Professional tips for decluttering and organising like a pro

The laundry has piled into a mountain, pots and pans are stuffed and stacked haphazardly behind cabinet doors, the desk is strewn with papers, and the wardrobe is bursting at the seams. While clutter is common at home, it can be overwhelming. Research published for The Society for Personality and Social Psychology has linked living in an untidy environment to chronic stress, depression, anxiety, marital problems and even weight gain; while in feng shui, clutter is believed to interrupt the flow of energy within the home.

Having to face the reality of our clutter is absolutely daunting. On the other hand, eliminating it is immensely gratifying – improving productivity, efficiency, creativity and home safety. We turn to Hong Kong’s top home organisers for tips on how to keep our personal and work space clear.

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Tip 1: Take it one step at a time

Given the sheer amount of accumulation over time, it’s only normal to be stymied by just how or where to begin. The founder of leading home decluttering service Home Therapy, Sharon Lam, simplifies the process into five manageable steps: take everything out, categorise, declutter, organise and label.

She asks her clients to think about the purpose of tweaking their clutter. “What is the importance of things you’re holding on to… Will letting go improvise your quality of life? Perhaps, your clutter is adding on to the mental load and holding you back from achieving your goals?” If the thought resonates then take active steps to get things in order. “Perhaps your stuff is making you live in the past or you’re not organising because it is too time consuming”. If any of the above sound familiar, it’s time to edit your possessions away.

Tip 2: Don’t waste

Decluttering doesn’t have to mean tossing unwanted possessions into the bin, especially when they are in top shape. “Some of our clients own millions of dollars’ worth of clothes and handbags, from crocodile boots to Hermès bags, but after clearing everything out from storage they realise that many of these items have not been used in a long time or have been forgotten altogether,” says Lam.

Donating is a quick, easy and sustainable way of ridding your space of unnecessary clutter. Alternatively, there are consignment stores in the city that accept second-hand designer goods or sites that help you sell once-prized items online.

Also Read: Second-Hand Luxury: Where do pre-owned designer handbags go

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Tip 3: Plan ahead before buying any home storage containers

This one is especially important when you’re targetting a high-traffic area like the kitchen. Measure and plan how best to organise and utilise storage containers. “The problem,” says Rosy Tu, founder of Clean & Rosy, “is clients will go out and buy multiple containers without a plan, and over time these containers pile up, with a lot of them not being used because they don’t match the aesthetic or fit the space well.”

Tip 4: Keep things functional yet aesthetic

Clutter is often described as an overabundance of possessions that create a chaotic and disorderly or dysfunctional space to live in; studies show that cluttered and disorganised environments can affect a person’s mood, attention, focus, memory and creativity. Since working from home has become a growing trend, Tu confirms that her clients are seeking “better and more efficient ways to organise their spaces and create a more enjoyable living enviornment for themselves”.

Also Read: Personalised Touch: Custom made décor and furniture you need for the home


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Tip 5: Fix it all or nothing

A common mistake is organising just one space, instead of the whole home. Platinum KonMari consultant and certified home organiser Marina Voronina explains: “Like catching the flu, it isn’t just one part of the body that needs to be treated, the entire immune system needs to get well.

Similarly, with a house, one part of the home cannot be tweaked if the rest of the house is a giant mess. Doing so only results in short-term gains, but the clutter tends to gradually build back up. Once you’ve decided to start, you have to be ready to commit, declutter and organise the whole house for real and lasting change”.

Tip 6: Letting go

Not wanting to let go of our possessions is a natural feeling, but it can be harmful. We begin to justify why something that no longer has value might be worth keeping, or feel guilty about being wasteful.

According to Voronina, “We may believe our things have hidden monetary value, but the main reason we hang on to things is fear – fear of the loss of security, status, comfort and the memory of a loved one.” This “emotional baggage” keeps us from living in the present – letting go will not only free up space, but liberate you emotionally.

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Tip 7: Just start
Although sorting a pile of clutter might seem insurmountable at first, if you just take the plunge and begin, it all falls tidily into place. “Some people don’t know where to start on their own clutter,” says Voronina. “It’s an overwhelming feeling for many, but you have to take the first step; then the first step will be followed by the second step, and before you know it you’re enjoying a clutter-free home.”

Tip 8: Seek professional help
Professional home organisers will not only organise and redesign your home to fit your needs and lifestyle, but also teach you how to set up and maintain that system so that it benefits your whole family long-term. These experts are pros – they help you save time, especially when you don’t have to waste it searching for things amongst the mess.

Professional decluttering might sound expensive but in the long run, it saves your dollars – once you assess your belongings, there is less duplication and unnecessary purchases. Most importantly, an organised, mess-free home is a happy home where you have complete control over your life and belongings. Small steps to success!


Also Read: Beautiful alternatives to marble countertops

(Text: Roberliza Eugenio)