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, and their challenges, successes and motivations. Today’s interview, our second in the series, is with Jenny Dudfield of Spark Serenity in Bristol. Jenny explains how she uses the Marie Kondo method to help her clients get organised, increase their happiness and reduce their stress.
I love to organise kitchens! Kitchens are the hub of the home and as such the room that generally gets used the most by the whole family, which means that they tend to accumulate a lot of different categories of things. Add in the multitude of gadgets that we use nowadays, all of which take up so much room in the already limited space, and you can see where storage issues start to appear. It is so hard to envisage where items should go when the cupboards are already full to the brim. There is nothing I love more than decluttering and reorganising kitchens and making them work better for the families who use them, regaining their love of cooking, making the space easier to clean and giving them more quality time to spend doing the stuff that they love (and not fighting with their cupboards!)
No! No matter how much I would love to live in a constantly pristine show home, I also live in the real world! Houses get messy and untidy, we’re only human after all. The difference is that when your home is perfectly organised, all of your items have a place to go and it is so much easier to put things away. It is much easier to keep on top of things and keep your home tidy and the task is much less daunting when there are places to put things. Your home is not a storage unit, it should be a sanctuary, a place for you to relax away from the stress of the outside world. You will feel so much happier and lighter when you love everything you own, and it is all perfectly organised and you want to keep it tidy.
For as long as I can remember I have wanted to start my own business. I really wanted to make a difference in the world and help people in any way that I could. After a lot of brainstorming, researching and discussing with friends, I discovered that there was a career path in decluttering and organising that was made for me, using my natural skills to their full potential. I became certified in the KonMari method of decluttering and professional organising, joined APDO and haven’t looked back since! I am incredibly passionate about making a real difference in my clients’ everyday lives by decluttering and organising their worlds, increasing their happiness and reducing their stress. I knew it worked for me and wanted to help as many people as I could achieve the same happiness.
I think the biggest challenge that I have faced since starting my business is people’s understanding of what it is that I do! I spend a lot of time explaining to people what professional organising and decluttering is, but when people do understand… they absolutely do understand! It is getting more and more popular in the UK now, especially as hoarding has now been classified as a mental health disorder by the WHO, which is great news as awareness of the benefits of what we do is becoming more and more well known.
There are so many benefits which my clients experience when they organise their worlds, far too many to mention! Mostly they feel an overwhelming sense of positivity, like they can now achieve anything. Their mental health improves, and they feel less stressed, anxious and depressed. Once you have decluttered you feel like you have more time to pursue activities that really spark joy for you. My clients have the space, both physically and mentally, to do things that make them happy: take up a new hobby, rediscover their love for a long-forgotten passion or spend some more quality time with the people they love, while reducing the stressors in their lives.
To start with, I use my favourite bag to keep my essentials in. I take bin bags, gloves, Post-It notes, labels, a pen, a snack (or lunch depending on the time of the session), water (it is thirsty work!) and wet wipes. I try to keep my essentials to a minimum, as I find that my clients already have most things that we need and we re-purpose a lot of things to work in their newly organised home.
I think my absolute favourite thing that I have discovered in one of my client’s possession was a collection of old chocolate wrappers from the 1980s. The client didn’t even know they were there! They had been smoothed, flattened and stored along with a whole bunch of “Smash Hits” and “More” magazines (another favourite). She had moved numerous times over the 27 years with all this ‘clutter’ that she never knew she had. We discarded them with gratitude for the lessons they provided and moved on to the next item, knowing that they had served their purpose and were no longer needed in her home.
“You have literally changed my life”.
One of my clients did not want to go home after work as she disliked her house so much. She had completely fallen out of love with it. We completely organised and decluttered absolutely every item in her home and she rediscovered her long-forgotten love for her house. It became the sanctuary she deserved, and she couldn’t wait to go home and relax after a hard day at the office. She created some much-needed head space so she could discover what it was she enjoyed doing, started cooking and looking after herself much better. The process completely changed her life.
Before you even start, believe in yourself! Anyone can declutter, no matter how overwhelming and completely daunting it may seem to begin with. Do things systematically and break things down into categories to make it more manageable and feel more achievable. Follow your favourite method (being a fully certified consultant I, of course, promote the KonMari method!). Create a home for each item based on the place it gets used the most by the whole family so it is easy to find and put away when you’ve finished using it. Make it easy for yourself, as the harder it is to put things away the less likely you are to do so and you will revert to clutter again. Keep things you use regularly at eye level and those items used less regularly in harder to reach places. Keep only items that spark joy for you and you will create the relaxing environment you deserve.
If you are considering a career in professional organising like Jenny, you can find out more about APDO’s training courses 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 third interview with an APDO professional organiser! You can find yesterday’s interview here.