Another fascinating insight from our Ladies At Work category…meet Cheryl, the self-confessed Neat Freak who has turned her tidiness obsession into a career!
Hello ladies, my name is Cheryl and I am a self-confessed, total utter Neat Freak!!
Let me tell you a little about myself, almost 45 and the mother of three gorgeous boys, it has, what you could call it been a tough ride over the past few years. Born in Welwyn Garden City in Hertfordshire in 1972, I was taught from a very young age that you had to work hard – and work hard I did!! I started working at a local off-licence/sweet shop at the grand old age of 12 and the moment I started working, my parents insisted that I started to contribute to the household and that meant buying my own clothes and paying towards household costs – Gulp!
Crikey, and did they mean it too.
I worked there, along with going to school until I fell into a Secretarial Apprenticeship with British Aerospace in Hatfield, where I went through college with them and gained all my secretarial qualifications only to be made redundant a week after I collected my certificates – Typical! My parents said ‘So Cheryl, what are you going to do now?’ EEEEeekkkkk, well straight away I joined some secretarial agencies in London and started temping, gaining experience and found myself quickly falling into PA roles as organising is my forte. The money in central London was fantastic but I wanted to do more, so alongside this I studied to become a Fitness Instructor and Holistic Therapist which I have enjoyed for many years.
After a few years in London, I moved to the North where I married my first husband and had my three boys. I started working in Manchester as a PA but again, unfortunately, was made redundant when the company began to fail. I immediately registered with another secretarial agency and found myself falling into working at HMP/YOI Styal Prison as an administrator which is where I have been for the past 20+ years, but, I have always wanted more! As the boys have grown older, I was beginning to wonder what life was all about, as my marriage failed, I threw myself into work and started to help friends of mine by cleaning and helping them organise themselves and their busy lives.
I discovered that as well as being a born organiser, I was also a bit manic when it came to organising cupboards and spaces, more and more friends were asking for advice and help with decluttering and modernising their wardrobes, sort out their kitchens and drawers to be like mine, and also get rid of bits and bobs for them (I love selling things on social media!). Also, during this time and struggling with a terribly messy divorce, I moved myself and my children four times between properties packing/unpacking and self-moving every time as money was extremely tight for me as a single parent, so I now consider myself an expert at packing quickly and efficiently and have been asked over and over to help people with their moves.
Just over a year ago, I remarried, brought another house, and unfortunately was moved sideways out of the prison service into a new company (still at the prison) and my life has settled down but I have been striving for more! Not happy working part time any more, I have been working more and more for friends and family and friends of friends, helping them with diary management, organising, tidying and decluttering their homes and more! One day, a new neighbour came round for a cup of tea, when I opened my cupboard she starting laughing uncontrollably and asked me to open the cupboard next to it, which I did. She told me I had a problem and that it was not normal behaviour to have cupboards with everything lined up and in order and it reminded her of a film she had seen with Julia Roberts in it called ‘Sleeping with the enemy’ where the husband had to have everything lined up and in order.
Well, I have to say, my wardrobes and cupboards are the same and I have been putting this technique into practice with the people I help and have found that with a little thought, decluttering and the use of clever storage, baskets and folding techniques, everyone can have order in their lives. It’s not nice to open a cupboard and feel stressed and waste precious time trying to find something when with a little thought and preparation, life can be made much simpler and pleasurable.
So, after talking with friends, The Neat Freak was born! I have to say, this is the most exciting venture that I have ever started and I take great pleasure out of making people feel less stressed and happy with their environments, whether this be house, garage, children’s bedrooms, lock ups or work environments. This is a new venture for me that is gradually building and hopefully in the not too distant future I will be able to give up my day job and focus just on my new venture. I love nothing better than making people happy and helping them fulfil their objectives giving them more time to spend with their family or allowing them to continue their work without the restraints of mess!
My services include:-
Decluttering/Tidying/Reorganising House or Work Area including taking away items to be sold or given to charity
Staging houses for house move
Packing up and Unpacking for House Moves
Lifestyle Help (i.e diary management including hairdressing appointments/beauty appointments, picking up laundry etc)
Help within the home after a major operation or life changing event
The list is endless
Please feel free to take a look at my website www.myneatfreak.co.uk
Many thanks and thanks for reading
Lots of love and ‘tidiness’ Cheryl X