Cathy and Danica Orr, The Uncluttered Life

Home Decluttering and Organization


About the Expert

Cathy is certified and trained at the Master Level in Marie Kondo’s KonMari Method, yet uses this as only one piece in a holistic approach to decluttering and organizing. Cathy believes that organization helps you simplify your life, eliminate waste, and saves you time and money. She has been organizing homes for over twenty years.

About the Expert

Danica takes a visual approach to organization. Having graduated from UC Berkeley with an interdisciplinary major combining fine art, visual studies, media, communications, history and sociology, she uses a wide lens to look at organization from a creative, visual perspective. She has coined the term “decorganize,” using decorative items to organize a space to enhance its beauty and function.



What is the difference between decluttering and organizing?

Decluttering means to remove clutter by donating, recycling or discarding, not packing things away, giving them to others, or moving things from room to room. Decluttering is the first step to organizing a home. Once you have decluttered, it is easier to organize.

Often confused with decluttering, organizing is the step that comes after decluttering. Organizing means creating a plan for an area of your home, such as a closet. Decluttering and organizing save you time, money and energy, with the end goal of creating a functional and peaceful environment in which to thrive.

What are the physical and psychological effects of clutter?

Clutter can increase cortisol, the “stress hormone.” A study by UCLA found a link between a high density of household objects and elevated cortisol levels. Messy spaces signal the need for future cleaning, and the mental weight of this increases stress. According to the UCLA study, clutter mentally and physically affects women more than men. And, the Mayo Clinic suggests that clutter can decrease your ability to focus and be productive. Existing in a cluttered environment taxes your brain because the cluttering objects compete for your attention. Further studies by St. Lawrence University and Princeton University show people with cluttered homes tend to suffer from insomnia or exhaustion because the stress of clutter affects their mental energy.

What should I keep/discard when I declutter?

Keep the things that reflect who you are today, not who you were, or where you anticipate being in the future. In other words, your external and internal environments need to match. Many people hold on to things from their past, such as clothing that no longer fits or is outdated. They frequently ask themselves the “what if” questions, “What if this comes back in style?” or “What if I want this again in the future?” These questions can be paralyzing during the decluttering process. 

The real purpose of decluttering is to surround yourself with the things you love, give your life purpose, and reflect your true self. Life changes, and decluttering focuses on letting go of things that no longer serve you. By surrounding yourself with what you love, your mood is lighter and you feel less overwhelmed.

Can I declutter by myself?

Having help in the decluttering process makes letting go of items easier. Many people get anxious or have difficulty making decisions about what to keep or discard. With the help of a professional and an objective perspective, decisions flow more easily and help you feel more confident in your choices.

Isn’t hiring a professional organizer expensive?

In the long-run, hiring a professional organizer saves you time and money. When you’re organized, you know what you own, reduces overbuying, rebuying, and allows you to live with less. By living with less, you actually create a life of more. Not only does organizing free up time, money, and resources, it also allows you to feel happier. Hiring an organizer is an investment in your future and wellbeing. 

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