The world has been going through some very strange times this year. Some people have said the world has not experienced anything like this since the second world war.
The Covid-19 pandemic has been one of the biggest challenges in recent history. It has costa hundreds of thousands of lives, and it has left others with serious mental health issues. It has basically changed the way we work, and the way we feel, and how we interact with friends and family.
Lockdown has turned our lives upside down. People have been living on top of each other while tens of millions of people have been forced to turn their home into an office. Working from home can be a strain, and working in cramped conditions can result in stress, and not to mention how messy the home can become.
With all the upheaval the Covid19 pandemic has caused, people being forced into lockdown have accumulated more stuff than they had before the chains went on the doors. Now, with lockdown over, the home needs some TLC. It is now time to declutter and turn the home back into a home and the state it is currently in.
We spoke to Marla Stone who is a decluttering and lifestyle expert who is the founder of I-Deal Lifestyle about decluttering after lockdown. The author of The Clutter Remedy: A Guide To Getting Organized For Those Who Love Their Stuff, talks about decluttering and how it helps with our well-being.
Covid19 Pandemic has been a traumatic experience and lockdown has resulted in a huge increase in the number of people who have and are suffering from mental health issues. It was recently reported that a lot of people who were struggling with stress turned to decluttering their home, does that surprise you?
No, it does not surprise me since people all over the world started Decluttering during Covid. Prior to Covid people were moving at a rapid pace. There was a frenzy about working, shopping, going, and going and massive amounts of traffic. Life was a blur. With lockdowns, and many working out of their homes, and kids being home schooled the house could be deemed a haven or a horror story. Depending on the space within the house, the amount of adults and children, furniture placement and the amount of clutter one could be happy at home or living in hell. Everyone in the world finally had an opportunity to declutter. I think they chose my book because of my background as a former psychotherapist, and my strategies are quick, easy and long-lasting.
Can decluttering your home really help with stress and mental health?
Talking of stress, tens of millions of people around the world cannot believe how much stuff they have accumulated during lockdown and this has caused them a great deal of stress, how has that happened?
The focus on accumulating so much stuff has been going on for decades. With cheap goods coming in from foreign companies, quickly delivered, and a push by consumer marketing to buy everything imaginable it is easy to end up with more than you can store in your home or office. I believe stress is a trigger for shopping, and then buyer’s remorse kicks in causing even more anxiety. I see people get into the human hamster wheel, going round and round. Lately, I think everyone found out they had way too much stuff, and none of it relieves stress.
Tens of millions of people worked from home during the COVID19 pandemic, but now that they can return to work they are struggling to turn their house from an office into a home with all the mess. What first steps people should they take to declutter their home?
The first step is to figure out what you value in life. You will find that some of your belongings don’t match your current lifestyle. Then categorize all your things into broad categories and ask yourself 1. Will I use it? 2. Does it serve a purpose? 3. Is it sentimental 4. Do I love it? Making good decisions, about what you keep is based on what you actually do in life. Then, storing your stuff based on how often, and where you use it.
One of the most things people collected during lockdown was plastic bags, what should people do with them instead of throwing them away?
You can either recycle plastic bags, or better ideas for plastic bags are using them to donate items you don’t want. Bags can also be used as trash liners, or you can share them with neighbors/friends encouraging them to donate their unwanted items.
Instead of throwing something away, is it possible to give it a new lease of life?
I love helping people upcycle and repurpose everything they want to keep. I don’t believe in throwing anything away that can be used, gifted, sold or donated. The only things that go in the trash are recyclables, toxic and ewaste, and things that are ruined and cannot be salvaged. Always trash things responsibly.
People hate getting rid of things, why is that? Mostly sentiment. Things can symbolize experiences you’ve had, people, places you’ve been. Sometimes it’s about how much money you spent on a particular item. Also, most of us since childhood were taught not to be wasteful, and to appreciate what you have.
Prince Charles recently spoke about how we easily throw things away and he has asked that we stop doing that and find a use for things, what do you think about his statement?
I agree with Prince Charles. These junk trucks picking up perfectly good things is tragic for our dumps and the environment. There are so many deserving charities, and people who will pick things up for free. Stop and think about how much inanimate goods are strewn across our beautiful planet. One person’s junk is someone else’s enchantment.
Decluttering is not just about putting the home in order. Decluttering can also help people to earn money from the things they no longer want. Where can people sell their unwanted items?
Online marketplaces, consignment stores, garage sales, and auctions. Many people barter with their stuff, and you can also gift your belongings instead of buying a new gift.
A scientist claimed in a recent report on human behaviour that decluttering is less about tidying up and more about focusing on what really matters to you, do you agree with that and can you explain more?
Yes, I always say matter matters, yet your life, the people you love and that love you are the most important aspects of life. Stuff is just stuff. You can have strong feelings of attachment to your lot in life, yet things will never create or make your life better.
If lockdown happens again, what tips do you have to maintain a better home during lockdown?
With more lockdowns get very, very creative with your space. Move furniture around until there is great energy and flow. Get more shelves, racks in the garage, and cabinets to hold everything you own. Create the best possible space you can imagine.
Your book ‘The Clutter Remedy: A Guide To Getting Organized For Those Who Love Their Stuff’ has become a big hit, can you tell me more about the book?
It is not your ordinary get “neat and tidy” book. It starts with cleansing your inner processes, and learning how to self heal to get clarity. Then it focuses on how you communicate with yourself and others. Next, the actual clutter remedy step by step, and room by room. Also, seasonal organizing and working through anything that will block you from getting and remaining organized.
How will people wishing to declutter their home find your book useful?
I studied people for 17 years as a social worker and psychotherapist. The past 10 years I’ve owned my Decluttering business www.i-deal-lifestyle.com I’ve organized over 2500 properties. I understand clutter, because I had some of the same challenges most of my clients have, prior to understanding how to stop the clutter cycle. I figured out solutions for what I call perpetual organization. I’ve helped 1000’s upon thousands of people in my life. The book is filled with everything to help declutter and then remain organized for good. The book really does replace me as a professional organizer.
To learn more about Marla Stone, please visit https://www.i-deal-lifestyle.com
Check out her new book The Clutter Remedy: A Guide To Getting Organized For Those Who Love Their Stuff: