Eliminating the superfluous: beyond the Marie Kondo’s method

The KonMari is not the only method to reorganize your house. It is adapted by the Spanish organizers to the Mediterranean character. Because it is not only a matter of throwing and arrange things, it is about happiness.

Have a look around. How many of the things you are looking at bring something to your daily life? According to statistics, an average European family of 4 members that used to have 20 or 30 objects a hundred years ago, now has 2 or 3 thousand objects. Maybe it is time to rethink your emotional ties with your belongings. To do so, the best thing is to be assisted by a professional.

The organizer profession is young but yet in growing demand, also thanks to María Gallay, the first professional organizer who started in 2003 in Spain. In order to give this profession visibility, together with Cloti Martinez and Adelaida Gómez, she decided to found AOPE, the Spanish Professional Organizers Association, that is currently holding its second Annual Congress in Barcelona. However, what is the organizers work really about?

The power of organizing

“I devote myself to make people happy, to make them live more comfortably in the most sacred space we all have, which is home”. This is how Alicia Iglesias, one of the most media-friendly organizer in the national scene, outlines her job. However, can the order really help us be happier? According to María Gallay, the key is time, since “order and organization can help us simplify the management of our things. Whatever makes us save time to do what we really want to do, makes us happier”.

Can the order be addictive? María Gallay is pretty sure: “Yes! It is addictive and contagious! Which proves that it is something practical and functional, to those who dare to move on to other wardrobes, other spaces, other routines. And it is contagious to the other family members, friends and colleagues”. Many new customers are relatives or friends of satisfied customers.

An organizer can help you get the most out of your house. Photo: reorganizarte.com

Taking out the unnecessary

Every day we bring home many more things than we take out and most of the times it becomes necessary to select things in order to get a functioning organization system. María Gallay suggest that you take advantage of the wardrobe change, for example, to select clothes and shoes. Or also the tax return to get rid of bills older than 5 years or doing a pre-moving in order not to pay to move objects that we did not even remember we had and that will eventually become a burden in the new house.

I am sure the thought of throwing away your precious belongings makes you sick. But you can always renovate or sell them. Cloti Martínez explains that the goal of an organizer “is not to get rid of your stuff, but to be able to live comfortably in the space you have at your disposal and with your mind at ease.” When you organize and take out the unnecessary, you start to like it, since the act of selecting and discarding makes your space less crowded. But each one in their own place can have whatever they want as they like, if they can afford it, if they can manage it and if it doesn’t invade someone else’s space”, María specifies.


Beyond the Konmari method

When, in 2015, the order magic of the Japanese Marie Kondo triumphed in the bookstores worldwide, María Gallay had already being working 10 yeas as an organizer. I reckon that there is a “before and after”, because together with her books a significant media exposure arrived. But there were already several of us working as organizers in Spain. However, her 3 million copies sold worldwide, allow them to avoid lots of explanations about their profession and encouraged others to take the leap. In 2017 the first annual congress of the AOPE was attended by 50 participants of 21 cities.  A number that will surely be higher at the present convention.

Despite Alicia Iglesias admits that the Japanese woman contributed a lot, her method is quite different, since she incorporates the Spanish cultural, architectural and managerial differences and also the Mediterranean lifestyle. The main difference according to Iglesias is that the KonMari method focuses on objects, hers focuses on people. As well as other Spanish organizers, she wants to teach her clients how to live in a simpler way, by removing not only spare objects, but also the habits, making their life easier.

There are other differences, such as the idea that almost every organizer does the wardrobe change. If Marie Kondo claims that we have to reduce our clothes to have just one wardrobe for the entire year, they encourage to do a wardrobe change between seasons, something that can come in hand to review and get rid of stuff you don’t use. The importance we give to food also makes the kitchen a place receiving particular attention, with the organization of the cupboard and the fridge as key points.

Organization, design and interior decoration

Architects, interior designers, furniture designers… According to Maria Gallay “everybody has been influenced by a global flow. Luckily for the order obsessives!”.  Over the past few years, the organizers noted how designers and providers make an effort to help simplify, make the objects practical, offer further solutions. An example? “There are more and more specialized stores that offer specific items and accessories that could only be pursued in the United States or Japan.

If order is a way of living and manage our stuff, the interior designer can help by offering solutions of structures and supplements. At the same time, the order helps the interior design offer its best side. We only need to have a look at the stunning pictures in the decoration magazines, in which the houses are perfectly organized and everything is exactly where it should be.  “But I don’t organize because of the aesthetics”, clarifies María, “I do organize because it is essential that every little thing have its place where I can find it, so that other people use it and put it back where it belongs, to be able to clean it, not to waste time, so that the objects and the house work for us and not the other way around”.


Where do we get started?

Surely, shortly after reading this article you feel the need for “straightening” your house.  To get started you can browse some of the blogs in which the organizers share their knowledge, such as Simply Organized or Deliciously Organized …” Or you can read some of the books that are already in the market.