This year it seemed like everyone was in a decluttering frenzy. Marie Kondo and her book “Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up” brought folding to a whole new level.

Kondo’s philosophy to only keep items that “bring joy” made the minimalist lifestyle all the rage.

Pinterest hacks for DIY projects that would help make your spaces look aesthetically organized and Buzzfeed listicles with weekly tips to sort out various areas of your life were plentiful.

There were even think pieces that tried to unpack the psychology behind the tidying up craze.

But if you didn’t jump on the tidying up bandwagon in 2016 and you still want to get your life together, Professional Organizers Canada president, Stephanie Deakin, gave some of her top tips on how to get your home organized and keep it organized in 2017.



“The number one thing I tell my clients is to make a plan, not just a resolution,” she said.

So whether you break down your organizational tasks into different rooms and items or make a vow to clean something every Saturday, Deakin isn’t fussed.

“It doesn’t matter what the plan is, it just matters that you have one.”


Marie Kondo

“I mostly see the people who’ve spent hours and hours on the internet and they have a big file of Pinterest pictures but they haven’t actually done anything.”

While Deakin doesn’t deny that some fads or hacks could be valuable for the right person, she emphasized that one shouldn’t try and make something work just because it was in a book or blog post or because everyone else seems to be doing it.

Whether it’s Marie Kondo’s method, a filing cabinet or a Pinterest hack, Deakin advised that it has to feel right for you.

“[Marie Kondo method] is really nice if you’re 22 and live in Japan,” said Deakin, “But it’s not going to work so well for a family of six.”



Once you’ve got a plan in place the next hurdle is to actually commence the cleaning-up process.

Deakin has noticed that people often get stuck trying to figure out where to begin. They either procrastinate starting because the task seems too daunting or they find other things to do that may seem more pressing.

But she told “It doesn’t matter where you start, just start,” reminding that it’s silly to expect to accomplish everything at once.



Deakin suggested looking for areas in your home where things often pile up or are constantly in a state of disorder.

She gave the common example of the front entrance, which is often cluttered with shoes, bags, coats, mail etc.

“Unless there’s a place for things to go that’s always going to happen,” she said.

“There’s no use decluttering if the underlying problem is still there. So think about systems as your decluttering.”

In other words, find a systematic solution that will help manage those problem areas and keep them from becoming messy.

Again, Deakin stressed that the solution needs to work for you. Don’t just go buying things that you know won’t work in your household.

Giving the examples of filing cabinets, she explained: "I’ve been in so many offices that have piles of paper everywhere but the filing cabinets are empty!”



Once it’s been decided that you no longer need a certain item, Deakin advised to get it out of the house.

“There’s two reasons for that,” she explained, “It stops people from second-guessing themselves. Once the box is gone to Goodwill there’s no getting it back.”

The other reason is for the positive reinforcement of seeing things getting less cluttered, which in turn helps keep the decluttering momentum going.



Finally, if it all seems too much for you to handle on your own, get help.

“Help is out there,” said Deakin, “Don’t give up! If you can’t do it by yourself ask for help.”

One Google search for professional organizer brings up a host of websites offering their services, some charging expensive rates.

But Deakin told that hiring a professional organizer doesn’t necessarily mean you have to pay thousands of dollars.

“There’s a wide range of help out there from telephone coaching to motivational or accountability services,” she said.

Deakin recommended using the Professional Organizers in Canada website to find an organizer in your area.

However, Deakin cautioned that whatever you do don’t ask your mother, friends or significant other for help.

“Your family and friends have a degree of emotional investment and they’re not professionals,” she explained.

Although she suggested that you make sure they’re on board with your decluttering and organizing plans if they will be affected.