As soon as I entered Maria's home I could see she had a sense of style. It was a beautifully decorated thin, tall house with everything in its place. So why did she need me?
A trip to the top floor answered my question. Maria had what many of us have - a guilty room - where everythings gets dumped. Her bedroom next door was starting to look a bit guilty too and Maria was feeling that she'd lost control.
Following a really busy few years with her business Maria had allowed clutter to build up and had found herself comfort buying from the internet. She hadn't been able to get into the mirrored wardrobe you can see in the photo for some time or the set of drawers on the right.
It was a familiar theme: She'd start tackling it but get despondent and seeing all that stuff every time she passed the room made her feel down.
We attacked this room as well as the bedroom over a two and a half day period and there were times when Maria - feeling despondent at the enormity of the task, as she mentions in her testimonial - thought we'd never succeed.
But I was impressed at her decisiveness and determination when it came to the sort: Keep - Charity - Friend. I also greatly admired her generosity: She could have earned quite a lot of money by sending most of it to a dress agency - and there'd be nothing wrong with that. After all, it was money she had spent.
But I think that donating over 100 sacks to a charity shop was part of turning a corner in her life and the difference her donation will make to The Samaritans, who run the shop, can't be underestimated. The funds raised are vital for the running of their helplines.
It was the best donation of items they'd ever received at the shop and the manageress drove out to the house to thank her personally. I felt a shiver of pride on Maria's behalf!
A measure of how motivated Maria became was that when I returned in the mornings she'd spent much of the previous evening decluttering further and organising the items she'd chosen to keep. I could see that she was naturally a very ordered person and was enjoying these 'final touches'.
She and her daughters also unearthed a lovely sofa bed from the garage to put into the newly organised room - thus reclaiming her spare bedroom.