Tina's Inherited Clutter
Much of Tina's clutter related to things she had inherited after the loss of her mother 4 years previously.
Like many people who have siblings and relatives, she had fallen out with her family after her mother's death and had held onto the inherited furniture.
Tina also had her own clutter that she had accumulated over the years. She'd had clutter from before her mothers death and suspected that, being born just after the end of the war and during rationing, she had learnt to keep everything 'just in case'.
Clare: What made you seek help to deal with your clutter?
I wanted to downsize my home, but I hadn't got any chance of doing that given the state of the house. I couldn't have put it on the market because I could never have shown anyone around. I would have had to stand in the hallway or on the landing and tried to convince them there was a lovely large room over there!
At first I thought that putting it in storage would enable me to at least put the house on the market, but when I found out how much it cost to put it in storage, I realised that it would have defeated the aim of moving - to reduce my monthly outgoings. Being a pensioner I need to be careful with what I spend my money on. There was no point in me moving home to have lower bills if I was going to have to spend what I saved on storage costs. I've had enough failed blitz's on my clutter to know that if I put it in storage it would stay there for a very long time and make a storage company very rich!
I must admit I did look at other help before I picked up the phone to you.
In fact I chatted with you on e-mail before I spoke to you in a clarity call. Somehow speaking to you would have been admitting I had a problem that I couldn't cope with, and I needed to know I was comfortable with that first.
So I signed up for the 14 day challenge, then finally picked up the phone and asked for your help.
Clare: What other types of help had you considered?
Ten years ago I moved home to have more space, thinking my problem wasn't the clutter but not enough space.
Then, when I wasn't able to afford to move to a bigger home for a second time, I became a storage solution Queen. I also considered paying for self-storage, and I'd had friends and family to help and that had just led to me not talking to them for a while.
Then a couple of years ago I got someone in who said they could help me declutter.
Actually, I realised that having someone in my home for a day, at great expense, was actually not helping me make decisions - instead it felt like I was being pressured to make decisions I wasn't ready to make and it was extremely stressful. So all it did was put me off dealing with my clutter for even longer because I was worried I would have the same experience.
Clare: So which type of help did you have?
I didn't want to have any help in my home because I knew from having had someone come to my home already that it wouldn't work.
So when I saw that I could do Private 1-2-1 Clutter College Classes with Clare twice a week without coming to my home I thought that would be great, especially as I live in America and Clare's in England!
I like to think I'm intelligent - I have a Masters degree after all - so I liked the fact that Clare gives you a method and process, and all you have to do is follow it step by step with her as your guide.
The comfort of knowing she's there, on the end of skype during my weekly 3 hour Clutter Clearing Class with her is great.
Many a time I've hit the call button, using it as a panic button!
She always manages to calm me down and reduce the stress levels.
And as for making me focus on the positives rather than the negatives going round in my head - well, that's the only reason why I haven't given up again. She makes sure I've got it all in perspective.
Clare: What surprised you most about your Clutter Clearing Journey?
The simplicity of it all.
It's not rocket science, it's making the time and committing to the journey.
I've had my clutter for so long that it doesn't actually matter if I have it for a bit longer because ultimately I know I'm getting closer to the end with every Clutter Clearing Session I do with Clare, and it doesn't dominate my life any more.
I do two 3 hour sessions a week with Clare, and I do 1 thing a day on my to-do list . Some days I do 2 things, some days just 1. Every day I do my not sure check-in and visual check-in to make sure it doesn't come back. Every day I'm breaking my old bad habits.
So I'm surprised that I can actually keep my rooms clear.
I'm on my third room, and the first 2 are still clear which has never happened before. I know where things are in those rooms and I can find them quickly and easily.
I guess the biggest surprise is the amount of money I'm actually saving by getting help with Clare.
It was a struggle to stop the impulse buys - the stores are all so temping with their stuff! - but I've resisted and having more money in my purse feels so good. It reminds me I'm in control when I have more money left at the end of the month, even after Clare's help.
Slowly but surely I'm doing what I haven't done before - clearing my clutter and keeping it clear.
Clare: When did you start to notice the improvements in your clutter and your home?
When I did my first shopping challenge session with Clare in the first week. Having to do the stock take and go through my kitchen cupboards made me realise just how much out-of-date food I had in the cupboards and freezer that could go out of my home. I literally made more space in my kitchen in that first session!
I actually started to look forward to doing my weekly shopping challenge because I knew I would be clearing more clutter and making more space without having to make difficult decisions.
Clare: So what have you learnt on your journey so far?
It's true what they say - you can't make an omelette without cracking a few eggs.
It's frustrating that it takes so much time to clear it, but at the same time at least I'm clearing it this time instead of just moving it like I have before.
I've also learnt that as Clare says - it's not always the size of what you go through but the significance.
I used to try and find homes for everything before, see where I could put it.
I now know it's more important to get things off the conveyor belt and that doesn't have to be throwing it away.
I've given a lot of stuff to community projects - furniture, clothes, kitchen equipment that I don't use - so I feel like I'm giving a gift to someone who needs it without having to spend any of my money! Now when I get charity things through the door, instead of throwing them away because I don't want to give money, I contact them to see what stuff I can give them so they can benefit from using them.
Clare: How are you rewarding yourself?
Guilt free TV!
I'm planning a Clutter Free party with my friends when it's all done because they haven't been invited round to my place in years. I can't wait to see the look on their faces when I show them the before photos. They stopped coming round before it got to it's worst.
Clare: So what advice would you have for anyone considering having help?
Start your journey. You only need to commit to the first step.
If you don't you know you'll just put it off for another few years, just like I did. You'll spend more money on stuff that will never get used, you'll buy more useless storage, and you'll have more blitz's that you'll regret.
So stop procrastinating and get started NOW!