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.
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.
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.