We catch up with expert organiser Georgiana Klinke, owner of LifeSpace London
What inspired you to start LifeSpace?
I have always loved organising and tidying – I never had to be asked to tidy my room as a child! In fact, when I told one of my primary school friends that I had started LifeSpace London her response was “if ever there was a perfect job for you this is it!”
After a career of almost 20 years in Human Resources in the City and abroad, I know what it’s like trying to juggle working full time with raising a family, not to mention finding time for hobbies and interests: everyone needs a little help sometimes. So I founded LifeSpace London so that I can pass on my knowledge and experience to help others feel more in control of their lives and not the other way round.
Describe a typical ‘day in the life’.
Working with different clients is amazing as even though the work might be similar, everyone’s lives and therefore needs are different. But a ‘typical’ day would start with me arriving at the client’s home with a plan for the day: I always warn people that we will have to make a mess before we can tidy up!
We start by working systematically to group similar items together (this can be a real eye opener as clients sometimes find that they have, for example, 3 kettles which they didn’t realise they had!) and go through these, allocating all items either to a ‘keep’, ‘donate’ or ‘remove’ pile. I try to limit the number of items which en
d up in landfill by using tried and trusted outlets for unwanted belongings which have been used and still have life in them for someone else to benefit from.
The client and I work together as it is very much a joint process: nothing is thrown away without the client’s permission, and I ask lots of questions about how the client uses items, the rooms, their routines so as to make the most efficient suggestions for how to organise and style their space to suit their lifestyle. I can also help with ideas for how to display treasured possessions, the best types of storage to suit the space (I always carry a tape measure and will follow up with carefully chosen options that will fit) or how to plan a daily routine to be more efficient once I have left.
At the end of the process, I will take donations to a charity / good cause of the client’s choosing, as well as any items which are going to be thrown away, leaving the client with an organised space where every item has a place.
I find the most challenging projects are those that might seem the most simple at first sight: this might be someone who has a shopping addiction or has difficulty throwing anything away.
Have you ever had a really challenging project?
I once worked with a client who felt completely overwhelmed and had no idea where to start. I had to climb over boxes and bags just to get into the house, but as we talked, they really opened up about how the clutter made them feel, and by starting to remove items straight away, they could see some of the clouds lift. By the end of the first session, one room had been transformed and they couldn’t wait to get started on the next one. It’s amazing what a bit of help and support (not to mention an extra pair of hands!) can do. I think that my previous career in HR has really helped me to work with different clients to draw out how I can best help them with whatever is going on in their lives right now.
In your experience, what’s the hardest object or thing for most people to part with?
Definitely their children’s possessions: be it artwork or baby clothes, it represents the end of an era, and the acknowledgment that time moves fast and people grow up and move on. It can also represent unfulfilled hopes and dreams that can be very difficult to come to terms with.
And the easiest?
Electrical items: technology changes so quickly that things become obsolete very fast, and I’m sure that we have all been guilty of buying or being given a bread maker / electric juicer / foot spa on a whim, which then gathers dust at the back of a cupboard! These items often take up a lot of space too, so getting rid of them gives an instant result and the momentum to keep going and do more.
Do you have a favourite room to work with?
I love tackling any room, but if I had to choose a favourite it would probably be the sitting room / living area, as there is nothing better than coming home at the end of the day and being able to sit down without being surrounded by piles of clutter or children’s toys which prevent you from being able to relax in your own home. I always find it fascinating to hear the client’s personal stories about where their treasures came from and what they mean to them.
What’s the best part of the job?
Seeing the client’s face once the result has been achieved! People have said that it is a life-changing process, and I don’t think you can underestimate how much difference changing even one room can make to someone’s attitude to home, their way of life and ultimately sense of happiness. When one client said that now they could invite friends over for a meal which they hadn’t felt able to before, it just about summed up for me how much I love this job!
Best de-cluttering tip?
Put things away after you’ve used them, even if you use them every day. That way you always know where they are and won’t spend time hunting for them. Even 5 or 10 things soon become 15 or 20 if not put back and the effects are cumulative: if things aren’t put away the clutter will soon start to gather again!
Georgiana also offers space planning, home staging and moving house services.
Images courtesy of LifeSpace London