A new profession is catching on in Bengaluru: decluttering.
Ishani Omar, miniature artiste and entrepreneur, consulted a decluttering service four months ago when she realised her workspace had way too many things.
“I need all my craft material near me when I work on a project. It ends up being extremely messy,” she says.
A professional ‘organiser’ stepped in. “It took us about an hour or two. Every single thing was arranged in a way that I could easily access it,” she says.
The expert also gave her tips on how to keep her space tidy. “Simple things help, like having separate baskets and boxes. My workspace now looks clean,” she told Metrolife.
Many, like Ishani, have started relying on professionals to throw away things they don’t need.
Home and mind
Shreya Agarwal, who started a professional organising venture in 2019, has seen a marked increase in interest since the pandemic.
“People are spending more time in their homes. For working parents, organising their home would be extremely low priority,” she says.
Many want to clean up their homes, but they just don’t have the time to even think about how they can go about it. This is where a professional can help, she says. The Kon Marie method is one of the most popular methods of decluttering, and it uses a philosophy developed by Japanese organising consultant Marie Kondo.
India has only three certified Kon Marie consultants at the moment. Bengaluru-based Priyanka Joseph is one of them. After reading one of Marie Kondo’s books in 2015, she began applying the philosophy in her own routine, and found it ‘life-changing’.
“I was never a disorganised person, but as a woman in her 30s, with two kids, I had a lot on my plate. Decluttering helped provide a lot of clarity,” she says.
Decluttering is not just about physical spaces. “It translates into your work, relationships and even your health,” she says. Regardless of the method, the process of decluttering is not something one can now simply outsource. The client has to be involved. “You are working with the belongings of a person. They have to make the decisions,” says Shreya.
The time required to declutter varies from home to home and the needs of the client. In the Kon Marie method, the focus is on categories, such as clothes, books, and papers.
“Once the person decides what to keep, and what to give away, we work on an efficient storage method,” says Priyanka. Decluttering a 3BHK home for a family of four would take anywhere between 25 and 28 hours.
However, most people opt for just a portion of the home, such as the wardrobe and the kitchen, which takes three to five hours.
Priyanka charges between Rs 1,200 and Rs 2,000 per hour.
It the client makes decisions quickly, work gets done faster, says Shreya. For her, decluttering a whole home can take five to six days.
Most clients are upper-middle-class, working women. “About 80 per cent I have worked with are working moms. I have had a few women clients without kids. But it’s rarely ever men,” says Shreya.
Even among married couples, it is always the women who take part in the process. “I have worked with only one couple so far, where both husband and wife took turns and were equally active. It took about five hours for us to declutter their wardrobe,” says Priyanka.
Most women first ask for decluttering of their personal space. Once they learn the process, they apply it to their kids’ spaces.
With the pandemic, many are opting for virtual consultations. The process is slightly different, with little room for hand-holding.
“We meet online and go over their requirements, and I draw up a schedule for each day. Instructions are sent beforehand. A few hours are blocked, and that is when we remain connected,” says Priyanka.
At the moment, there are no certifying bodies in India. Those interested in pursuing this line get certified abroad. The US-based National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) is one such body.