Whether it's a drawer, a cupboard or even an entire room - we all have a dumping ground for clutter in our homes.

But if you find you can't lay your hands on the things you need, and the piles of paperwork are doubling in size, it could be time to employ a professional declutterer.

Yes, such a thing does exist - and having someone come in to help you sort through all that "stuff", and put some more organised systems in place could prove to be life changing.

Such is the experience of Katie Childerhouse, who set up her Bournemouth-based Let's Get Organised business 18 months ago, in a bid to help people feel calm, less stressed and less overwhelmed by the unnecessary clutter in their homes.

"I always used to be one of those whoo would change their bedrooms, get everything out and sort things around," says Katie of her childhood.

"It always came naturally to me. I've helped lots of friends and family ever since I can remember."

Having worked for the NHS for 15 years, Katie was looking for a change in direction in a bid to better juggle family life. After reading an article in our sister publication, The Daily Echo, about another professional organiser, it dawned on her that this could be her perfect career.

"It's something that I love doing," she shrugs, "so that was it. I looked into it."

Katie contacted the Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers (APDO) for some training sessions and set up her website.

"We have a code of ethics, so we have liability insurance, registration with the Information Commissioner's Office and DBS checks,." she explains. "So for APDO to be able to promote you on their website, you have to fulfill their criteria.

"I tested it out on friends and family, so it's gone from strength to strength."

Katie, who still works part-time for the NHS while she builds the business, offers a general home declutter, as well as help with paperwork, or even a house move.

But she insists it's much more than just deciding what to give to charity.

"More often than not it's stemmed from a life event," she explains, "sometimes it's bereavement of a family member and they inherit their belongings. It's really an emotional time as well.

"I come in and get to know the client, listen to their stories - that helps to funnel down as to whether they need it or whether it sparks joy, so it's about asking relevant and personal questions.

"I've just started doing some work with a small business around paperwork - introducing systems for them to be a bit more efficient. I've worked with small nurseries, art studios - it can be anything and everything."

Katie offers a free, 30-minute telephone consultation before a 45-minute home visit for £25, during which they discuss what help the client needs and what they want to prioritise.

"It's getting them to identify what key things give them the most anxiety," she says. "We try and hone in on the one thing that causes them the most stress, or that impacts them on a day-to-day, as well as what systems or processes they're already working to.

"It's about getting to know them and how they use their space, and we talk about timescales as well. I talk to people about how they envision that space to be - it's that motivation.

"Sometimes people get upset, but we have a giggle and it's really satisfying.

"I want to help people get rid of things that make them feel overwhelmed and direct them more to experiences. We've become such a consumer society - if you have an experience, you have the memories.

"Some clients have said they just feel so trapped. Getting a professional to come and help them through that."

Katie, who works predominantly in the Dorset area is now working on promoting her business through APDO, her own website and social media, but has also received some clients via word of mouth.

"It's great to meet new people, to try and get them to think differently." she says. "They've already made that first step by saying they need help - they've got to the point where they don't know what to do.

"I see myself as a helping hand - I just love it."

PANEL PIECE: Katie's top four decluttering tips: 1. Focus - identify your vision and your goal. What is it you want to achieve? For example, with your wardrobe - work out what clothes you've got. You can start mixing and matching outfits so you can become a bit more organised in that sense.

2. Time - People don't have a lot of time. The only way you're going to do this is if you've got time. Use your phone or a clock and do a 30-minute session. Do as much as you can in those 30 minutes then have a break. Come back to it and start again. It's a chance to reflect on what you've done.

Recognise the achievement you've made. it maybe something really small. Even if it's just the junk drawer.

3. Start small - You can do the four box method - keep, sell, donate and trash.

4. Reduce, reuse and recycle - and don't re-gift as you can make others feel under pressure to take something from you.

"New year is a great time to start," adds Katie, "January is a slumpy month anyway, and you can sell things you no longer need to make some money."

"Go through a core set of questions - Do I really need it? Have I already got one, or more? When was the last time I wore it? Have you used it in the last year? If you lost it, would you buy another one? Does it reflect your life or the home you want to create?"

Let's Get Organised

T: 07717 129871

E: katie@letsgetorganised.co.uk

W: letsgetorganised.co.uk