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Interview: the greater effects of organising your home

A movement led by tidying-up guru Marie Kondo, getting your home shipshape has never been trendier. We sat down with KonMari expert Eva Uppsäll to hear her story of how organising her home paved the way for a better everyday life.

Woman sitting by table smiling at the camera, folding textiles in a way to make them stand in file rather than build a pile.
Woman sitting by table smiling at the camera, folding textiles in a way to make them stand in file rather than build a pile.

A feeling of never being completely done

For IKEA, of course, organising is always in vogue. We can’t get enough of hearing about the challenges people face, and learn more about what we can do to improve life at home. Eva Uppsäll, an entrepreneur living in the south of Sweden, can testify to the benefits of an organised home. Her journey has a clear before-and-after storyline.

How did all this start for you?
– I was at a point in my life that, well, didn’t offer a lot of spare oxygen. I had just started my own business, had a part-time job and three small children, lived in a house with double ongoing renovations – and felt a constant frustration over never having my things in order. Whole rooms were used as dumping grounds, filled with stuff that had no clear destination. I would make futile attempts at tidying up. Coming out three hours later, having moved things around but with the mess intact.

The clutter and how it’s all connected

And then...
– Then one day I came across the KonMari method, which presented a very structured approach to the problem. Being a scientifically oriented person, that aspect spoke to me. I did some online research and felt it was worth a try. Honestly, that anything was worth a try.

What made this different?
– I would say the biggest difference is that it wasn’t just a set of organising tips, but also a new way of thinking about your belongings. Principles that can be applied to your life in a broader sense than getting random toys off the floor. Before, my mistake was to tidy up one spot at a time. Sure it works for the time being, but that order tends to be short-lived. Instead, I went through the house by categories: clothes, books, tools and so on. It took a little longer, and some commitment, but it has had longer-lasting effects. For me, there’s a definite before and after. We made it through this big, one-time effort – and we’ve more or less managed to maintain that order since.

When everything in the home has an address

Eva explains how the family has become more mindful of the things they have. A key principle of the method is to care about what you own. If an item doesn’t mean anything to you, is it really worth holding on to? This also creates a system built on a positive decision – you actively choose your keepers, rather than single out items to discard. They ended up giving, recycling and throwing away a mountain of stuff. Which, in turn, made it possible to actually create a system where virtually every item has a home in the home.

What if you compare your old situation to today?
– It’s simply two different homes. Everything has its designated place now. And often stays there! On the whole, the process has rendered several unexpected results. Like our kids’ changed mindset. Since they were involved, too, they have a much better sense of where things go now – which in turn seems to make them less inclined to make a mess in the first place. Also, it has become much easier to avoid buying new things unless we really need or want them. It may sound like we have thrown everything out and turned to minimalism, but that’s not the case at all. Having fewer things isn’t the goal, it’s just a bonus.

A message worth spreading

– That’s just the thing. Spending much less time tidying up is great, but that’s only part of it. The biggest change is in the mind. Not carrying around that constant frustration I mentioned before has freed up both time and energy. I have a clearer head, get more things done, and spend more time with – and focused on – my family. It has even become part of my work to teach others about how to get things organised. I want more people to discover just how much good lies in organising your home.

We love to see our customers get creative with our products. Go for it! But please note that altering or modifying IKEA products so they can no longer be re-sold or used for their original purpose, means the IKEA commercial guarantees and your right to return the products will be lost.

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Writer: Henrik Annemark