THE ART OF DECLUTTERING: How to Find Organized Bliss in Your Home

“The best way to find out what we really need is to get rid of what we don’t.” 
Marie Kondo

Laura Garcia is no amateur when it comes to the art of organization. Over the last 15 years, she has packed her life into boxes on six different occasions, relocating to a new country each time with her husband and two children in tow. After settling into her last home, unpacking and organizing her family’s belongings in less than a week, it became glaringly obvious—her knack for organization could greatly benefit others.

“Efficient spaces where all the items have a place and a purpose are much easier to live in,” she says.

Garcia is co-owner of Two Girls One Neat Place, a Newmarket-based home organization service that aims to transform even the most cluttered space into an organized oasis. Their business is quickly gaining momentum, but not because of annual spring cleaning rituals.

The popularity of Japanese organization guru Marie Kondo has propelled services like Garcia’s into the spotlight. Kondo has become a pop culture icon thanks to the Netflix Series Tidying up with Marie Kondo, where she helps homeowners declutter by encouraging them to only keep the things that “spark joy” in their lives. But professional organizers are not a new phenomenon.

“The industry of decluttering is not a fad,” says Varsha Singh, manager of operations at ClutterBGone, a home organization service that operates in upper York Region. “Some may think we are just cleaners, but we are professionally trained by the Professional Organizers in Canada. We even follow a code of ethics.”

Having grown up in a hoarding environment, Singh has personally experienced the stress that clutter can cause. “The society we live in is so cumulative. Our business is about teaching people to live with less and realize that by living with less, tidying up is much simpler,” she explains.

Step One: Identify a Starting Point
The first step to finding organized bliss is to identity the space in your home that needs the most work. Both Singh and Garcia agree basements, garages, and home offices tend to be the biggest pain points for most people.

“Most garages are very cluttered. It becomes a home for the things we don’t use anymore,” says Garcia. Home offices, on the other hand, tend to become the dumping ground for old paperwork, bills, and instruction manuals for appliances we’ve long since parted with.
Singh recommends starting in a small space, such as a closet, where it will be easier to see the transformation. Start by purging the obvious—that means things like expired products, or items of clothing that don’t fit or you haven’t worn in years.

Step Two: Organize and Sort Your Belongings
“We like to tell our clients that clutter is just postponed decisions,” explains Singh. “We don’t tell people to get rid of things—we help them sort and organize things.” By doing this, purging often comes naturally for her clients.

When working in a larger space, sort items into categories before deciding whether or not they are worth keeping. By doing this, you will have a better idea of how to containerize your belongings (and you won’t buy more storage containers than you need, which is a common way people accumulate more things).

Once things are containerized, the next step is to make a habit out of staying organized. That means taking the time to put things away in their newly organized space, labelling your storage, and creating new routines. “Tidying up should only take 5 minutes if you have the right system in place,” Singh adds. .

Step Three: Consider a Custom Solution
While professional organizers can help you through the decluttering process, custom storage solutions are a great choice for those looking to create even more space in their home. “Most homes are built with a rod and a shelf and all of your belongings have to be compatible with that solution, but that isn’t reality,” says Kristin Whitehead with Closets by Design in Barrie.
Closets by Design provides custom-built storage solutions for garages, closets, home offices, and more. Their designers consult with customers to understand how they need to use the space, and create an efficient and functional storage solution. According to Whitehead, these custom solutions can provide up to four times more storage space.

No matter what approach you take to organize your home this spring, rest assured that an orderly home will “spark joy” for you.

LOCAL LINKS

Two Girls One Neat Place, Newmarket
twogirlsoneneatplace.com

ClutterBGone, York Region
clutterbgone.ca

Closets By Design, Barrie
barrie.closetsbydesign.com

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