Professional Organizer Kayla Tamir shows us how to feel more in control.
Snyder Diamond: Thanks Kayla for your time. Before getting to your tips, tell us about you and how you got into the business of organization.
Kayla Tamir: I can talk about this stuff for hours so I’ll be brief (laughing). I’ve been OCD since the day I was born, and I think I’ve always been fascinated by people and what makes them, us, do the things we do.
SD: So you were born to help people get organized?
K: I think everyone has a mission in the world and I hope this is mine because I get to see change in people everyday!
SD: Let’s talk about your journey into the business of organizing.
K: Several big events led up to what I’m doing now. I’m from California but was living in Israel for university and the army. While serving in the Israeli army, perhaps because of the intensity of that experience, I began to appreciate the importance of supporting mental wellbeing. That interest drove me to get my Master’s in psychology with the idea of becoming a therapist. However plans changed when I met my (now) husband on vacation in New York. I left Israel, moved to NYC, got married and started a family. Then, the pandemic hit. At that point we decided being closer to family in L.A. made sense.
SD: That’s a lot of change...when did the organizing start?
K: Helping others organize began as a hobby when I lived in San Francisco, and continued in Israel and NYC. Friends that would come to my home were always curious to know how I kept my space so tidy and started asking me to help organize their apartments. Soon their friends were contacting me, and things blossomed via word-of-mouth.
SD: How is the work you’re doing in L.A. different than what you were doing in NYC and Israel?
K: Before now it was primarily a hobby. In L.A. many of my clients have big homes and lots of space, but too much stuff. In NYC and Israel people simply had very little space. So the approach may be slightly different but the same idea guides the process: every item should have a home and a purpose.
SD: How has the pandemic impacted you?
K: A lot. With everyone at home, there became more of a dire need to love their houses into homes, and feel more comfortable in their living spaces which looked more like storage spaces. I was ready to turn my passion into a veritable business. Obviously the pandemic has many of us spending more time indoors and in our homes so the need for organizing that space has become more important than ever.
SD: And your career as a therapist?
K: I realized that going into people’s homes and seeing why it was so hard for them to let go of things was way more impactful than just talking to them about it. With that said, to me helping people get organized is still a way of helping people; it’s therapeutic for them to be able to let go of things whether they have a sentimental or financial attachment to items or not. I’ve found that once we establish an organizational system that allows people to be more proactive, they’re able to accomplish more when they know where things are, have systems in place to help them find mail or pay bills, etc. Creating organizing systems specific to each person helps them do more in less time.
WHY DECLUTTERING YOUR SPACE IS IMPORTANT
A home should be a living space not a storage space; do you want a house where you have all your stuff, or do you want a home where you’re comfortable and have a sense of peace? If you can get your living space organized, you’ll start to feel more in control of your life.
WHERE TO START
Start small. The reason decluttering your home can be intimidating is because it can become overwhelming if you start with a big space or start with a lot of items. Starting with a space that is small and with items that you don’t hold too close to your heart will allow you to ease into the process.
#1 TIP For Decluttering Your Home
Ask yourself these 5 questions: Do I love it? Do I use it? Do I need it? Why do I have it? Would I buy it again? As a guideline, If you’re not going to use or wear something in the next 3 months, then you’ll likely not use it in the next year and should consider kissing it goodbye--use it, or lose it! Once you start decluttering your home and looking at the world through that lens, you will find yourself buying less and purchasing only things you love and will use.
GIVE THIS EASY TRICK A TRY
If you can donate or throw away one item in each room once a week you will never feel overwhelmed. Getting to a clutter-free existence, or less cluttered, is all about maintenance.
COMMON MISCONCEPTION #1
Lots of clients think that organizers are going to create space. However, it doesn’t work that way--organizers help to implement new values, ways of thinking, and bring about behavioral shifts.
COMMON MISCONCEPTION #2
We’re often led to think that the more we have the happier we’ll be. However, when it comes to fulfillment, most studies and data refute this idea. An organizer’s job is to help folks move away from the notion that ‘more is more’ and our worth equals how much we own. A simpler existence can often be a liberating experience, which takes some people (pleasantly) by surprise.
CONSIDER These Decluttering Tips
Consider purchasing used or vintage items. If you buy items that are used or better yet, are free, it’s often easier to let go of them in the future. It’s also of course better for the environment which hopefully people are thinking about. And, try to resist purchasing things just because they’re on sale or in bulk to save money--those items can end up sitting around, often without homes, collecting dust and in the long run, don’t end up being ‘bargains’.
For more information on Kayla