Organisation sounds a tad uninspiring, tricky, even tedious. There. We said it. But, what if it could gift you time to do all the things you love? Peter Walsh – chief clutter-buster for The Living Room – teaches us how to enrich our lives with a few simple tips.
Let’s face it. Life is busy. The days are short. And whilst the saying says a rolling stone gathers no moss, when you finally pull up + look around you, the landscape can look like a green lichen wilderness. Where on earth does all this shtuff come from? Chaos.
De-cluttering is a skill. BUT everyone can learn it. Whether you stockpile your footy socks or play the dirty-plate-Jenga game, you can be saved… Plus, gaining control over your space will enhance your life. It could even make you HAPPY. 🙂
“The process may be difficult at first,” Peter Walsh says, “but once it’s begun, people don’t look back. It didn’t take long to realise that this was a worthwhile career goal for me… helping people sort out their personal chaos.”
Peter Walsh’s previous life was in organisational change. He was preaching the art of keeping employees happy when he stumbled into celeb-stardom. A professional secondment to the US unexpectedly drew him to the wild world of teev. Friends in LA suggested he audition for a show – CLEAN SWEEP. 120 episodes later, a modern-day miracle worker was born.
Peter credits the USA’s penchant for Aussie accents for the success of CLEAN SWEEP. But we’re not fooled. This man lives by the adage – “A place for everything and everything in its place”. “It’s very do-able,” Peter says. “It just requires mindfulness and clear direction.”
Drawing on his recent transformation on The Living Room (check our pics and also here!), he teaches us how to tame the anarchy!
SIGN ON FOR REAL CHANGE
It sounds a bit Mishbridges but there it is. Ironically Peter believes that real organising is not about the stuff. It’s about whether the objects you bring into your home help or hinder you from living the life you want.
HAVE A VISION
Invest time in considering what you want from life – personally – to ensure a smoother transition.
“If you define your vision and stick with it then making decisions about what to bring into the home and what to discard is much easier,” Peter says. “And the change in the way you live your life is profound.”
Examine the problem areas in your home – they offer an insight into your inner space. Your living habits have evolved over the years and reflect the intrinsic you. That’s why everyone’s clutter is different.
“Some people tend to come in at the end of a busy day and just dump everything in the kitchen. Some feel so overwhelmed by financial issues that their offices become filled with piles. For others, the laundry room or their closet ends up feeling like a bomb site. I’m not a psychologist but I do believe that it’s not too hard to figure out why people let certain rooms go…”
Clutter begins with unfinished activities…
“When you start something, finish it. When you take something out of a drawer, or out of a room, put it back when you’re finished using it. When you get up in the morning, make your bed. Train yourself to stop using the word ‘later’ and you’ll be amazed at how much progress you make.”
LET GO THE NEED TO PRE-EMPT THE FUTURE
“Many studies have shown that people often make decisions trying to minimise pain, as opposed to maximising happiness,” Peter says. “That translates into people holding onto items because they’re worried that they may need it one day, or that if they toss it, they’ll lose the memory associated with that item.
Instead, I try to get people to concentrate on the amazing freedom, peace, and optimism they feel with an open uncluttered space.”
FEELING OVERWHELMED? START SMALL
Make a commitment you can manage – say 10-15mins a day.
“Just grab two bags and walk around any room for just 10 minutes. In one bag, throw any garbage out; in the other, anything you want to give to charity. If you do that process every day for a week you’ll be amazed at how much of a jump start you’ve made.”
NO SPACE IS TOO FAR GONE
Trust Peter. He knows. He once de-cluttered a hoarder’s haven for a 2 part segment on The Oprah Winfrey Show. It took 80 people 10 weeks to wrangle the three-story four-bedroom home into order.
“To give you an idea of how much stuff was in the home, the master bedroom was on the second floor. We opened the window in that room and started throwing the clothes out onto a tarp on the ground below. By the time we finished just the clothes in that room, we could walk directly out that window onto the pile of clothes.
We found more than 3,500 women’s handbags in the home and over 3,000 pair of shoes. I’m proud to say that that family made gigantic changes in their lives and to this day now live in an uncluttered home.”
This gives us faith…
ADD THINGS BACK IN WITH MINDFULNESS
So you’ve cleared things out – when you’re introducing new décor accents, weigh up the temporary pleasure of purchasing something with its long-term value.
Ask yourself: “Will this item move me closer to or further away from the life I want to live or from the kind of space I want to have?”
THEN LET YOUR INNER CHILD DANCE
“When you declutter a family room, children immediately start to dance,” Peter says. “It happens every time. For me that says it all. The world can feel overwhelming, scary, daunting – but if your own personal space has some order and neatness, you give yourself a feeling of peace and tranquillity.”
THE CHALLENGES OF THE LIVING ROOM PROJECT
“The time constraints were tough here,” Peter says. “We had a huge space to de-clutter, makeover and reorganize in just two days so things had to move fast. Also, the Sydney weather wasn’t so accommodating and it’s tough to get things done when all the contents of a room are on the lawn and it decides to rain!!”
PETER’S FAVE THING ABOUT THIS PROJECT?
“I loved the dynamic between mother and daughter on this project. The love that Deb and Laura had for each other and their preparedness to do the hard work together that was necessary was really inspiring.”
All images supplied by The Living Room.