How we met
Mitchell and I met in Darwin in 2015 whilst serving in the Australian Defence Force. We worked in a big warehouse as supply chain storemen, receiving and distributing spare parts. It was such a worldly experience meeting so many different people and having so many different experiences (some good and bad). The Army taught me a lot. I remember when I first started my initial training at Kapooka crying on the phone to my dad, thinking get me the f*ck out of here lol. I had so many laughs, cries, and memories in my four years as a soldier to last me a lifetime. I think the most valuable thing I have taken away from my time in the army is my determination to get things done and complete them to a good standard.
We had only been dating for a little over a year when Mitchell proposed shortly before leaving for a seven-month deployment. This was the toughest time of my life as so much was going on behind the scenes. In December 2016, my sister Sarah had been tragically killed at the hands of a previous partner leaving our family shattered, feeling empty and in shock. Her two kids who are growing up so beautifully are being taken care of by my parents and my other brother and sister. After the funeral it was time to go home to an empty house. Fortunately, Millie our loving Labrador was there to keep me company whilst Mitchell was away. These were the toughest months following the passing of my sister as I was super sensitive to any form of violence and being in the Army at the time working alongside a lot of males, violence was often a topic brought up in conversation.
I suffered from PTSD which I have thankfully come out the other side of. There were times where I would be walking the dog often afraid someone would attack me out of nowhere. If the news came on and reported about an 'incident' I would immediately feel so uncomfortable. I tried hiding this from people but as the increasing pressure of the wedding and work came to a head, I had multiple breakdowns that lead to going to the emergency department. I was always ashamed to show anyone the struggle that went on beneath the surface. I would work hard during the day and went home and clean the house from top to bottom to keep my mind distracted...it was so exhausting.
So many times, I would call Mitchell while he was overseas and ask him to come home. It came to a point where it just wasn't worth staying in the Army anymore. Family mattered more than anything, less than a year after he returned from deployment we got married, left the Army, and came to Melbourne where Mitchell's family lives.
Since then, we have had a couple of jobs in different industries. I went into warehousing and Mitchell went into real estate. Soon after we fell pregnant with Audrey and when she was born my postnatal anxiety and depression kicked in. I wasn't sure what to do with myself or with bubba. Mitchell was on parental leave at the time and in between jobs due to the COVID-19 lockdowns, so I asked him to help me start our business and not go back to real estate as I needed him and so did Audrey.
I still remember the day when I was thinking I had to go back to work and not knowing what to do. I think like many people, I felt a bit lost when leaving an institutionalised industry like the Army. In the Army everything is done for you. You are told what to do, what to wear and how you should talk and act. It is easy to forget about who you really are, as so much is already thought out for you.
I laid awake one night after the cleaners came to our home (we were living with family at the time) looking at the invoice they left on the living room table. "Wow! that's how much they get paid?" I thought to myself. "That's more then I get working a full 9:00-5:30 Monday to Friday and sometimes Saturday per week". "I could do that!" and do it better. One thing you should know is that I am extremely competitive.
I was so eager to get things moving that I told Mitchell “We need to make a website" and "we should start advertising and promoting our business". I wanted get things moving as quickly as possible. In the coming days he called his new boss and said that he would not be starting the new job in real estate and after that there was no turning back.
We worked long nights and took turns working alternate days so that one of us could be home to take care of Audrey. Looking back now, I am so proud of how far we have come. We now have one of the highest-ranking cleaning companies in the Melbourne Bayside area. We even clean for a Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) client that knew one of our old Army bosses. Sometimes it really is such a small world!
It began with a phone call one day from a client wanting a spring clean of her home. After a short phone conversation, we worked out that her home needed some tidying up and decluttering before we got to the cleaning and that was the start of my organising journey.
When I first arrived, I was greeted by my client and shown around her home. Her first priority was getting her kids' rooms organised for when they returned from a trip and organising her own wardrobe. It was such a humbling experience being invited into her home and becoming involved in her life and journey. I was her shoulder to cry on and I gave her the support and motivation she needed to transform her home for her family. It was so rewarding knowing I was making such a positive difference in their lives.
There were piles of clothes to go through, some of which she had been holding onto from when she was smaller in size. It was time to donate all the clothing that did not fit and try to stop feeling bad about gaining weight. On a side note, I had just recently donated some of my old clothes that I was waiting to fit into after having Audrey. Though the reality is I do not live the same lifestyle as I did in the Army, and I am not as physically active as I used to be. Between having two businesses, a baby, house duties and more it has been tough to juggle everything as well as keeping fit and for now I think I have come to accept that. So, if the weight does come off then it will be a good excuse to buy new clothes as a reward for all my hard efforts in the other aforementioned areas of my life.
Since my first organising client I have had the privilege to meet some amazing people through the business with both cleaning and organising. When you clean someone’s home every week/fortnight you tend to get to know what goes on in their lives and visa-versa. This was so good for my mental health during the months where we were in lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Having that social interaction with people has been great. Some might think that being a cleaner is not a career one would strive for after finishing school yet it has worked so well for our family to function effectively. It has led us to branch and officially open Pure Organising, an organising service business and online shop selling products. We have a few extra projects in the pipeline including a kitchen storage product line... which is a little on the downlow at the moment so stay tuned!
Through our difficulties of life and all the crazy, fun, and very boring (lockdown) times, things have a way of working out. So now you know a bit about our lives and the people behind the Pure Cleaning Group/ Pure Organising. I hope you have enjoyed reading! Please love and share x