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
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.