How a spring spruce can do wonders for your wellbeing
Recently a lot of the companies I work with have requested their staff workshops focus on time management and creating time to think. One of the workshop elements looks at decluttering both physically and mentally.
Clearing your physical space has many wellbeing benefits so I caught up with Vicky Silverthorn, professional de-clutterer and home organiser of the stars (her clients include Ed Sheeran, Jamie Dornan, Lilly Allen and players from the England rugby team) to find out her top tips for sprucing your home and workspace.
Vicky you’re a bit of an organisational ninja how did you end up in your job?
I was a PA for nearly 10 years and figured out the bit I loved best about my role was the physical organisation of my bosses lives. I recognised how happy it made them and the enormous difference it made to their headspace, organisation levels and clarity.
If you’re not particularly organised and need to overhaul your home or office where’s the best place to start?
The mistake most people make is to look at organising their space as one giant task. It’s not, its many small ones. The attitude to take is to start small - this helps people feel less overwhelmed.
Secondly to only start a job you can finish that day. Start on something, work on it and then complete…that’s the way it should work even if it’s only a tiny area. That way you will always feel a sense of satisfaction and not negativity.
How does decluttering boost your wellbeing?
It gives you the feeling of clarity, the feeling that you are in control of your life again - and your stuff. With every item we buy or own there is almost this invisible level of responsibility whether it is at the back of a cupboard or used every day. A home FULL of stuff is a mass of extra and unnecessary responsibility. When life is so busy as it is who needs this? When you know where your stuff is, when you can put your hand on anything you need at any given time and when tidying is made easy because everything has a home - well that’s contentment. It means you can relax in your space and feel calm.
What kind of wellbeing improvements do your clients see after decluttering?
Always at the end of the day it’s like they can breathe again. It’s like a weight has been lifted and a burden has been taken away. Less stress - absolutely! Less anxiety - definitely and more head space for sure.
Once you’ve had a spring spruce what’s your advice for keeping on top of it and not falling back into bad habits?
Be aware of what’s coming into your home and what you are buying. Try and retrain yourself when it comes to your buying habits. Would you believe my clients tell me that they feel a buzz of happiness when they are getting rid of items and this FAR outweighs the buzz of a new purchase. This isn’t uncommon - it’s ALL my clients! Now that says something. A treat should be just that - a treat. Where is the fun in buying something new if that is every single day?
From a practical perspective always ensure everything has a home and never cram. Be mindful as to where you are putting things, make sure it makes sense.
What do you do to relax and switch off?
I light a candle and I watch TV - always something with a great storyline. I also love to cook and have got into it much more lately. Walking is also one of my favourite things to do. There is nothing like a big walk with lovely views and a friend.
What’s your top tips to getting organised?
So firstly, it’s a what not to do. Don’t go out and buy a load of baskets and gimmicky products.
Declutter first and work out then if there is anything you need to buy. People are often surprised that when they have less stuff how little they need to purchase. The home has more storage than you think when you have less stuff.
Again, the golden rule is ensuring everything has a home. This helps avoid piles of clutter.
Keep whatever system you are implementing simple - as simple as you can possibly imagine. Sometimes when complicated systems are chosen (complicated is often mistaken for clever systems) then they are too hard to keep up. Your system has to suit your lifestyle and for most that includes being incredibly time poor and often fast paced.