Owner of Simplify, a company that specialises in organising people’s spaces, Joy van der Merwe has mastered the art of Spring cleaning. So we reached out to the young queen of clean, to give us three tips on how millennials can clear the clutter.
Tip 1: Get rid of the excess
It’s safe to say that we have a lot of stuff. The accumulation of things is not only a norm but is generally seen as a good thing. If you think about the number of things that come into your home in contrast to the things you actively let go of – the ratio is usually out of proportion. This means that a large percentage of the things we own no longer serve the goals and values we have in our current life stage. This also means that the stuff you no longer use stops you from being able to easily access and use the things that are important to your current values and lifestyle.
To tackle your stockpile of “what if’s” go through your home by category – clothes, books, etc. Decide what you want to keep rather than what you are giving away. Consider giving specific items to people you know will enjoy them, donate excess items to a cause you support and recycle wherever possible.
Tip 2: Focus on being organised not neat
Once you only have ‘value’ adding objects, they need to be organised into a system where they have a ‘home’. Objects need to be easily accessible so that they can also be easily returned. Have you ever had the urge to quickly sort out an area of your home (perhaps when friends were dropping by)? At the end of this frantic session your place might be relatively neat but within a couple of days everything you shoved into the cupboards is out again and ready to be frantically put away for the next social occasion.
This routine has two outcomes, firstly things will become quite difficult to find when you or someone else needs them and secondly you will continue to collect things you don’t need. In essence, it is helpful to recognise that being neat and being organised are not the same thing. Focus on giving your objects specific places to ‘live’. Put like objects together and arrange things vertically (rather than horizontally) wherever possible.
Tip 3: Identify ‘non-systems’
The systems we don’t have are in themselves systems with triggers and communicated norms for doing things. Does a chair in your bedroom become your clothing cupboard? Do the left-overs in your fridge become permanent residents that need to grow legs to escort themselves out? Does the paperwork on your desk result in you consistently working in your lounge or bed? By identifying ‘non-systems’ you have a point of entry to start putting routines in place that will help keep your home, crisp and in-order all year long.