Organization Experts Share How 2020 Changed How We Think About Clutter

updated Dec 21, 2020
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Living room with desk and tapestry hanging on wall

For many people, the biggest day-to-day change that 2020 has brought (amidst the many changes) is that they’re spending more time than ever at home. Extra bedrooms have become offices. Kitchens and dining rooms have taken the place of restaurants. Living rooms have become movie theater alternatives. Basements have become home gyms. We’re all learning to appreciate and make the most of our homes in ways we hadn’t before.

Apartment Therapy spoke to six organization experts about how 2020 changed how we think about clutter. Here’s what they said:

1. Organizing is a family affair.

“In the past, usually one person from a family would contact me about needing help with clutter,” says Caroline Roberts, Certified KonMari Consultant behind The Simplified Island. “Since the stay-at-home orders, I’ve seen how the need to declutter and set up work spaces are needed and appreciated by everyone in the family.”

Andrea Walker, Owner, Certified Professional Organizer at Smartly Organized LLC, agrees: “COVID has created the need for work-from-home offices and remote learning stations. Parents and kids need separate, private spaces and this has created the need to repurpose spaces in our homes and clear the clutter to make room for these new needs.”

2. Organizing is for everyone.

Shannon Krause, Chief Operating Organizer of Tidy Nest, says that being confined to our homes amplified the audience for decluttering exponentially. “Between business owners (especially restaurateurs) and homeowners (many of whom rusticated due to the effects of Covid-19 on NYC),  our year was filled with calls for help,” Krause explains.

Gayle Gruenberg, Chief Executive Organizer at LGOrganized, agrees. “I think that people who have been forced to spend many months at home have had the time to look around and realize how much clutter they have been living with and have chosen to start eliminating it,” Gruenberg shares. “With all of the uncertainty 2020 has brought, the need for professional organizers is greater now than ever before.” 

3. Organizing can be virtual.

While professional organizers have been restricted from entering some homes and places of business, Gruenberg likes to see the glass as half full. The pandemic “has created a vast opportunity to provide virtual organizing services to a significantly broader market. We can serve and support more people rather than fewer, using the technology that was literally right in front of our faces!”

4. It’s all about function.

Roberts also says that function has taken center stage. “While the beautifully organized spaces we see online are wonderful, it’s more important than ever to create a home that is functional.”   

“It’s not just for personal preference and aesthetics,” agrees Helen Youn, Certified KonMari Consultant. It’s about “having a space that supports them whether that means their WFH space, workout space, space to cook healthy meals, or space to spend time with the family. It’s so important to have a home that supports so many different aspects of life, to feel comfortable and happy to be at home.”

5. Organizing is good for mental health.

Since “every square inch of our homes are needed to provide space for work or play, this has brought about the realization that everyday clutter inhibits creativity and peace of mind,” Walker says.

This is echoed by Deborah Gussoff of In Order, Inc. “We are in our homes 24/7, missing family, friends, and our social lives; clutter adds to our stress. Keeping things organized helps provide a sense of calm and control. There is so much at the moment that we cannot control; our physical environment is something we absolutely can control.”