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APDO Juliette Harding professional organiser

Interview with a Professional Organiser: Juliette Harding

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 third in the series, is with Juliette Harding of Tulips De-Cluttering Services in North London. Juliette explains how she found her new career in professional organising, and tells us about some of the challenges and successes she has experienced in her business.

Juliette Harding of Tulips De-Cluttering Services

What habits have helped you to be more organised?

I am very particular about things so can’t leave a messy area when working and finish an area I have started working on. Paperwork has to be in date order with the most recent documents on the top.

You’re a professional organiser – does that mean you live in a perfectly organised, neat-as-a-pin home?

Pretty much, although I often have clear outs and find a cupboard/drawer that hasn’t been sorted for a while and will give it a good sort out!

What prompted you to set up your business?

I have always loved organising and sorting, and have done it for friends and family for years. But when my father died and I had to sort out my parents’ home I really struggled when I was on my own, and found it completely overwhelming. Yet if someone else was in the house with me, it felt easier somehow.  It was then that I realised that if someone who loves doing this was struggling, how do people who don’t cope?   Hence the plan to start a business and help people.

NOW interview Juliette Harding decluttered organised

Who has influenced you the most in your organising business?

My colleagues/friends in APDO and other networking groups have been a great support. It’s hard going from the corporate world and being part of a large company to being on your own, so having people who won’t judge you but will support you even if you ask a stupid question is important.  When you first start a business, you don’t know what you don’t know until it comes up.

What has been the biggest challenge you have faced in your business?

I have had three clients who are bi-polar and for some reason find I don’t work well with them/for them, so I now try to avoid bi-polar clients.  I do struggle a bit with severe hoarders but tend to pass them on as they need more mental health support than I am equipped or trained to give them.

What benefits do your clients experience from becoming more organised?

Some haven’t been able to sleep in their own beds (one client hadn’t slept in his bed for seven years) or invite friends and family over without feeling embarrassed.  Organising also helps people to save money, as they don’t have to keep buying things simply because they can’t find them!  It also becomes easier to put things away, as everything has a home.

NOW interview Juliette Harding decluttered organised bedroom

What’s the most touching thing a client has ever said to you?

“Thank you!”  This was the client mentioned above. We had been working together for several months and finally I got to his bed, cleared it and put clean bedding on it.  I woke the next morning to a text saying, “Thank you so much for everything you are doing to help me, I slept in my bed for the first time in seven years last night and it was amazing!”  I burst out crying!

What’s the best outcome you’ve ever seen?

I think going back to a client months later and seeing that something you put in place for them is still working. That they are no longer struggling to stay on top of an area in their home (this is mostly related to paperwork).

Who’s your dream client? Who do you most like to help?

My dream client would be someone who is nice – sometimes I enjoy my job so much, I almost feel it’s wrong to be paid!!  Someone who uses me fairly regularly; I have a few clients whom I help with paperwork and that is great as I can plan around them and know I have the work coming up.  I love helping older people who are down-sizing and struggling to make decisions, but these clients are short lived as once they have moved they tend not to need me anymore.

What’s your top tip to share?

If someone is struggling with their “stuff” and trying to do a bit on their own, I tell them to take it slowly, one drawer or area at a time.  When I work with clients I am respectful of their things and treat them as I would want to be treated if someone came into my home and went through my “stuff”.

 

If you are considering a career in professional organising like Juliette, 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 fourth interview with an APDO professional organiser! You can find yesterday’s interview here.

APDO National Organising Week 2018

Welcome to Simplicity concept on road billboard

From Harvey Nichols to Diggory Lifestyle

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.

Dee Diggory

I am a declutterer. I help people release the things in their life that are not important, and then help them create more space for the things that really matter.

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.

It wasn’t real.

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.

So, I resolved to make some changes…

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 traveled 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.

As I have said, this is the most rewarding work I have ever done.

One of my very first clients was a young mum suffering with 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.