The whole Marie Kondo thing never held much weight with me. I mean how much joy can folded socks really spark? Saying that, since having kids and spending 24-7 tidying up their stuff, my own closet has become such a neglected dumping ground that I tend to avoid it, as it depresses me so much and I end up throwing most of my clothes on my bedroom chairs instead.
Enter Sarah Griffin of Harmonised Home, a professional organiser who will declutter and re-organise areas of your home (closets, kitchens, garages, offices, bathrooms) as well as offering advice on interior styling and personal shopping.
Having spent years in management positions in luxury fashion, interiors and jewellery retail, Griffin has learned the value of organisation, inventory and merchandising and now applies the same principles to her clients’ homes.
“It sounds odd that you can turn people’s lives around by simplifying and beautifying their surroundings, but decluttering and reorganisation can often be an emotional journey, such as letting go of pieces after a bereavement, or a break-up, or downsizing from the family home,” says Griffin. “In my experience, the end result is always a happy relief.”
Griffin allocates three hours to tackle my closet, and while I work away on the laptop downstairs, she starts by pulling everything out of my chaotic closet and arranging it in categories (sportswear, sleepwear, underwear, work suits, occasion wear and so on) across beds, chairs and every available surface upstairs.
When she calls me up to see what three decades of compulsive shopping really look like, I am fearful she will make me throw out anything that has not been worn in years. On the contrary, she encourages me to keep pieces I love and instead makes a mini archive of debs, wedding, 21st-birthday dresses and accessories for me in tidy garment bags to live in the spare room closet instead. I am so embarrassed by how much stuff I have, I need little encouragement to start culling. Before I know it I have filled three black bags for the charity shop (which Griffin kindly takes away in her car afterwards).
Before anything goes back into the wardrobe, we discuss whether it merits hanging or folding. What needs a hanger is hung according to length and colour, making it easy to see what’s available. In as much as possible, Griffin prefers to fold and stack – and she uses Kondo’s technique of folding jeans/T-shirts and so on into little parcels so they can stand up in drawers, making them easier to store and select from. My closet has no drawers – just open shelves – so we also salvage empty plastic containers and wicker baskets from around the house and separate the various elements: tights, bras, belts, bags and so on into each one. Boots, shoes and runners are restacked and re-ordered and everything else nicely boxed in around it.
It's been a week since our session, and I'm amazed at the difference it has made to my life. Getting dressed is much faster and a less daunting prospect. I've less clothes but feel like I've many more options available and can put outfits together with more style than I have for years. We also unearthed a few classic pieces I'd forgotten about and I've been angelical about folding and staking my clothes in their specific boxes ever since. On an emotional level it is particularly nice doing something just for me and focusing solely on my wardrobe – like the fashion equivalent of going to a spa for an afternoon. From a practical point of view, it's spurred me on to tackle the rest of the house, although I've only managed to buy loads of storage boxes from TK Maxx, so I might just have to call Griffin back yet.
Sarah Griffin offers services to private and commercial clients, with prices starting at €200 for three hours or €320 for five. harmonisedhome.ie