Voice: Today we are chatting to Annie Lee, who started her own business back in 2011. Annie, now 27, worked for three years as a PA to a top business-man after leaving university, but took the plunge to go out on her own two years ago when she had the idea of starting a decluttering business. We all have clutter in our lives, stuff that lies around home or work making them look untidy. Annie's company helps people get rid of clutter and tidy up their living or work spaces.
Annie, what exactly is clutter?
Annie: Ahh, Clutter. Clutter is stuff we have in our flats or in our rooms that just takes up space on shelves, on the floor or on work surfaces when it should be somewhere else out of sight. A lot of clutter in bedrooms or offices or kitchens is stuff that isn't needed anyway, or isn’t used often, and shouldn't be there in the first place.
Voice: And do people really need a professional to advise them how to get rid of clutter?
Annie: They do indeed. When I started 'Space 2', it was just me in the business. Within a few weeks, I had many clients I had to take on two assistants. Now I employ a team of eight, besides myself.
Voice: What is your company's philosophy?
Annie: My company helps people who want things to be tidy. I tell clients 'I'm not here to make your living or work space perfect. I'm here to make it practical and tidy - an environment that you can enjoy'. People don't know how to declutter and they put off decluttering their space. I show them how to get rid of clutter, and advise them to do to get into the habit tidying for twenty minutes every day for two weeks. And recycle or giveaway things that they never use.
Voice: What is your own apartment like?
Annie: I have built-in storage in every room. Clients tell me that they don't have enough storage when they need to declutter and then they buy boxes and more boxes to put stuff in. A waste of time - because boxes themselves are clutter. Built-in storage is always the answer.
Voice: Tell me about the team who work for you.
Annie: We all follow the same basic principals when we visit a client. I am very good at organising other people, and I am very well-organised myself. I hate wasting time. I rely a lot on my fantastic deputy manager. She's very calm, whereas sometimes I can get too excited and enthusiastic. My management style is very positive and appreciative. I say “thank you” a lot, and concentrate on the positives, not the negatives. I know that thanking people makes them work harder.
Voice: Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Annie: When I worked as a PA, I travelled a lot, so I taught myself how to pack. The trick is to lay all your clothes out on the bed first and not just stuff things into your suitcase. Once you have declutter your living or work space, you will want to decluttered the rest of your life. Clutter is bad. It slows us down and is unpleasant to look at. Start decluttering now!