Friday 19 February 2010

It's not about perfect

I picked up a novel today that I've had around for a while. It's a while since I read a novel by Kate Atkinson, but I remember enjoying previous encounters with her work, and When Will There Be Good News seems to be following that trend.

A short way into the book, I found a paragraph that sums up beautifully what I try to help my clients to achieve. The young girl, Reggie, acts as a 'mother's help' in the household of Mr & Dr Hunter, and in her observation of their domestic situation, Reggie comments that "they weren't housework Nazis or anything, but they knew the difference between comfort and chaos..."

That's exactly my aim. I'm frequently asked "will you make me throw everything away?", and that is so not the point. The purpose of my work is to help you move from chaos to comfort: from feeling negative emotions when you walk into your place of work or your home (anything from a mild dissatisfaction to downright panic) to a point where you can truly enjoy your surroundings - which, incidentally, includes being relaxed about imperfection.

The aim is not to start panicking about whether the CDs are in alphabetical order, or whether you'd measure up to the standards demanded by Anthea Turner's white gloves (and I'll tell you right now: I would, personally, fail in spectacular fashion on either of those). However, what we will do is to look at disposing of items that are not helping you - either practically or emotionally - leaving room for the things that you need or love to be found more easily - and then to help you find the best ways of storing the things that you choose to keep.

Yes, there have been clients who have, as a result of work we've done together, taken loads of things to the dump, the charity shop or the auction room; but there have been just as many who have thrown away very little, achieving just as much by re-thinking the storage options. It's all about making your life easier - not enforcing a minimalist regime.

And it's definitely not about becoming a housework Nazi.