A messy home is a happy home. Right? Well maybe, but most of the time the opposite is true. Personally we would much prefer a spacious uncluttered space as opposed to a room full of objects just gathering dust.
It’s so easy to fall into the trap of adding more stuff to your drawers and wardrobe or the attic, office and garage. That’s where Tracy Ross from Blissfully Organised in St Albans comes in.
As a professional organiser, Tracy knows too well what it’s like to live in a cluttered space and how it can easily get out of control. She loves helping people by providing a number of different services that quickly determines what stays – and what goes.
We have often seen last minute moments of panic when going into people’s homes to do a one off clean, especially just before or after a big move or after the builders have been in when the new space deserves a cleaner look. What on earth do you do with all the stuff you have accumulated? How often should you have a good clear out to make sure you stay on top of the clutter? And now as the new school year is about to start, is it a stressful or more relaxed, organised affair? We thought it would be great to ask Tracy for her advice!
What is a professional declutterer or organiser?
My name is Tracy Ross and I am a Professional Organiser. I set up Blissfully Organised nine years ago. I am also a member of a Professional Organisation called APDO (Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers). I support my clients to simplify their home management and make better use of the space that they have, at home or work. I also support clients to prepare for changes in their lives such as a home move (pre-move declutter and post-move settle), prepare for building works at home (pre declutter and post works organisation), to prepare for a new arrival (baby, elderly relative or guests to stay) and following a divorce or bereavement to provide sensitive support for the next stage of my clients’ lives.
The service is confidential and non-judgemental. I take the time to listen to the way my clients live so that I can recommend effective organisational systems and daily habits to maintain control. It’s much more than simply deciding what should stay and what should go. I facilitate my clients to make decisions and changes that will simplify their lives moving forward.
It’s a hugely rewarding job and I get to know my clients very well.
Who do you normally work with, and what are their biggest hurdles?
I work with a wide variety of clients. Each client is unique and requires a bespoke solution to fit their lifestyle. Sometimes I work with a client for a short period to tame a specific area or prepare for a change such as a home move. But often I work with my clients over a longer period, at a pace that is right for them. They often know what needs to be done but are feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. I provide the emotional support, practical help and motivation to help them achieve their goals. I guide them every step of the way to organise each space and change purchasing behaviour to avoid a future build-up of clutter. My clients tell me that they really value my calmness, guidance and non-judgemental support.
What are your top tips for keeping a clutter free home (and clear mind)?
I love this question. For me simplicity offers greater freedom. My top three tips for a clutter free space are:
- Only have what you need
- Have a designated space to store everything
- Have an effective paperwork management system (95% of my clients ask for support with paperwork)
Bonus tip: Be aware of your purchasing behaviour. If you are aware of what you own you will be less likely to buy duplicate items or beautiful items that you don’t need or have space to store.
How often would you recommend having a good clear out (and deep clean) of your home?
Once you have effective organisational systems in place and daily habits to stay organised, your space will be much easier to manage and clean. It’s less likely to become disorganised. I usually recommend that my clients have a good clear out every 6 months. This may just be in specific areas such a toys, clothes, kitchen, garage, loft etc. I find that post summer holidays are a very busy time for people wanting to get organised after a busy summer, planning to return to school and in preparation for the festive period.
There is so much to think about when moving home, what’s the best way of organising yourself and your home?
Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Give yourself plenty of time – I recommend that you start decluttering 6-8 weeks before your move date. This will give you enough time to review all the items in your home and decide what to keep and what to purge. Looking through memories / souvenirs from your past life can often take longer than you think.
- Have a plan – I suggest that you start with the rooms that you use the least but are often full of things that you haven’t reviewed for some time. This is usually one or all of the following – loft, basement and garage. Do not move onto the next room until you have completed the current room that you are decluttering.
- Stay Focused – In the current room that you are decluttering create 5 piles. Those items to be packed to move to your new home, those items that are currently in the wrong room, items to give to charity, items to sell and items for the rubbish. Any items that you are planning to throw away or donate should be removed from your home straight away. I recommend that my clients put the unwanted items in their car and drop off at the tip or charity shop the same day.
If you have builders coming in, what’s the simplest way to make sure everything’s out of the way (and kept clean!)?
As you will be living in a much smaller space during the build it’s a good idea to review the current storage space in your whole house and allocate space to store things temporarily. You may need to create additional space in your loft, garage or bedrooms to store boxes during the build. Be realistic about how many boxes that you will need and make sure you think ahead about things that you might need access to during the build that you don’t need every day (sports equipment, suitcases or camping gear). If you start this process early you will have plenty of time to sell unwanted items on eBay or local Facebook pages. I have found the St Albans Mums and the Items for free and for sale in St Albans and local areas Facebook pages great for selling unwanted white goods. I am a big fan of sustainable living and recycling what we no longer need.
And finally, this is one we always like to ask – what’s your favourite household gadget?
The item that I would miss most if I didn’t have it would definitely be the washing machine. I support many of my clients to introduce laundry management systems into their home as this is one area that can really get out of control.
Tracy Ross is the founder of Blissfully Organised in St Albans, covering Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, North London and beyond. Call Tracy on 07818 423 376 or e-mail: [email protected] if you need help organising your home.