If you’ve spent the last two months in a decluttering frenzy thanks to Japanese “tidying up” guru Marie Kondo, well, congratulations. Clearing your home of clutter and organising what you own is no easy feat, but what’s even harder is the upkeep. No matter how pure your intentions may be, maintaining a clean and tidy home is easier said than done.
That’s why we turned to local professional organisers — Singapore’s own Marie Kondos, if you will — for their tips on building a clutter-free lifestyle. Here’s what they have to say:
“Start small, build your decluttering muscle and in the process build the confidence that you can declutter and live with less. Focus on the benefits you are going to get from being clutter-free and organised instead of the task at hand.” – Nathalie Ricaud, Founder of Get Organised & Beyond
Who is Nathalie?
Parents with young children know how hard it is to get their kids to tidy their rooms or toys. But not Nathalie Ricaud’s parents. As a child, she already had a passion for organising. “I was raised without systems or schedules. Looking back, I’d say organising things around the house was my way of creating the structure that had been absent in my life,” she says.
Today, she runs Get Organised & Beyond, a decluttering company that helps clients better organise their homes. She also offers time management services and can teach clients to manage their paper and digital clutter.
While she had a strong inclination towards organising, she says that it was her two decades’ experience in the logistics industry that helped her hone her organising skills, while attending professional organising courses as well.
“A home is just like a traditional warehouse – every item should have a dedicated spot so that it can easily be found when needed and put away in the same place after being used,” she says. “It also helps save time and potentially money as we may end up buying multiples of the same item because we can’t find it or because we forgot we had it and had misplaced it.”
The top three areas that clients need help most are the wardrobe, the desk/home office and the storeroom. “For most people these areas involve items that are not too difficult to part with and/or tend to be a big organising challenge for them,”says Nathalie.
Nathalie’s first step is to define the underlying aim for organising an area, such as being able to entertain at home. “We list the activities that will be performed in the room and define who will be using it so we can have some clarity on what belongs there and what doesn’t,” she says.
The next step is to consider disposal options, such as recycling, selling, or donating, as well as what to keep. “Keep only what you need, use and love. And fits into your storage space. The rest is clutter,” says Nathalie.
Then the physical work starts, by sorting items by category, what to move to a different room, and what not to keep. Storage options are discussed, and items are all assigned to a home. A three-hour session costs S$390.