Dee Hope runs Diggory Lifestyle covering Warwickshire, Cotswolds, Worcestershire and Oxfordshire. Her aim is to help clients to ‘dee-clutter’ for a simpler life. In this guest blog she shares her story; how she found her true calling by going on her own journey – and how this gave her true insight into to how to help her clients.
My chosen career path emerged from the experiences I have had in life, and looking back, it is quite clear to me, that helping others is the most rewarding and fulfilling way to spend my days.
I was lucky to learn very early on in life that “things” will not make you happy, it was a very expensive lesson to learn, but I do consider it my most valued learning. I was 23 living in London as a professional nanny, I wasn’t very happy, I was new to the city and I felt quite isolated. I had just sold my flat and had several thousand pounds sitting in my bank account; so, what did I do? I went shopping. I walked up and down High Street, Kensington on my days off for months buying whatever grabbed my attention, skirts, tops, dresses, shoes, boots, sometimes two of the same item, until eventually, the money was all gone….
I remember standing in my room just looking at the stuff I’d bought, piles of it, most of which was still in bags and boxes, with tickets on, I’d never even opened them. I had felt the rush of the purchase, it had made me feel good, happy, but it was only fleeting.
There was nowhere to hide, the money was gone, all I was left with was an empty feeling; and as I stood there silently looking at all the bags, I allowed myself to admit the truth, I was still unhappy and all these “things” had not helped.
I gave notice to my employer and I sold all the ‘stuff’ that I had bought to friends at a fraction of the cost I paid for them. It was surprisingly easy to ‘let them go’, which was strange because at the time I bought them, I felt ‘I had to have them’. With the money I made, I just had enough to buy a ticket to Australia. I travelled for a year as a backpacker, I did all kinds of jobs, from crewing on a yacht to picking capsicums on a farm to working on a horse ranch. I had no money, certainly no things, but…I was happy. I met some weird and wonderful people and had some amazing experiences.
As I reflect back now and think about when I have been happiest, it is, in fact, a series of moments, involving people, my beloved dogs and sharing experiences, “never things”.
These days I try to help people recover some of the freedom that I felt after making such bold changes. Less radical perhaps, but by reducing and organising possessions it is very possible to create space for life rather than “things”.
I have had many jobs, from nanny (expert with small children) to Executive Assistant (expert with big children) and use my skills and experiences to help my clients big and small put the important things back into their lives. Not only organising and prioritising their world, but also sharing techniques and tools, systems and insights, motivation and methods to maintain the process long after I’ve gone.
One of my very first clients was a young mum suffering from post-natal depression. She asked for my help, her self-esteem was so low, she didn’t trust herself to know when to turn the dishwasher on. She told me I was her last chance if I failed, she believed she may not have a future with her husband and baby. I am delighted to say I did not fail, she sent me a lovely card in which she wrote:
“Dee, thanks so much for the support, help and problem solving. Just having a listening ear was enough to help me move forward, let alone the decluttering and pro-activeness that followed! My confidence has soared and I’m finally being the organised mum I’ve always wanted to be!”
As if I ever needed reminding, this letter always tells me where happiness lies…and it is not in Harvey Nichols or Peter Jones.
Diggory Lifestyle has many services. Each tailored to match different moments in your life and adapted to your unique circumstances and budget.
Perhaps this guest blog has inspired you to consider professional organising as a career change! If so, find out more about training and joining APDO. If you feel you could benefit from the services APDO members like Dee have to offer, find a local organiser here.