Making people cry on their doorsteps is usually not something to be proud of but for Kintore mum Gemma Graham it’s the best feeling in the world.
For it’s not tears of sadness that flow, it’s tears of sheer joy and relief as Gemma uses the power of decluttering and organisation to help people change their lives.
Fed up of spending the only spare time she has as a busy mum tidying the house, Gemma came up with life-changing organisational solutions, inspired in part by the world-renowned Japanese organising expert Marie Kondo.
Changing rooms and lives
And after noticing the positive impact being more organised has had on her own life, Gemma, is now on a mission to help others do the same through her new venture The Smart Living Concept.
“I describe it as a home and lifestyle professional organising service – my objective is to bring order to chaos,” said Gemma.
“So when people are struggling with too much clutter and they maybe find their homes quite stressful because of the sheer amount of things that they have in there, I go in and I help them to declutter, organise and give them tips on how to maintain that going forward.
“I’ve had women in tears at the door when I leave and I think it’s joy and relief, it’s the best feeling when someone doesn’t want you to go.”
Gemma is determined to give people the tools they need to live a more productive life.
“It creates order to the things around you and to me it directly affects your brain,” said Gemma.
“I know myself when things get a wee bit out of control in my own house that when I straighten things out, I sleep better.
“I happen to know that it’s the same across all of the clients I’ve had so far.
“There’s definitely improved happiness every time I go back and see them.
“To me it’s a fact that decluttering your surroundings improves your own wellbeing as well.”
Leap of faith
Feeling empowered after giving birth to her son Arlo, 21 months, and with stellar support from her husband Fraser, Gemma took a leap of faith, leaving her job in oil and gas to pursue her dream of setting up her own organising service.
“For me, after I had my wee boy, I just felt like I could achieve anything,” said Gemma.
“I think it’d a bit underplayed when woman have children, what a big deal it is.
“I remember my granny said to me you’ll never lose that feeling so I just thought I’m just going to turn it into something and that’s what I’ve did and I’m so much happier for it and my family are happier because I’m happier.”
Bringing order to chaos
Since setting up the Smart Living Concept in January, Gemma hasn’t looked back.
“The uptake has been fantastic, people seem to be really buying into it,” said Gemma.
From helping people to declutter and organise their living spaces to sorting out paperwork and taking care of life admin, Gemma has it covered.
“My intention isn’t to just go in and tidy up, it’s to organise,” said Gemma.
“As a professional organiser, I’ll go in and spend a good bit of time with someone but then probably never see them again or see them maybe annually.
“It’s about giving people the tools they need to stay on top of their homes.”
Gemma says the feedback she has received makes it all worthwhile.
“It’s predominantly females who get in touch with me, but for 95% of the jobs I’ve did, it has been the husbands who have encouraged me to come back because they’ve obviously seen the changes in their homes, which they might not even noticed there’s a problem because they’re not necessarily the ones who are dealing with it.
“I also think they notice a change in their wives as well.”
Looking to the future, Gemma has plans to release a book and to sell some of the organisational products.
But her passion remains in helping people feel happier.
“I especially love closing the door on a room in the end, that’s the best bit and when people message me afterwards to say how much they’re enjoying cooking in their kitchen or how they’re managing to get on top of their paperwork.
“I love helping people improve their lives, it’s very satisfying.”
So what is Gemma’s top tip for organising?
“Organise by category – organise a space and call that space something,” said Gemma.
“For example, decide that this is where we keep all the shoes so you’ll know where everything is and you also know everything that you own as well.”