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The mum helping people declutter their homes - after her marriage broke down and she lost her job

Manchester Evening News logo Manchester Evening News 30/10/2021 James Holt

A mum-of-two is on a mission to help people live in a home free from clutter after she lost her job and battled depression.

Janine McDonald, 51, from Swinton, Salford realised that she was letting standards slip after she was made redundant and started struggling with her mental health back in 2016.

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She had suffered a marriage breakdown, lost her family home and had spent years scrambling to find a flexible job that would work around her duties as a single mum.

It was a turbulent time that made her 'lose all self-worth and confidence'.

Janine McDonald is helping people declutter their homes after a battle with depression © Janine McDonald Janine McDonald is helping people declutter their homes after a battle with depression

Janine realised that stress and trauma was linked to the mountain of clutter that began forming around her and began helping busy friends with their own mess.

But it was attending a business course in 2019 that was the turning point for mum Janine, leading her to set up her home organisation business ‘Clear the Clutter Now’.

Speaking to the Manchester Evening News , Janine said: “So many things happened that caused me to hit breaking point. Pressure from work increased dramatically, I was struggling with my own mental health and had emergency surgery after suffering issues with my gallbladder.

“My spare room soon became like Monica’s closet from Friends - it was the room that I never got round to clearing and just became a dumping ground for all my things. It just built up and built up.

Janine is even encouraging women to clear out their old bras © Janine McDonald Janine is even encouraging women to clear out their old bras

“My self-confidence went totally downhill. I was made redundant and had a marital breakdown which ended up meaning we sold the family home and I was living with virtually nothing.

“I got support through a women’s help scheme based in Eccles and started to gain my confidence back. Every time I went into a room, I would try and put just a few things away, which really started to help.

Janine spent years on employment allowance and struggled to find a job that was flexible enough to support her in her new life as a single mum.

But her new love for clearing out clutter became her job in 2019 and she has been helping people to give preloved items a new home ever since.

She added: “I started going to visit friends ands in conversation they would often tell me they didn’t have time to clean up or sort things out and I would perk up and always want to help.

“Within 10 days of going to a business course I had set up my own company.

“I help people who have got that heavy weight on their shoulders and need a tidier and more organised home, but they don't have the time to do it.

“It is a bit like therapy - I go through the stories behind things and find out what they want to do with it. We never throw things away, but pass things on to a new home.”

Her social media following on the likes of Instagram and Facebook has continued to grow as she travels from home to home across Greater Manchester in a bid to give people a 'clear home, clear head and clear heart.'

More recently, the Salford mum-of-two has become a partner of the Against Breast Cancer UK charity and has become a bra collection point, taking donations of pre-loved bras which are then sent to women in Africa who sell them on at a reduced rate.

The Swinton mum has accepted more than 1,300 bras to be donated © Janine McDonald The Swinton mum has accepted more than 1,300 bras to be donated

It is part of the charity’s bra recycling scheme, taking old bras to also raise funds for vital clinical breast cancer research and trials.

Janine has set up 11 bra donation points across the UK with friends Jennie Sullivan & Becky Gilchrist and has since amassed more than 1,300 bras which are sitting in a heap in her garage waiting to be donated.

She added: “This idea came from my love of giving pre-loved items a new home because so many women hold on to their bras that they no longer wear.

“I want to get every woman to declutter their bras. Women change shape so much but I find they are held on to.

“Knowing they are going on to help other people is just a great feeling.”

Janine’s ‘Clear the Clutter Now’ Facebook page provides more information on her mission to help families rehome preloved items.

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