A professional declutterer from Leighton Buzzard once found an uncashed cheque for over £40,000 from a betting shop when she was helping one of her clients.
Lisa Pantling, 35, loves her job as a professional declutterer and helping people clear out their homes.
She was working in London, helping an elderly man who lived in a care home, sort through his belongings when she found the cheque, that was twenty years old.
She said: “He told me he didn’t want the money, he wanted someone else to have it and he asked me to put it in the safe for him.
“It turned out that when he passed away his nephew inherited the cheque and he was able to cash it in at the bookies. This happened about five years ago and is one of the strangest things I have found wile helping people.”
The mum-of-two worked in London as a team manager in Adult Social Care before she set up Clutter Free Living a year ago.
When working in London she found that her team was working a lot with people with a hoarding disorder.
She said: “I set up a hoarding peer support group with the mental health charity MIND and worked with colleagues to create a practice guidance and policy for professionals working with people who hoard and/ self neglect.”
Since setting up her business she has helped ten clients and they have called her for a variety of reasons.
She told the LBO: “Some of them are just regular families that need a bit of a kick start into having a sort out, others are people with hoarded homes that require a lot of support, both emotionally and practically.
“The most common thing people seem to struggle with is paperwork, and therefore let it build up. Luckily I love sorting paperwork, and can help with shredding and setting up filing systems to make sure that it doesn’t just build up again after I have gone.
“On the other side of the job, the hoarding of items, it can be quite emotional for my clients when they are going through their stuff, a lot of the time it brings back a lot of memories and they are always happy to share their stories with me.
“I absolutely love my work and really enjoy the flexibility and independence of working for myself.”
“However, I am a member of the APDO (Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers) which means I also feel like I have ‘colleagues’ and we offer support and advice to each other, either virtually or regular meet ups around the country.”
The time Lisa spends with her clients varies on how much help they need.
She said: “Some clients just need a couple of visits, I show them how to make good decisions and then they go ahead themselves, other clients need more sessions, it depends on how much they hoard.
“It will never be more than two to four days a week because it can be mentally tiring for them.”