What I learned from visiting the home of a clutter expert

March 26, 2018

Originally sourced from Click On Detroit

"ONTARIO - As I walk into Cas Aarssen's home just outside of Windsor, Ontario, it's everything you imagine an organizing expert's house might be.


It's clutter-free, obviously, and spotless as far as the eye can see. It's decorated in calming shades of blues and makes you want to sit down with a cup of coffee and a good book.


I ask her, "Does it always look like this? For real?"


"It does, it really does," she says.


I believe her.


I'm here to interview Aarssen for a local news series I'm working on. It's called "Uncluttering Your Life." Let's just say the topic hits close to home for me.


Aarssen often refers to herself as a "recovered super slob." It's one of the many things l like about her.


"I struggled with clutter.  I was drowning in clutter," she says. "I started just slowly getting organized, and I realized how life changing it was."


The mother of three has made her personal struggle with clutter into a successful career, creating her "Clutterbug" podcast and videos for her popular YouTube channel.


I'm one of her nearly half a million combined subscribers. I'm oddly star-struck listening to her talk. I know her voice so well from her podcasts.


I notice her Roomba charging along the wall. I know from a recent episode that it's one of her favorite high-tech tools for staying on top of the mess.


"Oh, I love the Roomba," she says, noticing my glance.


We settle in for the interview.  Aarssen is just as endearing and helpful in person as she is on her podcast.


"I am just a naturally disorganized person," she explains. "So it's a struggle for me to keep on top of things, but I think that's the truth. It's a struggle for everyone. There are very few of us that wake up every day to a perpetually clean and organized home, but there are little things we can do to make our life easier and that's what really for me organizing is all about."


The central premise to much of her advice is that there are four different organizing styles, or "Clutterbugs," as she calls them. 


I'm a cricket. She's a ladybug. Click here to figure out what type of clutterbug you are.


She tells me most organizing systems are designed with crickets in mind, but crickets can also struggle with piles and perfectionism.


"You like really detailed organizing systems, and you tend to pile until you have the chance to get to put it away 'properly,'" she explains.


That sounds all too familiar, as I picture my kids' artwork piled on my dining room table, still waiting to be put in frames and keepsake boxes.


As we walk around her house, I'm struck by how functional it is. Everything is organized, but her systems are simple. Containers to divide spaces, labels on containers, a place for everything and everything in its place.


Aarssen loves labels. I mean seriously loves them. Her box of labels is labeled. So is her labelmaker.


But labels are part of her secret to success. Anyone could move into this house and understand what goes where.


"It's not about a Pinterest-worthy house," Aarssen said. "It's not about having it be beautiful, it's about having it be functional and really easy for the whole family to be able to put things away and find things."


It's also clear that Aarssen walks the walk when it comes to decluttering. Things can be put away because there's not too much of anything. Their belongings fit their space.


"Too much stuff is a problem that everyone has, even the most organized people," Aarssen said. "I promise you, we still have too much stuff. And we're in the age where we're always bringing things in. Christmas, we just brought a ton of stuff in, and if we're not taking that same amount out, it doesn't take long for our house to fill up, and so we need to make decluttering and purging part of our regular monthly routine, and I know that sounds like, 'Oh every month I have to purge?' But think of all the things you're bringing in on a constant basis, so putting out and removing has to be just a frequent."


It's all very inspiring.


I laugh when Aarssen points out her daughter's single messy drawer that "drives her crazy." We should all be so lucky!


I'm also amused by what she called her "Monica closet." If you weren't a fan of Friends, it's a reference to a neat freak's secret closet of junk. Aarssen's has some random video equipment tossed inside, but it's far from a "Monica closet."


As we prepare to leave, I feel energized to tackle the clutter traps in my own home. Aarssen is encouraging.


"It's worth it. It's worth it because you're going to save time and money, but the best part, you're going to feel really great about yourself," she says.


I already feel a better just thinking about it."


Source: https://www.clickondetroit.com/lifestyle/what-i-learned-from-visiting-the-home-of-a-clutter-expert

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