Helen Youn is Calgary's only certified KonMari specialist.
Courtesy Kristen Holm Photography
Feb. 20, 2019 | Geoff Geddes
Go from distress to de-stress through decluttering
Too much clutter in your home can make you feel the same way you do after too much turkey dinner: stuffed and uninspired. Though it may have taken years to accumulate all those useful, somewhat useful and utterly useless items, you can get unstuffed in a fraction of the time by following a few simple guidelines.
"Uncluttering has become more popular these days, and it's not surprising," said Helen Youn, professional organizer and Calgary's only certified KonMari specialist.
"Thirty years ago, the average home size was about 900 square feet, but now that's considered small. As house sizes grew, we accumulated more and more belongings to fill that space, so it's only natural that people are feeling overwhelmed and overcrowded."
The KonMari method, followed by Youn and created by tidying expert and Netflix star Marie Kondo, is all about finding joy by first asking a poignant question: What is my ideal life?
"As house sizes grew, we accumulated more and more belongings to fill that space, so it's only natural that people are feeling overwhelmed and overcrowded." - Helen Youn, certified KonMari specialist
"The purpose of our home is to support us in living the life we want," said Youn. "Without that vision, it's like packing for a trip without knowing where you're going or what you'll be doing. You wind up packing way more than you need, but when you have a clear vision it all gets easier."
Where most people keep things based on whether they have used them recently, it's more a matter of asking if the item will be useful in your ideal life.
"Start with clothing, then books, papers and miscellaneous like kitchen items and toiletries," said Youn. "It's important to follow that order, as it goes from easiest to hardest. This gives you a roadmap to unclutter properly, so you don't have to do it again and again."
The last category is sentimental items, as they are the most difficult. You want to save not only useful things, but also things like photos that bring back good memories. Just be sure to follow one simple rule: show it, don't stow it.
"With photos, get rid of doubles and the ones that don't mean anything to you, and display the valued ones prominently," said Youn. "You should also have a couple of albums of your life that you can easily enjoy at any time."
When it comes to deciding whether to sell an item or just throw it away, keep in mind that it can take time to sell some items and the process might prevent you from moving forward. Donating to charity is a good option, and so is giving items to relatives – just be sure they really want them first!
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