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It might be a difficult change like a divorce or bereavement, or it might be a happy change like having a baby or going back to work after maternity leave, but the clutter is usually a manifestation of people feeling tired and unable to cope.” Resolving the problem often means accepting a change in one’s identity, Juliet explains.“If a mum is going to give up her maternity clothes, that means coming to terms with the fact she’s not going to have more children.” What a professional declutterer can offer is impartial support, something friends and family aren’t always able to provide. What looks like a tatty old chair to the casual observer may represent a decade of memories to its owner and the thought of chucking it out can be, well, unthinkable. Whether it’s a wardrobe filled with clothes that last fitted you in 1994 or a wall of books your kids haven’t looked at since university, clutter involves the heart as much as the head.
The piano, meanwhile, has been rehoused with a new family.2 Don’t begin with photographs and personal items, which can stall you for weeks.Try a more neutral space such as a hallway, where you can make a visible difference and be motivated by your achievements.When dealing with a bereavement or divorce, there are usually plenty of people who want to help but don’t know how. “No one else has the right to judge how cluttered your home is,” says Juliet.“What’s important is how comfortable you feel and how functional your space is for you.