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Decluttering Is An Ongoing Process, But Furniture Helps

Ingrid Jansen
Professional Organiser
President of The Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers UK

Continuing our discussion about the benefits of having a system for organising your home, we asked Ingrid Jansen, Professional Organiser and President of The Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers UK, for her opinion on the best ways to maintain tidiness and the importance of furniture design in this process.

From her experience, clutter creates a lot of mess in people’s heads. Also, people with messy homes struggle with being on time and being efficient. It is a vicious cycle: they find it more difficult to make decisions. When decision making takes longer, they procrastinate more often, which leads to even more clutter. But once they start tackling the mess and get lots of jobs off the “to do” list, they find it easier to do these tasks again.

The difference is best visible in people’s reaction when seeing their space tidy: there is less tension in their shoulders and back, their eyes start to light up, they smile more and just look happier. Before that, they talk about their messy home, while after they see far more space and light.

‘Decluttering is an ongoing process and my advice to clients is put stuff back to the place where it belongs. This makes tidying up every day much easier. Also regularly blocking a few hours in the diary to tackle a cupboard or some clothes prevents it from building up again’, says Ingrid.

Her clients have to work with her and be present while decluttering and organising. They are the ones taking the decisions if something stays or goes, Ingrid just helps them decide if they find it difficult and suggest places of where to put the stuff that is staying.

The products she always uses in the decluttering process are color coded trash bags: green for the charity shop, black for things that need to be thrown away and blue for recycling. She also uses boxes or crates that people have in their house to temporarily store the items they keep before they are stored in a new place.

‘My organising favourites are: the BILLY bookcase, the KALLAX shelving unit, which is great for playrooms, as well as the MALM shelving unit for clothes like t-shirts, sportswear, jumpers, etc. Also, a coatrack in the hall is essential, a laundry bag in the bathroom, preferably with a divider for darks and whites, ring binders for the office, a three-tier divider for the desk, and sturdy boxes, with and without lids, to divide things into categories’, she explains.

As for the furniture design, she believes it’s better for the storage units not to be very large, but it’s important for them to be functional: ‘For wardrobes, I would never use a shoe rack or equivalent since they take up too much storage space’, Ingrid says.

Ingrid admits that some people she works with get back on top of everything and she never works with them again. Other people’s circumstances change – they move house, have a baby, decide to work from home – and they call her back to advise them again. With other clients, she works on a regular basis, because their health is a main issue. But they all have one thing in common: you can see that once they organise their home, it’s easier for them to find things and to maintain tidiness.

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