted, my husband started to comment after my first month of Clutter College.
By then I'd done 4 shopping challenge weeks and a lot of the excess food had gone. He realised I was clearing the clutter instead of just moving the clutter around. I hadn't just moved it from one room to another like I used to!
He started to offer to help take things to the charity shop or the local nursery.
So I noticed the improvement quickly, my husband a little slower because he didn't know what or how I was doing it.
He still doesn't know I'm a Clutter College member as I have my weekly call when I'm home alone!
Clare: So what have you learnt on your journey so far?
I can do it, and as Clare says, I'm doing a marathon not a sprint.
I didn't believe I could do it when I started, but now I not only believe I'll clear it, I KNOW I'll clear it.
I can finally see an end in sight, and I can't wait to get there.
And I know I will by doing what I've already been doing.
I'm overjoyed with my new clutter free home. It's like moving home without having to pack! I'm already seeing and feeling the benefits - I'm less stressed, the house feels bigger because there's more light coming in, I've found beautiful clothes and things in the clutter that I forgot I had, I've been able to help other people by giving away things I don't need.
Clare: How are you rewarding yourself?
My favourite reward is guilt free TV. I love my TV programmes.
My husband rewards me too without knowing it by taking us out for dinner when I've done some Clutter Clearing.
Clare: So what advice would you have for anyone considering having help?
If you're not sure if you can do this because there's so much to do or because you've never succeeded before, then just start.
Like Clare says, you're on a marathon not a sprint and you can never see the finish line on a marathon, you just have to trust that it's there somewhere if you keep moving forward.
And becoming a Clutter College member was, for me, my way of constantly moving forward.
I'm going to get there, believe me!