Decluttering will not only have you living in a tidier home but it might ease some stress in your life, as Ara Jansen explains.
Can you find the sticky tape when you need it? Do you know where your favourite shirt is? Are mornings a mad scramble trying to find phones, matching socks or kids’ homework?
You might simply feel like there’s just too much stuff and your home could benefit from some tidying and decluttering.
Kirrilee Lehman didn’t ever plan to become a decluttering expert. As a pharmacist, she just fell into it when she cleaned up her own home and started helping her friends over a glass of wine. Word spread and alongside her sister Taryn, they set up Queens of Clutter. Five years later there are almost 10 Queens are working busily all over Perth, helping others tidy up their spaces.
While some people have extreme problems with hoarding and are prime candidates for a TV show, Kirrilee says many of us just feel like we’ve got too much stuff and life is messier and more stressful than we’d like. Lightening the load, make things easier to find and living in tidier spaces can positively influence mental health.
Once you pick a space to declutter, everything gets pulled out, sorted and then put back in a way which is functional and suits your lifestyle. Kirrilee says the benefit of having someone to help offers another perspective and someone to cheer you on.
“People can sometimes just get overwhelmed by their stuff,” says Kirrilee. “They could probably do it themselves but they don’t. So, decluttering with someone else and getting helpful guidance gives them great results. Kind of like a personal trainer for your house!”
Best of all, everything you decide to give away, they’ll take away and deliver to various charities. And in the spirit of generosity and recycling, there’s also the opportunity to share. A recent client parted with a new toaster, which a Queen was able to give to another client who didn’t have one.
She suggests if you’re going to embark on decluttering your space, start small, rather than up-ending the whole house. Pick a few drawers – the junk one or a cupboard in the bathroom – then you’ll be heartened by a few wins.
Kirrilee says with a plan, targeted space and a desire to lighten up, it’s amazing what you can achieve in a few hours.
“A lot of what we share with people is common sense, but sometimes it takes fresh eyes to stand back and see the bigger picture and what makes sense.”
Marie Kondo and Australian organisation king Peter Walsh are the Queens’ heroes and they team that knowledge with their own experiences. They also pride themselves on understanding different needs and life stages, whether it’s a house with kids, a couple in an apartment or someone living with disability.
“At the moment, all our Queens are mums and we definitely bring that experience, but we also bring kindness and empathy for people who are just feeling overwhelmed. The work we do helps people breathe because it takes some of the stress out of their lives.
“After decluttering, people tell us their anxiety is better and they don’t feel so suffocated by their stuff. Everyone’s level of too much stuff is different but when they have less or it’s just more organised, they have more time for other things because they can find things easily. When I start losing things, I know it’s time to get into the cupboards.”