Professional organiser: Burnley's answer to queen of clean Marie Kondo helps tidy up Lancashire Women’s hub to promote mental health campaign

A professional organiser working in Burnley and Pendle has helped a charity cut the clutter.
Marie Bateson (far right) with the APDO team at Lancashire Women's hub in Accrington.Marie Bateson (far right) with the APDO team at Lancashire Women's hub in Accrington.
Marie Bateson (far right) with the APDO team at Lancashire Women's hub in Accrington.

Marie Bateson, a board member for the Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers (APDO), was part of a team clearing out Lancashire Women’s Accrington hub on Monday.

The good deed, which included sorting out a craft cupboard and an attic room full of donations, marks APDO’s Spring Clearing Week and illustrates the benefits to your mental health of decluttering your space.

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Marie, Lancashire’s answer to queen of clean Marie Kondo, said: “It was a really good day and the charity was really grateful.”

Here is everything you need to know about the impact of mess on our mental wellbeing:

How does clutter effect our mental health, according to APDO?

Research shows clutter can make us feel drained, even if is hidden in the junk drawer. Remember, the mess might be out of sight, but not out of mind.

An unkempt environment can make us feel stressed, anxious and depressed, and spark unhealthy coping techniques like avoidance strategies, snacking on junk and bingeing TV shows.

Our behaviour, relationships and sleep might also suffer.

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Neuroscience researchers took images of the brain in 2011 to show that being more organised helped people to focus and become more productive.

Research has also found that levels of the stress hormone cortisol were higher in mums with an untidy home.

And Marie added: “If you have a cluttered mind, it might not just be down to your home. You might have lists and post-it notes everywhere or do things that take up too much time. It’s a different type of clutter but it has a knock-on effect on your life: your time, patience, relationships, and how you talk to people.”

Are people more aware of the link between mess and mental health?

Marie works with clients with conditions like ADHD and hoarding disorder, and is studying with the Institute For Challenging Disorganisation.

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She says there is more awareness among social workers and councils about the link between clutter and our mental health, with authorities referring vulnerable people to her service.

"We’re still not at the level of America where everyone has a professional organiser. But a lot of people now realise there are professionals out there who can help them.

"I think people know deep down that clutter is affecting their mental health but don’t always do something about it. People with hoarding disorder have usually experienced trauma and their mess is a security blanket to them.”

Did many people organise their homes during lockdown?

Marie said: “When lockdown hit, most organisers thought it would be terrible for business because everyone would be spending time sorting themselves out and there wouldn’t be much work for us.

"But it’s been the opposite. We haven’t slowed down.

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“There were people who bought a lot because they are online buyers, bored or lonely, and added to their clutter.

"And there were those who didn’t clear anything out and need someone to help them do it. They’re actually getting rid of more items now because I say to them, ‘All those magazines and books you kept, did you pick them up in lockdown? If you didn’t then you never will because that was the ideal opportunity’.

"They’ve realised it’s not good for them to keep this stuff.”

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