Decluttering is sweeping the nation, in fact, it’s sweeping the world. With the lock down due to the COVID-19, millions of people have found themselves running out of things to do. So, what do you do when you have nothing else to do, the job you hate to do of course. And, that is declutter your home.
We have a habit of not throwing things away. You can go around your home and find things that you are too scared to throw away and don’t know why. I bet there are items in your home that you have never used, but you just can’t bring yourself to either sell them, donate them, or put them in the trash can. Well, you are not alone.
Tens of millions of people are hoarders, keeping things they no longer use, and things that are old tatty and even broken. Some people keep so much clutter they run out of space, so what should you do when you are struggling and want to do a declutter. Well, the answer is, call the decluttering experts.
Marla Stone, a decluttering expert and the founder I-Deal Lifestyle knows all about clutter. She has helped more than 4000 people to get organized. She has become such an expert she has written a book and has been featured in media all over the world. So, we decided to sit down with Marla Stone and talk about clutter and her life as a decluttering expert.
Marla Stone a former social worker and psychotherapist has helped over 4000 people get organized for good by helping them realize their dreams and goals for an ideal lifestyle. She helps people get decluttered permanently by using clearing and healing strategies she developed while treating military personnel at Camp Pendleton. The strategies help heal ptsd and trauma and make it easier to declutter without all the drama. Her book The Clutter Remedy: A Guide to Getting Organized for Those Who Love Their Stuff lives up to its title as a user-friendly guide to de-cluttering one’s home, lifestyle, and personal space. Chapters address how get family members to put things back in their proper place, reliable criteria for choosing what to keep and what to discard, how certain bad habits of thinking can obstruct one’s efforts to remain organized long-term, and much more. The Clutter Remedy is ultimately an invaluable time-saver that will dramatically reduce the amount of aimless hours spent looking for that one important item amid heaps of unsorted materials.
Marla Stone, Tell us about yourself… how did you become The Organizing Diva?
I’m a former psychotherapist turned professional lifestyle organizer in 2010. During the economic crisis in 2008 I had an epiphany about helping people, in a different way. I had helped thousands of people heal and reinvent themselves, yet I knew I could help even more people as a lifestyle organizer. I also wanted to move around more and use my interior design skills.
So, you are Lifestyle Organizing Expert, what does that mean and what do you do?
I help clients clear out emotional clutter, organize their inner selves and help them create life goals, before diving into their collections. I also help people realize, and dream up their ideal lifestyle, while improving their communication and relationship skills. Next, I manifest an ideal environment for my clients, one they’ve always longed for.
How did you become a Lifestyle Organizing Expert?
I have a bachelors degree in psychology and a masters degree in social work, and a passion for decorating and Feng Shui. Organizing people’s lives, and their spaces is part of my DNA. I have spatial abilities to help create more space for all the things people want in their lives. I love to beautify your entire life, not just the clutter.
Has learning organization skills changed your life?
Yes, originally I was a lot like my clients. Everything on the outside looked great, yet the drawers and closets were stuffed with forfeited and forgotten stuff. I also had some attention and follow through challenges. When I read the existing books on decluttering, the strategies such as piling stuff and making decisions based on “feelings,” didn’t resonate with me or my clients. I created the Clutter Remedy Strategies, which make getting organized a cinch, and stress free. I wanted a way to stay organized permanently, for myself and my clients too.
What does it say about a person who hates to throw things away? People love stuff. They hesitate during a Decluttering project because they don’t have a good criteria for what to keep in their life. I created The Clear and Concise Criteria for what to keep in your life.
The criteria are: Will you use it?
Does it serve a purpose? Is it sentimental?
Do you love it? When one concentrates on what to keep versus what to toss the whole project becomes drama free.
We did an article a few years ago on how teenagers who live at home have a messy room and don’t throw anything away, but when they leave home, their new home is spotless, why is that?
Well, I’m not sure if that applies to all young people. I’ve decluttered a lot of dorm rooms and apartments for younger folks, that made big messes on their own. Also, I’ve seen a lot of young people who have become minimalists and are wanting some decor and furniture placement ideas too. They literally don’t have a clue how to set up a home, much less where to hang a picture. A lot of younger people have fear of bringing anything into the home because they don’t want to end up with clutter.
Why do you think we have such a big problem with clutter?
As a society, we have become insatiable when it comes to getting stuff. There’s always the new this or that. Also humans are very sentimental when it comes to stuff. Yet, I don’t care how much stuff my clients have. I help them use the Clear and Concise Criteria, keep what they want and then teach them how to stay organized. Clutter can turn into loved things once it’s all categorized, contained and put away in a special home.
I have things in my home that I have had for more than twenty years and I have never used them, why am I finding it so hard to get rid of them?
They may meet another category. Ask yourself the four questions while going through all your items. When you cannot answer yes to any of the four criteria question, then you can also figure out how to symbolize your items. Symbolizing your stuff inspires you to see why you hold onto things, and what they truly mean to you.
Who are more likely to keep hold of items that they never use men or women?
I work with men and women equally. Anyone with attachment challenges, regardless of gender will have difficulty going through their stuff. Having good, solid strategies and results can be achieved by anyone who wants change in their lives.
You said recently in an interview that you can keep your home tidy while keeping the things you love, can you explain?
Yes, as long as everything you keep is categorized, fine tuned, contained, and there is a special home for everything you own, you can keep it all. I find shelving, armoires, office furniture, cabinets and dressers to create space to hold all the things that meet my client’s criteria. Many times clutter is simply a result of not having enough furniture or garage shelves.
What five tips can you provide for de-cluttering?
Categorize everything you own into broad categories, before making any decisions about what to keep, use The Clear and Concise Criteria to choose what stays and what goes, fine tune all your categories, space plan where everything goes and set up your space.
Keep daily, weekly, monthly items close by, and items rarely used farther away.
What should people do with their unwanted clutter?
Donating to your favorite charity stores is always a great way to discard what you don’t want. When something is valuable you can sell items with online sales groups or give them as gifts. When there is trash please discard responsibly at ewaste and toxic facilities. You can look up free green waste facilities near you.
You have written a book called The Clutter Remedy A Guide To Getting Organized For Those Who Love Their Stuff, can you tell me more about the book?
It’s all my secrets about how to not only get organized but how to remain organized for good. Chapter one is about the inner, emotional aspects of clutter, healing old wounds and figuring out what you truly want out of life. Chapter two is about changing how you speak to yourself and others, and improving communication and relationship skills, while increasing productivity five-fold.
Chapter three is The Clutter Remedy Strategy, and how to become as good as a professional organizer, to do it yourself. Chapter 4 is how to organize room by room – kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms kid’s areas, home offices, and how to share space with others.
Chapter 5 is how to have perpetual organization year round and how to store seasonal items with finesse. Chapter 6 is about reinventing and invigorating your space with tons of design and storage tips and chapter 7 is how to work through over-collecting, mental health symptoms, and grief and loss challenges resulting in cluttered spaces. This chapter addresses anything that will block you from getting and remaining organized, giving you inspiration and kudos for getting perpetually organized.
How will your book help people?
The book has already helped thousands of people. I’m getting emails and letters from people all over the world that have attempted Decluttering with numerous professional organizers, by themselves, or with family members, only to re-clutter again fairly quickly. They tell me they were like a human in a hamster wheel going round and round in an endless cycle of clutter to clear and back to clutter, before using the strategies. The book is a layered read. It’s great for a loved one stuck in clutter all the way to someone who wants to elevate their space and their life, exponentially.
Do you believe that a clutter free home provides a healthy and relaxed mind?
Absolutely, especially when the world, job, and family life is chaotic. When there is loss, health challenges, and suffering people get growing pains and want something more out of life. Having an aesthetically pleasing and functional space is always conducive to inner harmony and peace. The inner is a reflection of the outer. So bringing the outer to calm means you will be calm. Creating space that gives you space to chill out and have fun, is essential to a well lived life.
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: