Tidying takes off during Covid-19: Helping to diminish domestic tensions

Ms Martini Constance Lim qualified as a KonMari consultant and registered her business Minimize With Joy last year.
Ms Martini Constance Lim qualified as a KonMari consultant and registered her business Minimize With Joy last year.ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

SINGAPORE - Ms Martini Constance Lim did not expect that most of her customers wanting to declutter would be men, rather than women.

One retiree in his 70s told her: "My wife said I could do it by myself, but I can't."

The expatriate had wanted to sort his belongings and gadgets before relocating overseas. He needed help to sift through the many cables he had, some of which no longer worked.

Wanting to get organised but not knowing how and where to start is far from uncommon among both genders, says Ms Lim.

"With more people working and studying from home, it's also challenging to know when might be a good time to start tidying," she adds.

Electronic and digital clutter is another common concern she is often enlisted to address as a KonMari consultant.

"Spending less time socialising and more time on our laptops and mobile phones has led to more digital clutter, such as apps that we don't frequently use," she says.

The 40-year-old, who works by day as a project manager, has long been interested in the business of tidying up.

Keen to start a concurrent career, she qualified as a KonMari consultant and registered her business Minimize With Joy last year, charging $50 an hour for consultations.

In these fraught Covid-19 times, she notes that tensions can run high at home, with stressful work calls coupled with children chucking home-based learning in favour of computer games.

The tidying consultant can be a neutral party who can de-escalate domestic situations, says Ms Lim.

Once, a couple who engaged her services were debating where to store onions in their kitchen.



Wanting to get organised but not knowing how and where to start is far from uncommon among both genders, says Ms Lim. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

The husband felt the alliums should not be stored in an open space like the wife wanted, because he found them visually unappealing. Ms Lim agreed with the wife that onions should not be stored in an enclosed drawer.

"It was a solution they both accepted because it came from a third party. They did not take it as personally coming from me. They viewed me as a professional who is not siding with anyone, and were more receptive," she says.

She has encountered similar disagreements like where to place the handwash or coffee stirrers.

"Most of the conflicts arise with tidying areas and items that are used in common... I do what I can to help them build a system they feel comfortable with."

She is impressed when clients make the decision to improve their quality of life, even those who regress along the way.

One client told Ms Lim, apologetically, that she kept "accidentally" buying things online, adding to the mess at home, in between their decluttering consultation sessions.

"Having self-awareness is a good start," says Ms Lim.

Tidying tip

Reduce the visual clutter on your mobile phone by grouping apps, such as food delivery and banking ones, by folders.