Declutter your Home (And Life)

Happy to be a participant  in Catherine Nikas-Boulos article and to share some extracts with you

Declutter your home… and your life

Marie Kondo. One name has managed to generate such a decluttering buzz that homeowners en masse are clearing out anything that doesn’t spark joy. Her Netflix show has taken the Japanese organisational guru into a whole new stratosphere of fame, and there are no shortage of followers who have embraced her enthusiasm for removing unwanted/ unnecessary/unloved/under used items from their life.

Locally, Jo Carmichael of organisation company All Sorted Out, says Marie Kondo has piqued so much interest because she makes the process look easy, even enjoyable.

Maire Kondo has inspired Australians to rethink their relationship with ‘stuff’. Picture: Michael loccisano

Marie Kondo encourages homeowners to let go of anything that doesn’t “spark joy”, but beyond this, where to start?

“Most people just want guidance,” says Jo.

“Nobody wants their things to simply be chucked out. People find it easier to let go of stuff if they know it will benefit someone else.

“They might not necessarily want a particular item anymore, but they get a kick out of sending it on to someone in need.”

Jo helps clients at many stages of decluttering, from those downsizing, to families who have had a change of circumstance and want to turn a baby’s room into a teenager’s retreat.

Adding joinery in the bathroom and kitchen helps keep mundane but necessary items tucked away

“These are busy families and everything has built up around them,” she says. “They might be doing a weekly clean-up, but that doesn’t solve the problem — it may even camouflage it.

“You need to go through the cupboard and get rid of things you have outgrown, and equipment from hobbies you no longer practise. Shoving things away in a cupboard does not address the problem.”

Making the decision to declutter your home is a step in the right direction, but don’t make the mistake of starting at the front door or with the living areas, Jo says.

“We want to make a good impression, so when someone comes home their first impression is, ‘wow, doesn’t this look good?’,” she says. “(But) the best place to start is in the bedroom, because you are learning a new skill, and you personally own everything in that room.

“The kitchen is a no-man’s land, where different family members own things, and you can’t give away someone else’s things. The family home does not belong to just one person, so getting everyone involved is the idea.”

Encourage spouses to clean out their own wardrobes and kids to pass on what they’ve outgrown

Jo advocates a fairly dramatic approach to sorting stuff so set aside some time to tackle the task.

Spreading belongings on the floor or lawn, a la Peter Walsh on The Living Room, is the best way to take stock of what you have. It can be quite confronting to see boxes of stuff lined up.

“If a dress is hanging in the cupboard, it has a place. On the floor, it’s just a dress,” says Jo.