I have used Stella Harpley to reclassify my considerable art library and to downsize my collection of ephemera. She listened well to understand my needs, worked quickly and tidied everything. I had avoided doing anything for some time and she helped me tackle a put-off problem.

Dinah, London WC2

What is decluttering?

Decluttering is about making your home, office, and eventually your life, more efficient. Removing less used & redundant items and rationalising those remaining into the most compact, orderly and aesthetically pleasing storage. For example:

  • Reviewing wardrobe contents, suggesting purchases of seasonal fashion and for provision of omissions, then selling, swapping or giving to charity those items that are no longer needed.
  • Sorting home related paperwork into a labelled filing system, keeping only what is necessary for future reference and shredding confidential papers.
  • Collating receipts for accountant prior to the end of financial year.
  • Assistance with moving house (before and after).
  • Rationalising loft/cellar contents before and after building work.
  • Maximising small spaces by advising on storage.
  • House clearance following a bereavement.
  • Editing contents of kitchen/bathroom cupboards.
  • Regular tidying maintenance service (monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly).
  • Commissioning custom-built storage.

What experience and qualities does SOS have to help me?

My previous paid career as a librarian - setting up and decluttering large libraries in government departments, private companies and national museums has given me over twenty years experience of creating a streamlined service that made the working lives of my clients and library users much easier and helped them locate what they needed faster and without assistance. My libraries have been as large as 20,000 items that I catalogued on computer within 18 months. I have worked with books and also samples for client interior design presentations too.

Since 2007 I have worked in an Oxfam bookshop as a volunteer and I understand the types of books, CDs and DVDs that charities can sell on and what condition these need to be in for them to be donated and sold to maximise income for them. This will help me to guide you in what you can give them from items you are decluttering and what you might want to sell yourself (or have me sell on your behalf). I have recently started working at an Oxfam Boutique and can advise on clothes, accessories and homewares that may be suitable for donation too.

Do I have to be there?

Decluttering work varies enormously. Some clients are very pro-active during the process, others are happy to leave Sort Our Stuff to carry out the work in their absence. Nothing will be disposed of without a client's agreement. Occasionally a job may take many days to complete and it might be necessary to ask a client to complete 'homework' such as clearing a drawer or an in-tray themselves where the contents are confidential or private. SOS is available 7 days a week to suit your work/life commitments.

Isn't decluttering just "throwing things away"?

Absolutely not. It is about giving the client more space - mentally and physically - to live and work in their home or office. Efficient storage is quite often the result of an SOS project rather than wholesale disposal. Greener possibilities also include passing on unwanted goods via Freecycle or re-use.

How discreet is the service?

Stella is registered with the Information Commissioner's Office Data Protection scheme. SOS complies with the Data Protection Act 1998. You can read more about it here: https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-data-protection/data-prote...

APDO UK also has a code of ethics to which members must comply, SOS is a member. You can read more about the code here: http://www.apdo-uk.co.uk/about.php/code-of-ethics

What insurance does SOS have?

SOS and SOS Home staging have Public liability insurance to a maximum of £1M.