This National Organising Week, APDO is showcasing seven of our members – one each day throughout the week – to give a real insight into the life of a professional organiser, their challenges, successes and motivations. Today is our first interview, and Heather Tingle of Untangled by Tingle in Sheffield explains how her “naturally messy” ways brought her to a new career as a successful and supportive professional organiser.
For me it’s a feeling of being in control, of being able to be proactive, rather than reactive. It looks like a home to relax in rather than a home to be ashamed of or stressed out by.
I love organising clothes. I adore turning “floordrobes” into organised spaces where clients rediscover items they have bought but have forgotten about. It’s wonderful to hear them say goodbye to clothes that don’t fit and just stay in the wardrobe and make them feel bad. The best bit is that a decluttered and organised clothing space impacts on a client in such a positive way. The thrill when they wake up in the morning and can get their hands on clothes perfect for their day, through to saving time getting ready, or the bonus of less time spent sorting laundry: a decluttered wardrobe is a simple process which reaps so many rewards.
I love the “60 Second Rule”: if it takes 60 seconds to do when I see it needs doing, I do it. Whether it’s putting something away, washing a cup or picking something up off the floor these little things make a difference to a tidy, clean home staying that way.
Oh, not a chance! I have two dogs, two cats and a crazy eight year-old, plus I’m a naturally messy person too. I may be a professional organiser, but I’m not naturally organised like many of my colleagues! The way I work is that as I’m naturally messy I know what strategies really work to keep my home organised. As my home is now clutter-free it does get untidy but, unlike before I decluttered, it now takes minutes to get it back to ‘reset point’ each evening (when it’s fabulously clean and tidy with everything back in its place) as opposed to the weeks it would have taken before (and lots of things hidden in unused rooms or thrown into cupboards).
I used to be a hoarder, but then I learned to declutter using the KonMari method and never looked back. I found it had such a massive impact on my life that I couldn’t stop talking about it! That turned into me advising friends, family and clients in my shop, and then I became known as the ‘decluttering lady’. I then discovered APDO and it just seemed like the perfect fit – a way to help others go through similar transformations.
To be honest I’ve never really had to face anything that’s fazed me. The biggest challenge I had was after my first-ever full day kitchen decluttering session. I must’ve done so many squats without realising that the next day I really struggled to walk down stairs!
There are just so many! Regardless of the client, the one phrase that is usually mentioned is that they feel ‘lighter’. Clutter becomes a weight which you don’t realise is on you until that weight is lifted away. Clients find they save time and money by decluttering. Many clients I’ve worked with have found their lives transformed. Clients with mental health issues find that decluttering, although emotional at the time, is cathartic and can help with anxiety and depression in many cases.
I love my IKEA blue bags and drawer dividers for sorting things. There are always Sharpie markers and labels, Post-It notes and a ‘to-do’ list… and a letter opener comes in handy when doing a paperwork session. A bottle of water is essential too – it’s thirsty work decluttering!
For me it was being privileged to be the first person in a client’s home in 30 years, and by the time I finished working with the client they said they were going to invite their friends over as they’d never been able to before. We went from struggling to get in to the home, to having space to move around freely and a client no longer ashamed of how they were living. That filled my heart with absolute joy.
For me it gives me the most job satisfaction when a client hoards but is ready to let go and start their journey of decluttering. I love leaving a client in a home full of hope, and all organised – the same home I walked into, but seen by the client in a whole different light by the time I leave. It’s wonderful to see clients no longer ashamed, and they have hope back that their home and life can be different to how it has always been in the past. They realise that the home they dreamed of can actually happen, they just needed the right support and strategies.
If Heather’s interview has inspired you to pursue a career as a professional organiser,you can find out more about the benefits of joining APDO here..
Or if you’d like some help to get organised at home you can find your nearest organiser here.
Don’t forget to check back tomorrow for our second interview with an APDO professional organiser!