Meet Mother Clutter – a Hove woman on a mission to help get your house in order
How many of us have a drawer, cupboard or even room that we daren’t look in. The place that we put the things we simply must keep but don’t get seen or used for years.
This is where Hove’s Mother Clutter comes in.
Originally from Newcastle Liza Curtis’s first decluttering job was her father’s house.
When her parents divorced in 1984 her dad refused to allow Liza, her mum and brothers back in the house.
“It took 28 years,” she said. “My dad got cancer and he reluctantly gave me the keys to pick up some things but I was completely shocked when I went in the front door.
“Nothing had been touched for 28 years, stuff like ornaments were the same as when I left in 1984, there was a layer of thick dust on everything but he had added to it as well.
“I went to my room thinking I would be greeted by my old childhood bedroom but instead it was filled with things my dad had collected when my grandma had died.
“There was just so much stuff. He had kept every card he had received since he was 21, put them in a drawer and when that drawer was filled he would move onto the next, he was 65 when he died.”
Liza found the process very therapeutic. This led to helping friends and family and the business started to form.
“A friend of a friend needed to clear her London house as she was moving to France and renting the London home out, most of the rooms were perfect but there was two just filled with items.
“You have to go through everything with them and they know exactly what it is and where it is from.”
Liza is also a volunteer with the Neighbourhood Care Scheme in Brighton.
“I visit an elderly lady and just talk to her,” she explained.
“She is a widow and we got talking and she mentioned about all this stuff she has, including her husband’s 1,000 DVDs so we sorted through them.
“Every time I see her I take something else out with me and slowly we have opened up more space in her home”
One of the concerns people have is that their items will go to landfill but Liza is keen to find new homes be that a charity shop or selling the items at a jumble sale.
The key is to take your time, as Liza says going through things is exhausting and emotionally draining.
She added: “Don’t be intimidated by a room. Don’t look at the big picture if all you do is clear out one carrier bag or take one load of things to the charity shop it is a start.
“And ask for help if you need it as people will be willing to help you. That was an issue with my dad he was ashamed and felt he couldn’t but I would have helped him. I would have taken a week off and gone through everything before it got as bad as it did.”
But Liza does reveal that she still has a tendency to keep things longer than she should. After her dad and brother passed away she had boxes of things she wanted to keep and it was her daughter who said ‘do you need that?’.
“I am not judgemental at all I sympathise with people as I know what it is like,” she said.
“I don’t force people to throw anything away either, usually when we get talking they come to realise themselves that they need to get rid of something.”
The first step is getting in touch with Liza and from here she says it can be an ongoing process.
“Or I had a client recently who the next day text me to say that he was getting on with it and I had given him this new enthusiasm for it and he was happy to do it alone,” she said.
For more information on Liza visit www.facebook.com/MotherclutterUK