Chronicle photographer Eileen Jackson is used to organising people to pose in front of the camera for that perfect image.
But now she is sharing her time behind the lens with a new career – helping people to declutter and organise their home.
During the pandemic, like many others, the newspaper photographer with 30 years’ experience decided to re-evaluate her professional life.
The 53-year-old, who knows what it’s like being a busy working mum, came to realise the benefits of having a tidy house and the impact it had on her well-being.
It has motivated Mrs Jackson to start her own decluttering and organising business, A Tidy Mind, covering Cheshire and North Staffordshire.
“I became a professional organiser because I really believe there is a link between a tidy home and greater emotional well-being,” said Mrs Jackson, of Alsager.
“Organising is a skill I have used every day as a photographer, and I genuinely enjoy working with and helping people. Having a tidy home doesn’t solve every problem but I find living in an organised home feels calmer and lets you focus on the important things in life.”
The last couple of years has seen a surge in the popularity of decluttering as people see the benefits of an organised home on television shows such as Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, The Home Edit, Sort Your Life Out and, latterly, Big House Clearout hosted by Nick Knowles.
Mrs Jackson said: “The lockdowns have had a big impact as well. As people spent more time at home, they started to realise just how much stuff, much of it unnecessary, they had around the place literally cluttering up their lives. We can’t control what is going on in the world, but we can control what happens in our homes.
“With the pandemic restrictions now lifted people are once again welcoming friends and family back into their homes, another reason why space is so important.”
She added: “Studies actually show that a less cluttered home equals a less cluttered mind.
An organised home that is free from clutter is proven to reduce stress, improve happiness and have a positive impact on eating and exercise habits.”
Helping with recycling is also a significant part of A Tidy Mind service. “Items no longer needed are either taken to local charity shops or recycled,” Mrs Jackson explained.
“No one wants to see things ending up in landfill – reducing consumption is the most important piece of the puzzle, so that we don’t have as much in the first place to recycle.
It’s not about living with less but living with what we need.”
She said that although it was not realistic for anyone to live in a “show house”, it was about “living in a calm functional home that works for you and your family”.
“It sounds simple but it’s about making sure all your belongings have a place. Being able to find things when you need them is important so that you can gain the most use and joy from them. A feeling of calm and order at home is one of those things you can’t put a price on.”
The scale of decluttering and organising varies.
“Some people need a whole house declutter, for others it’s about specific rooms or categories such as kitchen, wardrobe, paperwork, home office, garage, and everything in between,” said Mrs Jackson.
“It could be for a variety of reasons; for the busy family who are simply time-poor, those who feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start or where there has been a change in life circumstances such as a relationship breakdown, new relationship, health issues or bereavement.
“Decluttering and packing in preparation for a house move has also been a popular service so that people only take what they love, need or use to their new home.”
Mrs Jackson is one of more than 400 professional organisers across the country who are verified members of APDO (Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers), and she is also DBS checked.
For more information go to atidymind.co.uk/cheshire or call 07773 991 854.