Ditch clutter for good with these expert-approved tips from a professional organizer

Kate Mendonca
·Shopping Editor
Image via The Tidy Moose.
Image via The Tidy Moose.

Staying organized can be a challenge at any time of year, but with kids home for the summer things can easily start to pile up if the whole family doesn’t work together to keep things tidy. When it becomes too much to tackle on your own and it feels like the mess is taking over, it’s time to call in an expert.

Like a fairy godmother arriving to whip things into shape, a professional organizer can help declutter your home, saving your time and sanity in the process. Ivanka Siolkowsky, a.k.a. The Tidy Moose, is one such professional organizer and official Konmari method consultant.

We recently spoke to the Toronto-based organizer and best-selling author, who shared her top tips on tackling clutter and getting the family involved in the process.

What are your top tips for getting started on reorganizing the home?

“Purge first, buy storage later. Often times my clients want to get into buying new storage right away, but you don’t need more storage; you need less stuff. Decide what doesn’t improve your quality of life, and find a better home for it,” says Siolkowsky.

“There are many places and organizations who will accept donations, so research your area and donate appropriately. Next, be mindful of how you accumulate things moving forward.”

How should you get started when tackling a big organization project?

“Don’t organize things by room, organize them by category. Start with clothing because clothing is something you access every single day, and it already has a high turnover so it’ll be easy to say goodbye to things you know you’ve not been wearing,” Siolkowsky explains. “Next go through the Konmari categories: clothing, books/papers, miscellaneous (kitchen, sporting goods, bathroom, etc.) and sentimental items.”

How can you get the entire family on board?

“Make the process fun. Open the windows, get the fresh air pumping and crank some music [to create a fun atmosphere],” the professional organizer explains. “If that’s not good enough, try a reward such as, ‘When we’re done this we’ll go out for a family dinner.’”

As a very last resort, Siolkowsky suggests a removal of privileges.

“Owning a smartphone or tablet is a privilege, not a right,”she says. “If you’re getting pushback from the kids, simply say, ‘You’ll get these back when the task is done.’ That’s obviously the last resort for a reason, but it works.”

Any last tips for maintaining organization and not returning to old habits?

“Create schedules to maintain the work that’s been done. I like to set an alarm at the end of every day to give me 15 minutes to get things back in order. We often spend more than 15 minutes scrolling through social media before bed, so we definitely have the time.”

Once it becomes a habit, it becomes much easier to maintain the work that’s already been done. As a final tip Siolkowsky says that “the more often you do it, the less you’ll have to do. Putting away one T-shirt at the end of the day takes less time than putting away 10 at the end of the week.”

If you’re feeling inspired to take on your own household clutter, Siolkowsky also shared some of her favourite organizational products for the home. Take a look and shop her top picks below!

IKEA Rabbla Box with Compartments

Image via IKEA.
Image via IKEA.

SHOP IT: IKEA, $15

IKEA Skubb Boxes (set of 6)

Image via IKEA.
Image via IKEA.

SHOP IT: IKEA, $10

IKEA Kuggis Box with Lid

Image via Ikea.
Image via IKEA.

SHOP IT: IKEA, $10

MUJI Soft Polyethylene Case

Image via Muji.
Image via MUJI.

SHOP IT: MUJI, $9

Rebrilliant Bamboo 5 Piece Drawer Organizer Set

Image via Wayfair.
Image via Wayfair.

SHOP IT: Wayfair, $43

IKEA Variera Bamboo Flatwear Tray

Image via IKEA.
Image via IKEA.

SHOP IT: IKEA, $25

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