After seeing how much de-cluttering improved her own home, Terry Southard decided to share her skills with her new business, Shed Your Shelf. “I had so much stuff,” she says, “It was monopolizing a lot of my time.” (Photo by Candace Sipos)
NEW MARKET — With a large butterfly pendant hanging from her neck and a “For Sale” sign in her front yard, Terry Southard exuded a sense of hope as she pulled out a pink mug from her three grown children.
“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly,” it reads.
She’s taken that quote to heart, surrounding herself with positive images, which are easier to see without all the clutter.
The Shenandoah County woman, who is recently divorced and selling the home where she’s lived for more than a decade, is starting anew.
Southard, a medical assistant at James Madison University’s Health Center, is starting her own clutter management business, called Shed Your Shelf.
The idea has been brew-ing for years. But she got serious about the change after realizing how much de-cluttering helped in her own home.
“I had so much stuff,” she said from her immaculate, yet cozy home in New Market on Dec. 4. “It was monopolizing a lot of my time. [I wondered,] ‘Why am I so attached to stuff?’ ”
Now she aims to help those who are having trouble de-cluttering their own spaces.
“I don’t judge,” she said. “I just want to help.”
Whether a client is just too busy or has a serious disorder, such as hoarding or depression, Southard is ready to help.
She says many people have a hard time getting rid of items – especially those with sentimental value. While she certainly doesn’t condone throwing out family heirlooms, she wants to help others donate, sell or trash items that serve no practical purpose.
Her own home was full of unnecessary items years ago, and when she separated from her ex-husband, she had a hard time getting organized.
“When you go through a loss, it’s hard to even get in the mode to start taking care of things,” she said. “I felt like I just didn’t … have the energy.”
But when her mother picked an arrangement of flowers from her yard and placed them in a vase on her kitchen island, she realized how much that simple addition improved her surroundings.
So little by little, she cleaned out her home.
“My stuff was owning me instead of me owning my stuff,” she said.
About a year ago, she began the process of officially starting her own business, including securing the business license and getting insured.
She’ll do anything from helping someone clean out their elderly parent’s home to organizing a new college student’s dorm room while the family explores the city. She will pick up painting or staging jobs, as well.
She’ll also give free estimates.
Southard is also looking for a few interested parties to let her clean out a room or area of their home or office for free so she can have testimonial pictures to share on her website.
For more information, visit her website at www.shedyourshelf.com
or call (540) 435-0594.
Contact Candace Sipos at 574-6275 or firstname.lastname@example.org