Rhea Becker has worn many hats. She's been a published journalist in publications including People magazine and the Boston Globe. She was the president of the Jamaica Plain Historical Society. And she's also the Clutter Queen -- as in she will help you get rid of your clutter.
Becker answered some questions from Jamaica Plain News about how she became the Clutter Queen, what inspired her to help others, Swedish Death Cleaning and more.
Q: So you're the Clutter Queen -- how did you become the Clutter Queen and what is your queendom?
Becker: I have been decluttering for people for 15 years. My queendom is all the people who need help and who are at a point where they are ready to reach out for that help!
Q: What made you want to help others declutter?
Becker: One day I read a book on feng shui. I was intrigued. So I read other books on the topic, and then a related book on clutter. I decided to start on my own home. Although it was never cluttered, I handled everything I owned and made decisions about whether to keep things or not. I remember that on each garbage collection day, I lined the street where I lived in Jamaica Plain with stuff I was parting with. It was really exhilarating!
Q: How do you help someone declutter?
Becker: First, I find out what a person's goal is. Are they moving? Are they hoping to invite their partner to live with them, but can't because of all the clutter? Are they a hoarder and want to change? Then I find out their priority. Closets? The bedrooms? Then I pick a spot and move through the room systematically until we've handled and made a decision about everything -- keep, toss or donate.
Q: What is the first step to decluttering?
Becker: The first step for a potential client is making the call. When I hear from someone, they are halfway to their declutter goal. Many folks are nervous about making the call, because they feel embarrassed or ashamed -- they've let things get out of hand. But when we start to work together, those feelings quickly dissipate.
Q: Are there things that people most commonly collect leading to clutter?
Becker: Lots of people have too much paper. They may be at the library and pick up the flyers about upcoming events. Or the bills arrive in the mail and they have no filing system, so they pile up. Or they receive cards and don't want to part with them because of the emotions they evoke.
Q: Have you ever had problems with clutter? And is your home extremely neat and clean, free of clutter?
Becker: I've never had an issue with clutter and my home tends to be extremely neat.
Q: What's the worst story you can tell about someone who cluttered?
Becker: Since confidentiality is key, I can't give you too many details. But I do have some photos on my website!
Q: On your website you offer Swedish Death Cleaning -- what is that?
Becker: Swedish Death Cleaning is a form of decluttering that has been practiced in Sweden, but is just now hitting our shores. Folks of a certain age, say 50s and up, are looking through everything they own and paring down to the most essential or important, so that loved ones do not have to do so later. It's not morbid; it's common sense!
Q: What else would you like people to know about The Clutter Queen?
Becker: I'm easygoing, yet fast and efficient. Clients are amazed what we can accomplish in just a few hours!