THE BENEFITS OF DECLUTTERING ARE GREATER THAN YOU THINK, SAYS OAKVILLE HOME ORGANIZER MEGAN ARTHURS
By Laurie Wallace-Lynch
The austere appeal of a well-organized and decluttered room is obvious to the eye but delve deeper and you’ll discover that having a decluttered home is good for body, mind and soul.
This is the inspiration behind H:OM ORGANIZING owned by Oakville’s Megan Arthurs, a well-known expert on decluttering who’s often seen sharing her organizational tips on Breakfast Television, Global News Morning and CHCH Morning Live. “Clutter can have a huge and profound effect on a person emotionally, physically and mentally, and can even affect your relationships with others,” says Arthurs. “Your home can either drain you or energize you. Often homeowners are stressed and not feeling good about a space because it looks chaotic. There can also be a certain level of shame or guilt, feeling that we should have an extremely organized home, but we can’t do it all. My job is to turn chaos into calm. It’s about finding the Om in your home.”
Typically, her clients are families who live a busy lifestyle and don’t have the time or the inclination to declutter. Tackling that crammed bedroom closet or the wall-to-wall toys in the playroom can be overwhelming.
She’s also called in to create her makeover magic during life’s big moments such as getting a home ready to sell or helping homeowners organize their new space. “Generally, decluttering and organizing is about creating function and flow,” she says. “It’s about what the space looks like, the functionality, space management and where things live – making sure everything has a home.”
Giving away or throwing out mementos, travel photos or your kid’s artwork can be difficult. “I’m well versed on the deeper reasons that many people have trouble parting with things – it’s a safety net or there’s a sentimental attachment,” explains Arthurs. “I’ve heard so many remarkable stories about keepsakes and the reasons why someone can’t part with this or that. My rule is this: if you’re not using it, or you don’t love it, out it goes. Clutter is anything that’s in the way and taking up space. Photos are a huge undertaking, but you can pare them down by making a photo disc online or just keeping a few treasured photos. Believe me, the work to declutter pays off big time. The benefits of decluttering and organizing include reduced stress, more free time, saving money by eliminating over-purchasing, and an overall sense of happiness and well-being.”
Home organizing is “super trendy” right now, according to Arthurs. “It’s a hot trend as it’s so relevant and many TV shows and online sites are talking about decluttering,” she states. “I’ve seen a huge boom in the requests for my services since the COVID-19 pandemic. People spent two years at home and want their home to be their sanctuary. We are products of our environment. Our homes are our sacred space, so we need them to adhere to our lifestyles in ways that create calm and flow.”
The process begins with a client consultation. “This is my favourite part, as I get to know people as we discuss their challenges, goals and lifestyle,” Arthurs says. “The four spaces that most clients want decluttered are the kitchen and pantry, the closets in the principal bedroom, the play area, and the garage. When you’re saying you have nothing to wear or you hate your kitchen, it’s time to purge. I love helping people fall in love with their home again.”
Arthurs can help transform one space, or several, using a ‘system of three.’ “I collaborate with clients to create three piles which include keep, donate/sell and recycle/garbage.” You might call Arthurs the basket and label queen. “We shop for clients and put everything in baskets and bins, and everything is labelled so it looks tidy and uniform,” she explains. “I’m a huge fan of clear bins and canisters as you can immediately see what you have and aren’t buying duplicates.”
Arthurs is a former dance teacher with a Master of Arts Degree in Dance. How did she become a professional home organizer? She says that even after studying and following one’s passion for many years, sometimes you need to step away. “I’ve always had a passion for organizing. As a child, I would organize my Barbies and be constantly cleaning and rearranging my bedroom. Now I love helping others discover inner peace by having a neat, organized home. My philosophy is that the space around you reflects your inner spiritual space.”
Arthurs is emphatic that transforming a space can change someone’s life. “When clients see the ‘after,’ they sometimes get quite emotional,” she states. “I’ve had people cry or hug me. Clients tell me it’s like a giant weight has been lifted off their shoulders. I do a check-in with clients after the session and they’ve told me they sleep better, they now have time to go to the gym, they’re entertaining again, and one client told me that she and her family are eating healthier meals now that their kitchen and pantry are organized.”
So how do we continue to keep our pantry or closet neat? Arthurs says it’s simple. “Everything has a home and a label, so after you use it, put it back.”
Decluttering & Organizing Tips:
Arthurs offers her top tips to create an organized and decluttered space.
YOU MUST BE READY TO LET GO. You need to be at the point of wanting change and transformation to purge and let go of things you no longer love or no longer use.
ASK YOURSELF why you’re doing this and why it’s important to purge. Realize a goal in terms of the look and feel you would like to see in a space.
MEASURE FIRST AND TAKE PHOTOS. This will save you time by not having to return items.
PURGE AND KEEP ON PURGING. Once your purge is completed, continue to purge every couple of weeks or every month.
THINK SMALL TASKS. Tackle one closet or one room at a time so the job isn’t overwhelming.
THINK IN THREES. Take everything out of a closet or cupboard and then sort it into three piles: keep, donate/sell, recycle/trash.
FOLLOW THE 30-MINUTE RULE. Do a half-hour purge session. Set the timer for 20 minutes and allow 10 minutes for cleanup.
Visit homorganizing.ca for more information