Green and Tidy: International Professional Organizer

Liberating you from the shackles of chaos and disorganisation

July 18, 2018
by Rachel
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How to declutter books

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What are the toughest things to declutter?

There are lots of contenders (paperwork, sentimental stuff, clothes…)…

…and one of them has got to be…

…books!

Whenever I even MENTION books on my YouTube channel

…I get comments along the lines of “Hands off!”…

…as well as inspiring comments about decluttering books and passing them on to others.

Don’t get me wrong. If you want to keep your books, go right ahead and keep them.

But I’ve broken my attachment to them.

I’m no longer willing to sacrifice space to ones I’ve already read and am unlikely to read again.

Which was all very well until…

Watch the video below to find out more.

Please give this video a Thumbs Up and Share it.

How do you feel about books? Are they precious and sacred and you love building up a collection? Or are they easy-come, easy-go? Has this video inspired you to move any or all of your books on? Comment below the video (log into YouTube or Google first), or below this post to let me know.

Join Green and Tidy to get your FREE decluttering training.

July 11, 2018
by Rachel
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Avoid regret: do what you don’t want to do

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Rachel on Ben Nevis

Climbing Ben Nevis last weekend

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
H Jackson Brown, Jr (often misattributed to Mark Twain)

No one died wishing they spent more time at the office.
Rabbi Harold Kushner (or possibly Senator Paul Tsongas)

Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.
Sydney J Harris

Regret of neglected opportunity is the is the worst hell that a living soul can inhabit.
Rafael Sabatini (who’d obviously never been bitten by a Scottish midge)

The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.
Harriet Beecher Stowe

For all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: “It might have been!”
John Greenleaf Whittier

So never mind the decluttering and organising…

…book that holiday…

…get out in the sunshine…

…text your mate to meet for a coffee.

Yeah…except…not quite.

I was recently reading about how to avoid regret.

Turns out what we’re most likely to regret isn’t not doing what we know we should…

…probably because, when we don’t do something we know we should,…

…we usually try to put things right.

The regrets that stick are regrets about not fulfilling our dreams…

…because, when we don’t prioritise our ambitions…

…we’re only hurting ourselves.

So we leave our personal goals on the back burner…

…often until it’s too late.

OK, so it still sounds like we should hang the decluttering and play all the time, right?

Except that what we feel like doing right this second…

…may NOT be what it takes to fulfil our deepest ambitions for ourselves.

The older I get, the more I’m prioritising the ever-growing list of things I want to do.

Like climbing the tallest mountain in the UK…
(Four days ago as I write this and stairs still make me wince!)

…playing badminton…

…taking singing lessons (and practicing!)…

…swing dancing…

…Body Combat (fitness) classes…

…hiking….

…travelling…

…simply hanging out with friends…

…and so much more.

But here’s the thing…

There’s a REASON I can pack all this into my life…

…AND work enough to pay for it all.

I’m constantly finding ways to make my home (and life) more efficient…

…refining the way my stuff is organised…

…decluttering…

…so I’ve only got what I want and need…

…and I can lay my hand instantly on everything.

Sometimes, the steps on the way to what we want aren’t as immediately attractive as the end goal.

It can seem like we can cut that corner and still have the life we want.

But trust me…

…the time you invest in decluttering and organising?

You’ll get it back with interest.

Giving you MORE time to spend fulfilling your dreams, not less.

What’s on your bucket list? What’s stopping you doing it? What will become possible when you declutter and organise your home? Comment below.

Join Green and Tidy to get your FREE decluttering training.

June 29, 2018
by Rachel
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How big is your “To read” pile?

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I usually get a weekend paper to read.

Sometimes two (Saturday and Sunday).

I don’t get a paper in the week – the weekend ones keep me going.

And then some!

In fact, I can struggle to get through them before the next weekend rolls around.

Not to mention other stuff I want to read.

Including books of course!

I don’t want to recycle them unread though.

So the “to read” pile grows.

(Or Mount Toobie, as BookCrossers call it).

I got to wondering just how long it actually takes me to read a newspaper.

So I decided to find out.

And I was shocked!

Watch the video below to see what I learned.

Please give this video a Thumbs Up and Share it.

How long would it take you to read your whole “to read” pile? How realistic is this? Have you got reading materials that you’ve been meaning to get round to for years? Has this video inspired you to do anything differently? Comment below the video (log into YouTube or Google first), or below this post to let me know.

Join Green and Tidy to get your FREE decluttering training.

March 23, 2018
by Rachel
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Why I don’t believe in miracles (and that’s OK)

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Hoarded kitchen

A client’s kitchen on my first visit

 

The NHS (National Health Service) defines Hoarding disorder as “when someone acquires an excessive number of items and stores them in a chaotic manner”.

It goes on to say “It’s considered to be a significant problem if:

  • the amount of clutter interferes with everyday living – for example, the person is unable to use their kitchen or bathroom and cannot access rooms
  • the clutter is causing significant distress or negatively affecting the person’s quality of life  or their family’s – for example, they become upset if someone tries to clear the clutter and their relationships with others suffer”.

I liberate busy women from the shackles of clutter, disorganisation and chaos.

And my clients include people who hoard.

Here are five things I want to say about hoarding.

1. There’s more than one type

Some people I work with, who have hoarding tendencies, live (just) among unstable heaps of random objects, with little rhyme or reason to how their stuff is stored.

Bags and boxes are stuffed with a mixture of unopened mail, recipes, kids’ schoolwork, leaflets/fliers/ticket stubs, photographs…

Others keep their stuff categorised. Boxed up like with like.

With the boxes filling rooms so they can’t access them.

So I don’t fully agree with the NHS definition above.

Some clients struggle to manage in dirty houses.

It’s difficult to clean when you’ve got clutter – so the dust builds up.

Some survive alongside infestations of clothes moths, mice, spiders, cockroaches, food moths, weevils, even rats.

Dirty kitchen cupboard

Kitchen cupboard, after we’d removed the food

hoarding mousehole

When we cleared this area, we found a mousehole

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Others keep their place meticulously clean.

I’m not entirely sure how they manage it to be honest.

Hoarded room

There’s a dining table under there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some people keep everything.

Food wrapping.

Gone off food.

Even their own excrement.

Others have no trouble letting go of the categories above…

…but that’s about it.

Others still can part with all sorts of things..

…but can’t bring themselves to let go of specific cateogries.

Some people struggle with hoarding all their lives.

Others go through phases when they suddenly can have a clearout…

…only for the clutter to build back up.

Don’t let anyone tell you there’s a simple definition for hoarding!

2. It’s more common than you think

I’ve got friends who hoard. I even had a partner who hoarded for a while.

I didn’t recognise that’s what it was at the time.

I just thought they were messy.

(And that was OK. I don’t care how anyone keeps their home so long as they’re happy).

It wasn’t until I started Green and Tidy that I realised…

…I personally knew at least half a dozen people with hoarding tendencies.

I’m not talking about people who simply felt overwhelmed by their clutter.

That’s MOST people I know!

I’m talking about people who don’t let anyone into their homes.

Who can’t get sit on a chair or even get into bed, without clearing stuff away first.

Who have whole rooms that are so full they can’t use them.

And there are STILL probably more people who hoard among my friends and relatives than I realise.

Because people who hoard feel ashamed and keep it secret.

Have you got a friend who never invites you round?

You cook them dinner but they prefer to take you to a restaurant?

They’re always up for meeting you but they never invite you back?

It’s possible they hoard.

3. It’s not “caused by trauma”

I’m fed up with reading superficial newspaper articles about hoarding that tell you it’s caused by divorce, bereavement, redundancy etc.

I’ve worked with people who’ve hoarded all their lives.

I’ve worked with people who’ve experienced all sorts of trauma, and who don’t hoard.

I’ve worked with people who hoard despite being lucky enough to avoid any major trauma in their lives.

And yes, I’ve worked with people who trace their hoarding behaviour back to a major life event.

So maybe, in some cases, it is TRIGGERED by trauma.

But it’s not that simple.

4. There are miracles (but they’re not the ones you think)

I’ve stopped watching the TV makeover programmes.

Clients, including clients who hoard, tell me they love them.

They help them realise they’re not alone. Not the only one who has this problem.

They give them hope that there might be a way through.

And that’s great.

So I’m not saying I wish the programmes weren’t being made.

But…

…they make me spit feathers when they sensationalise the issue…

…encouraging viewers to judge and shake their heads.

And…

…it frustrates me that they give the impression that a complex psychological condition can be “cured” in a matter of days, or even weeks.

It just doesn’t work that way.

In reality, when I work with someone who hoards, it can take months or even years to work through their stuff.

Sometimes, a six hour session results in four or five rubbish and recycling bags to go.

Sometimes, the same amount of time results in just one or two.

Every time my client lets go of something, it’s a little miracle for us to celebrate.

And, so long as my client is letting go of more than they’re acquiring, it’s progress.

Sometimes that progress might be two steps forward, and one step back.

That’s just the way it is.

And it takes a multi-agency approach to address hoarding disorder.

That’s why I’m delighted Green and Tidy is featured on the resource page of The Clutter Movement….

…a hub of information and support on addressing clutter and hoarding behaviour.

I’m a Psychology graduate and a professional coach, with a love of bringing order to chaos.

I’ve got a good understanding of the psychology behind clutter…

…including some of the natural human thought processes that make it hard to let go of stuff.

Like the Endowment Effect (how we automatically value things just because we own them)…

…and the Sunk Cost Fallacy (how we fool ourselves that we’re avoiding wasting the time, money, emotion etc we’ve invested in something by hanging onto it – even though it’s no longer any good to us).

And I’m not a mental health professional.

Whenever I work with someone with hoarding tendencies, I recommend that they seek psychological support alongside the practical work they’re doing with me.

5. You can manage it (even though it doesn’t go away)

The good news if you’ve got hoarding tendencies is…

…you CAN manage the condition.

It IS possible for you to have a home you’re proud of…

…that you delight in sharing with family and friends…

…where you can find anything you need right away…

…where your treasures are stored appropriately and lovingly so you can enjoy them.

It’s likely to be an ongoing project and you may continue to need support.

But you CAN do it. I know. I’ve helped people achieve it.

Hoarded room

Client’s room before…

Client's room after

…and after

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Join Green and Tidy to get your FREE decluttering training.

Are you struggling with hoarding? Do you know someone who is? Are you, or do you know someone, who’s succeeding in managing the condition? Comment below.

Please share this post to combat misconceptions about hoarding.

March 15, 2018
by Rachel
0 comments

5 storage solutions you can’t live without

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You probably already know my mantra.

It’s the second Fundamental Truth of Decluttering.

Storage is NEVER the solution.

If you’re looking at a massive clutter backlog, thinking…

“I need more storage”…

…think again.

Declutter first!

You might not NEED any more storage.

And, if you do, you’ll have a better idea of what storage will make your home work.

Having said that…:-)

…we all need SOME storage.

And the right storage can transform a room…

…making it easy to find a tidy home for your stuff…

…and access it whenever you want it.

Watch the video below to learn about five storage solutions you simply CAN’T live without.

Have you got any of these? Are you going to invest in them now? Comment below or on YouTube (you’ll need to be logged in to Google or YouTube). Share your nifty storage solutions too.

You can see all the excerpts from our session here.

Watch. Click Thumbs Up. Share the video to your social networks.
And tell me what you think in the comments section on YouTube. (Log into Google or YouTube first).

Thank you!

Join Green and Tidy to get your FREE decluttering training.