7 ways to declutter your home

PUBLISHED: 09:27 08 October 2020 | UPDATED: 09:27 08 October 2020

Anita Fortes could be Norfolk's most organised woman. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

Anita Fortes could be Norfolk's most organised woman. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

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Inspired by The Home Edit on Netflix? Anita Fortes can help you improve your life

Anita and Nick Fortes' home is as neat as a new pin! Photo: Anita FortesAnita and Nick Fortes' home is as neat as a new pin! Photo: Anita Fortes

Tell us a little about yourself

I’m in my late 50’s, married with a grown up daughter and three gorgeous grandchildren. I live very close to a beach in north Norfolk, where I spend lots of time walking and running with Lola, my Labrador. I’ve had quite a varied career; I originally trained and worked as a mental health nurse and later qualified as a primary school teacher. I now have my own professional organising business which I love.

How did you get into this field?

Anita Fortes will help your organise your home. Picture: Ella WilkinsonAnita Fortes will help your organise your home. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

I’ve been organising for years, initially for family and friends, then part-time alongside advisory teaching. Following redundancy 18 months ago I had a ‘now or never’ experience! We downsized to the coast, which allowed me the time and financial freedom to set up my business full-time. The work is so varied and interesting. I support a wide range of people including ; busy families, people with mental health and physical difficulties, bereaved families and home movers.

Why declutter?

I would turn that question on it’s head and ask ‘Why ever not?’ We are a consumer society and have so much stuff! Many homes are full of things no longer enjoyed or needed. When I work with clients the comment I hear most often is: ‘I’d completely forgotten I had that!’ Decluttering transforms the way people live – it creates space, saves time and reduces stress. It has such a positive impact on mental health and I see this time and again.

Anita practices what she preaches at her north Norfolk home. Photo: Anita FortesAnita practices what she preaches at her north Norfolk home. Photo: Anita Fortes

It’s too much like hard work to get organised, isn’t it?

NOT being organised is really hard work. An example: you’re about to depart for work but can’t find your car keys. You turn the house upside down looking for them, anxiety increases , time is lost, cross words are exchanged, you’re now very late for work too. Multiply this many times over and life starts to feel quite chaotic. Being organised means keeping only what is useful, having a place for everything and being able to retrieve things easily.

Anita Fortes is Norfolk's answer to Marie Kondo. Picture: Ella WilkinsonAnita Fortes is Norfolk's answer to Marie Kondo. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

Meet the amazing Anna Mudeka

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I’ve got a mountain of stuff - where do I start?

Start in a functional area like the kitchen, as decluttering will have a big impact on daily life. Start small - clear a counter top or a sort through a drawer or cupboard. Once you’ve started, it’s much easier to motivate yourself to continue. Leave sentimental items until last. They’re often the hardest to declutter due to emotional triggers. You don’t have to tackle it alone. If it feels overwhelming, contact me for help!

Are you a fan of Marie Kondo and The Home edit?

Confession time… I’ve never watched The Home Edit! Marie Kondo has done wonders for publicising professional organising as an industry. I like and use some of her methods. However, a few would be a step too far for some of my clients, like collecting every bit of clothing and piling it up. For me, it’s important to adapt what I do to my clients’ needs. They have to feel comfortable and in control of the process.

What are your top tips for decluttering?

Be mindful when making purchases. Don’t buy for the sake of it, ask yourself: do I really need/want this?

Declutter regularly… little and often.

Keep on top of paperwork by dealing with it when it first enters the home: recycle, shred or file.

Donate unwanted items as much as possible, try not to add to landfill.

Consider professional help – it’s an investment that reaps huge benefits.

Is Mr Fortes very organised?

Ha ha! Mr. Fortes is very organised….I’ve even taught him to file fold his clothes!

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