I can understand the way this works: whenever I mention what I do for a living the conversation leads to one of two questions: “How did you end up doing this?” and “I have this problem with my [fill in your clutter issue here]?” To be honest, I have no clear answer to the first question, it just happened, I guess. Of course, I have been relatively organised to start with, having been a teacher (who needs to prepare his lessons) has helped with my approach, but ultimately it is just something I seem to be good at and that my clients appreciate.
It has to be said that when I started out, decluttering was not really on anyone’s radar, apart from the fact that people were in dire need of assistance with their clutter overload. Marie Kondo has done our profession a huge favour with her books, and now her Netflix series because suddenly many people became aware that professionals like me were out there for hire. And yet it turns out that most are a little hesitant to take on our services: I sometimes think of how cleaners had to go through a similar stage when taking on a cleaner seemed to indicate that the lady of the house was unable to keep her home clean on her own only a couple of decades ago. Today, it feels like you have not quite made it if you don’t have a cleaner come in at least once a week…
So thank you Marie for you efforts.
On the downside, I have to admit that her strangely rigid approach worries me a little: she has a clear uniform system that she adheres to religiously. This strikes me as unusual as my own experience shows that each client is different and needs a different approach. Marie Kondo’s method makes a lot of sense, but does not always apply, at least when it comes to my own clients.
Another thing: her books look like self-help books while her Netflix show advertises her services as a professional even though it is clear that the majority of the job is done without her. This – to me – indicates that anyone can do what she explains. The downside here is this: let’s say someone starts decluttering in the understanding that her method always works and then that person ends up not achieving their goals (for lack of motivation, lack of experience, mental blocks, etc.). It is unlikely they will look for further help as they might just think “I’ve tried the correct method and I it didn’t work, so why would I pay for something that is likely to fail anyway!”
In the past, people have tried their own method and if they failed there was still a sense that they simply didn’t do it right. That feeling is now potentially superseded by that sense of final failure.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not dissing her method or her way of going about business: more power to you, girl! I’m only wondering if her approach may not be somewhat counterproductive on the psychological level. We’ll see how this works out in the long run.
Ask the ClutterMeister
Ideas to help clear away the mess in your homes and in your minds.
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Hi, my name is Tilo Flache. My mission: help clients declutter mind and space.
This blog contains pointers for your journey towards a happier living experience.