How to jettison your junk

"Do you make your bed in the morning?" asks Emma Fletcher. As a professional declutterer, Fletcher is trying to work out how long it will take to sort, chuck out and tidy my flat from top to toe. "I pull the duvet over my bed," I reply carefully, wondering where this will place me on the scale of slovenliness. "I see," she says cheerfully.

Before Fletcher arrives for an assessment, I start to feel nervous. What if she is horrified by the inside of my drawers? What if she makes me throw out my magazine mountain and absurd number of hair products? I needn't have worried. Fletcher is one of those likeable, upbeat people whom I feel able to trust with the future of my bathroom cupboard – at the very least. After a cup of tea, she whizzes around making notes on storage solutions. "You're a basket girl, aren't you?" she says with a smile.

A week later, Fletcher returns, having been to Ikea (a huge service in itself), armed with said baskets and special bags for shoving linen and shoes under the bed. And best of all, a large bunch of lilies. She commences by emptying the contents of my cupboards on to the floor, and hovering over me with a black bag. The sight of this giant pile of clothes makes me feel slightly queer. But, I find it surprisingly easy to be ruthless.

Together we set a cracking pace, filling six black bags by lunchtime. Fletcher is brimming with tips on how to store and make the most of small spaces (hang necklaces on mirrors, keep bedside clutter in a basket, put potions and lotions in plastic boxes …). We are both exhausted but jubilant by 5pm. My flat is unrecognisable. With a cheery wave, Fletcher drives off, her car full of rubbish, recycling – and hair products.
The details
The Decluttering Company, 07974 656428;
Free consultation, then £30 per hour