Or­der from the chaos

It’s been said that life doesn’t be­gin at 20 or 40, but when you dis­cover how flex­i­ble and free you are with­out clut­ter. Michelle Swart finds out more

Business Day - Home Front - - HOMEFRONT -

WHERE’s the car keys, the scis­sors, the tele­vi­sion re­mote? If you are ex­hausted by the gen­eral dis­or­der at home, of piles of un­opened mail and wardrobes burst­ing at their seams with un­worn clothes, help is on its way.

At Decorex Joburg, on this week­end at Gal­lagher Con­ven­tion Cen­tre in Midrand, de-junk ideas await clut­ter bugs yearn­ing for room to breathe.

“We should en­joy our pos­ses­sions rather than be over­whelmed by them,” says Sian Gut­stadt from Decorex. “We all dream about a life with­out de­bil­i­tat­ing stuff, but when it comes to de­clut­ter­ing, we don’t know where to start, hold­ing on for dear life to the or­na­ments, dis­carded toys, dusty keep­sakes and trin­kets that make the dis­or­gan­ised life such a mis­ery.”

She adds that with the big spring­clean­ing sea­son draw­ing near, Decorex Joburg wants to in­spire vis­i­tors with longer term so­lu­tions over once-off clean-out sprees. “In ad­di­tion to the space­sav­ing so­lu­tions and multi-pur­pose fur­ni­ture a de­clut­ter ex­pert will host daily work­shops on get­ting or­gan­ised.”

Leanne Host, speaker at the DStv Ideas Theatre, is a pro­fes­sional or­gan­iser at “Get Or­gan­ised”, a com­pany which helps peo­ple to find — and then main­tain — or­der among their chaos. “An or­dered house­hold saves time and money, re­lieves stress and lets you fo­cus on your fam­ily and per­sonal re­la­tion­ships,” says Host. “You are cre­at­ing space for a joy­ful life.”

This process in­volves iden­ti­fy­ing the causes and the ef­fects of your clut­ter is­sues, and then im­ple­ment­ing so­lu­tions.

In essence it’s a sim­ple mat­ter of get­ting rid of ev­ery­thing that should not be in a cer­tain space, and then find­ing the right space for the re­main­ing items. How­ever, if you lack the self-dis­ci­pline to ad­dress these is­sues, or­gan­is­ing ex­perts such as Host can lend a help­ing hand.

While de­clut­ter­ing is a rel­a­tively sim­ple process, Host ad­mits that the real chal­lenge lies in main­tain­ing your reg­i­men. Rather than mak­ing a huge ef­fort now and then, she ad­vises peo­ple to tackle small prob­lem ar­eas reg­u­larly. “For ex­am­ple, round up the whole fam­ily be­fore bed time for a 10-minute tidy-up ac­tion in the liv­ing room. These small ac­tions are worth their weight in gold.”

Dis­or­gan­ised pa­per­work is the big­gest bug bear in many house­holds. “The so­lu­tion lies in three sim­ple steps: Con­sider each piece of pa­per­work in­di­vid­u­ally and de­cide whether it re­quires ac­tion, fil­ing, or bin­ning.”

In­te­rior de­sign guru and Decorex par­tic­i­pant Jac­ques Coet­zee from A Point knows all about liv­ing a life free from sti­fling pos­ses­sions. With a ca­reer that takes him abroad for ex­tended pe­ri­ods (he spent 10 years in Dal­las and has re­cently re­turned from Dubai), he sim­ply can­not af­ford to hoard.

“Whether func­tional or sen­ti­men­tal, my pos­ses­sions must al­ways be of value. I get rid of any­thing that does not make my life eas­ier or more con­ve­nient.” In­stead of hav­ing nu­mer­ous gad­gets in his liv­ing room, he in­vests in tech­nol­ogy such as an all-in-one uni­ver­sal re­mote con­trol.

You don’t have to be a min­i­mal­ist with a zero tol­er­ance of or­na­ments or col­lecta­bles. “Group ob­jects ac­cord­ing to themes. Place in­di­vid­ual trin­kets on a pretty tray. Shade boxes (deep frames against a wall) are handy for dust-free com­pact vi­gnettes be­hind glass.”

Coet­zee firmly be­lieves in cre­at­ing or­der be­fore the end of each day. “And,” he adds, “to cre­ate or­der in your life, don’t un­der­es­ti­mate the power of the hum­ble elas­tic band, pa­per clip and con­certina file.”


Top: Har­mony and or­der cre­ate room to breathe.

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