When was the last time you ‘decluttered’ your house, car, garage, office? Did you know that decluttering is actually great for your health? In fact, people who declutter typically experience less stress and anxiety, more inner peace and self-confidence, they sleep better, have stronger decision-making skills and improved health habits. So today we hear from internationally renowned Podcaster, Kirsty Farrugia, who is the owner of Feels Like Home Professional Organisers and has had over 350,000 downloads of her podcast – The Art of Decluttering.
What do you love about your job?
I ABSOLUTELY love all of it! It’s so rewarding to be invited into people’s private spaces and be shown their vulnerabilities, fears, dreams and desires. It is such a sacred space that I enter to help people transform not only their physical place, but I’m also a witness to the transformation in their mind when they come to realise they have the power to re-write the beliefs they have held about themselves for so long! It’s a privilege to hold space for people as they process their stuff and their stories.
What is the craziest decluttering job you’ve worked on?
As you can imagine, I ‘ve been invited to work with a few hoarders and I now refer them to Professional Organisers who have had specialist training in this area because Hording Disorder needs an integrative approach with therapists. I can say however, that I have seen a lot and I promise most clients that I have always seen worse!
Why should we be organised, is there really value in living a decluttered life?
I totally understand that it can feel overwhelming when your home feels like a bomb has gone off. It takes a lot of courage and effort to get it decluttered and organised, however once it’s organised and you introduce new, significant positive habits, it helps to keep things under control. And so, this is where the value comes in.
You won’t lose gift vouchers anymore, you won’t get your water cut off because you forgot to pay the bill. You won’t drop your kids late to school because you lost your keys. You won’t go and buy an item that you know is somewhere in your home, but you just can’t find it. You will always be able to find things and things won’t go missing. You will gain back so much of your time! I also find that being organised means that I have a much smaller mental ‘to-do’ list because I deal with (most) things when and as they come into my home, so I don’t have those millions of tabs open trying to remember to do everything. I can chill out at night and not feel like I have to attend to the things around my home calling out for attention, because they are already done. There is so much freedom in that!
What are the areas that become the most cluttered?
The spaces that we clutter most are usually the entry point in the house and the closest flat surface near that entry point. This is because we usually come in from the car with arms loaded full of things and we procrastinate putting these things away, straight away. Clutter attracts clutter, so it’s important that everything has a place to be put away in. The other most common area that clutter can be found is the “junk room” or “junk cupboard/drawer”. Again, this is due to delay decision making. We chuck things in the junk cupboard because we don’t want to take the time to decide where it should live or to make a home for it, so we delay that decision for another time and rarely does that time ever come around.
What are your top tips to combat cluttering?
My number one tip is to not procrastinate and just do it now! I also tell my clients to give everything a home. If you implement these two tips, I promise that your clutter will drastically reduce, even if you don’t deal with the current clutter.
If you come in with the mail and deal with the mail straight away, you put the envelope and junk mail straight in the recycling, that is half the job right there. Next you reply straight away to any invitations and put the details straight into your diary and you schedule payments of any bills as you are opening the mail. Then, within three minutes of walking in the door, you’ve dealt with the mail and you don’t have to think about that job anymore.
Giving things a home makes keeping clutter at bay so much easier. If you have a home for your things they can easily be returned to that home when you have finished using them. It also makes it easy for others to put things away when the item is not in use. Items don’t get easily lost when everyone knows where it belongs. It’s also helpful to think about where things will live or belong when you’re thinking of bringing something new into the home. Where is that gift going to live? Do you have a home for that tool you’re planning on buying from Bunnings this weekend?
What do you mean by ‘keeping what you use and using what you keep’?
This concept is about giving honour to things that you have decided should belong in your home. If you are not honouring that item by using it, displaying it or storing it correctly, then should you be keeping it? It’s a good measuring tool to help you decide what you should keep when you are decluttering your home. How many wooden spoons do you actually use? When was the last time you used that blue eyeshadow you bought in 1990? Does your family know the story about the vase you got from your great aunt when she died? This concept can help you decide what should stay in your home and how you use it or give honour to the way you are displaying or storing it.
How do you sustain a decluttered life?
By changing your habits and the stories you tell yourself. You are not a mess. Your house might be messy, but you are not a mess. You can change, you can grow, and you can transform your relationship to stuff and the way your family operate in your home. Changing your habits like reducing procrastination and giving things a home will go a long way in creating a changed lifestyle. Most homes I visit need a big declutter and then it is about maintaining that decluttered space by implementing a few simple habits.
Be warned though, decluttering can be addictive! The more you declutter, the more you want to declutter because of the lightness and freedom that comes with having less and maintaining less. So, in my home we do mini declutters every 6 months or so because we are pretty attuned to clutter creep and we are also fairly intentional about what we invite into our home in the first place.
How do you teach about decluttering when they are young?
My top tip is to get them helping as much as they can. Remember that we are wanting to raise them to be adults that are productive and serve others with the gifts and talents that they have, so start training them to be those adults now. Get them to clean up after themselves. Pack up and clean up before they eat their food or go to bed. Get them involved in the process of decluttering. Encourage them to let things go they no longer play with or that they have duplicates of by instilling in them an awareness of others less fortunate than them. Tell them that their toys are being donated to kids who don’t have these toys. Encourage them to be generous with their possessions and their time. Get kids involved as early as possible with the decluttering process because by chucking their things out sneakily when they are asleep or at school, this can actually encourage the hoarding tendency in kids. Another great tip for kids who are naturally sentimental is to encourage them to write out their stories related to the item they are finding it difficult to part with and perhaps take a photo of the item and then give honour to the story rather than the item.
For more information you can contact Kirsty on Facebook by heading to www.facebook.com/feelslikehomepo