In advance of our HomeHero event “Detox Your Home for Spring”, we spoke with London’s answer to Marie Kondo – Dilly Carter – about Decluttering Dollies, a organising and home-styling service that promises to turn people’s chaos into calm.
So, What got you into decluttering?
From as young as I can remember I always loved changing rooms around, tidying cupboards, organising clothes, just bringing order to chaos really. I was always helping friends and family do something or the other, whether clearing out their wardrobes or helping them move out. I helped my neighbours organise their homes since I was always being looked after as my mum and dad worked late. Tidying was my way of saying thank you. I wanted to help.
Then my mum became ill and I helped her change her home over a weekend and realised I had a natural skill to do this quickly and effectively and could help others in similar situations.
What were you doing before you got into this?
I worked as a PA when I left school, then in a clothes shop, and then in private homes, in person and remotely. I was then a live-in PA. I have worked so many roles but all were linked to organising.
DID YOU HAVE A MENTOR WHILE GETTING SET UP?
The only mentor I had was Tony Robbins. I have always lived by his wisdom from when I went to his life coaching course. I also am a big believer in only surrounding yourself with positive people who raise you.
What’s been the biggest challenge with working in people’s homes?
It can be a challenge working with people who struggle to let go of things and having to encourage them to live with less. People also worry about losing items because of expense; that is the biggest issue. Ironically these items of monetary value have become a source of stress now they’re in excess, which begs the questions: Are they worth it?!
Nostalgia is a hard challenge to deal with. It’s as Marie Kondo says, if it sparks joy, keep it. But just don’t keep it all. Choose one box and fill just the one, not ten of them. People also keep clothes that they think they’re going to slim into, but the first thing we do when we lose weight is to go out and shop to treat ourselves!
We’d love to hear a memorable story about when you feel you really impacted someone’s life.
I feel that in a lot of the homes I work in I make a huge impact. There have been a few jobs recently where I managed to give people back their living space to sit and enjoy without being surrounded by clutter and made a real life-changing difference there.
I worked in a home recently where I literally helped someone get back their kitchen and living space which was a real moment for them, and me. The fact they could finally sit on their sofa again and enjoy watching TV without being surrounded by things had a big impact on their enjoyment of their home. Everyone needs a place of calm.
I’ve also worked with many clients who have had to deal with bereavement and divorce. Each situation is different to each family. How one person deals with loss is different from another. You have to gauge each client individually. There is no rule book for how to treat each client. It’s basic manners, compassion, and social awareness.
Can you give up 3 tips to get decluttering ourselves
1. Plan the time to focus undisturbed. Set aside at least 4-6 hours to do a wardrobe, kitchen or garage clear. Time is crucial if you are doing a serious declutter. You can certainly do small areas in a #dollydash, but not large.
2. Start with the room that affects your daily life and holds the most challenges. Once that is tackled the rest is easy and will come naturally.
3. Think about where things will go. Plan ahead and book a man with a van to remove items, research charities and send to care homes. If you know where things can go it makes it easier to say goodbye.
HomeHero is a digital home manager, taking care of your chores, bills, maintenance and admin, to free up your time for what matters most.