Watch: Decluttering expert, hailed as the UK’s Marie Kondo, sees business boom since the pandemic.
A decluttering expert, who has been hailed as the UK's version of Marie Kondo, makes £30 an hour clearing people's homes just like in Netflix hit show Tidying Up.
Rachel Burditt, 40, from Lutterworth, Leicestershire, turned her habit for tidying into a business and now spends her days helping messy clients get their wardrobes, kitchens and lives in order.
The mum-of-two has seen some pretty gruesome sights, encountering everything from mountains of chicken poo to month-old takeaway leftovers hidden under sofas, and even a live mouse climbing in her jacket.
Despite some unpleasant discoveries, Burditt, who lives with banker husband James, 45, has worked her magic on some of the UK’s most cluttered properties and finds her job “very rewarding”.
Read more: Five ways to declutter and feel happier
She loves to see the transformation of a dull and cluttered home to an organised and beautiful one - and said business is booming since the pandemic hit.
“I do love my job, but I’ve seen some sights that make my stomach churn," she says.
"I think some people forget I’m a professional organiser, not a cleaner.
“But I’ll never turn down a challenge. Once I’ve walked into a room I won’t leave until it looks perfect. At this point there is nothing I haven’t seen!”
Burditt first began her professional organisation business, The Declutter Darling, six years ago after being inspired by the likes of Marie Kondo.
Having reached out to potential clients on Facebook groups, she found requests for her £30-per-hour services flooding in.
Burditt, who is mum to Macy, eight, and Indiana, five, now works part-time alongside looking after her daughters.
Watch: Easy strategies to streamline your space according to a decluttering expert.
One of the professional declutterer's first jobs was with a young couple – who didn’t warn her they had cats and chickens roaming around the house.
“It got even worse when I started finding lumps of chicken poo around the house hidden under piles of clutter - then a pile of days-old cat sick," she recalls.
“I remembered making a mental note to bring thicker gloves and more hand sanitiser for next time."
In another home, Burditt spotted piles of days-old used pans in the sink and had a hunch she might discover some other unsavoury findings in other parts of the house.
Her suspicions turned out to be spot-on when she started looking under the sofas in the living room - and pulled out piles of chicken bones leftover from a KFC takeaway.
“Clearly someone had finished their chicken and just dumped the bones on the floor," she says.
“I remember picking it up, and immediately dropping it in total shock and horror.
“Of course, I got on with it and finished the job, but people like that need to make a lifestyle change to see a real impact - you can’t declutter away dirty habits.
“I had a long shower after that day!”
Read more: 9 simple ways to declutter your life
On another occasion while Burditt was decluttering an old barn, a mouse climbed up the inside of her clothes.
She recalled feeling ‘a shiver’ on her back, but it had climbed all the way up and was sat on her shoulder before she managed to shoo it away.
“That was definitely a shock,” she said. “Luckily the owner of the barn offered me a glass of wine after."
Burditt believes some of her biggest decluttering challenges have come when the client has hoarding tendencies and struggles to say goodbye to anything.
But these jobs have also been some of her most rewarding experiences.
Although she doesn’t deal with the most clinically severe hoarders – who often require psychological help – Burditt says she can help guide people.
"Sometimes, it's a case of reading and understanding the person and their experiences, and then supporting them through the process," she explains.
Recently, an elderly lady who'd lost her husband and was struggling to clear out their bedroom called her in to help.
"On that occasion, I was as much a friend to her as an organiser," Burditt says. "We sat and chatted, had lunch and talked over her memories of her husband before starting.
“It was understandably very difficult for her - so we got through it together.
“That can be one of the best parts of my job because I like helping people."
Burditt has no regrets over quitting her job in fashion retail to go into professional organisation.
"I've always loved tidying and organising and I wanted to do something I'm passionate about," she explains.
“As tough as some jobs can be, it’s worth it for the impact it can have on some people’s lives.
“If my work can make a few people happier and able to enjoy their space more, I’m doing it right!”
Additional reporting SWNS.