Bryony Claire Parr is on a mission to ring in a clean spring. Omeshnie Naidoo chatted to the Oh So Organised business owner
Back to back episodes of Clean House, Hoarders and Aggie and Kim may yield one of two results – you could get up and go gather the steam to get your house in order; or the sheer notion could drive you further down into your couch, flipping to the more satiating food channels.
For 30-year-old Bryony Claire Parr of eMdloti Beach, it's motivation to go out with guns blazing.
She started her business, Oh So Organised, after seeing the dramatic befores and afters on the popular TV shows.
“I loved seeing the spaces prior to and then after a major transformation as well as the happiness it brought to the home owners.
“It’s definitely a personality trait of sorts. My best friend’s mom called me the dish fairy when I was little, because I always wanting to tidy things away.
“As an adult I’ve seen that a real need for this kind of help exists.
“I’ve been overseas for the past six years, working with and around high net worth clients. I’ve learnt how to organise and arrange other people and their possessions. And with all the experience, I can do it quickly and in a way that is easy to maintain.”
She set up Oh So Organised when she returned home and has been helping people restore order in their homes and offices ever since.
“There is no shame in needing a helping hand. In today’s society with both parents working, often more than one job, and children, organising isn’t top of the priority list and then it just becomes overwhelming. The space becomes cluttered and zones overlap, we hold on to items we don’t need or don’t know where to dispose of and as a result you need a holiday from your home or office because of how it makes you feel.
“I go in to help 'neaten up' but really I’m giving back control to homeowners.”
So how does she do it?
Comfy clothes: a pair of leggings and a T-shirt and she’s off.
"In my own home, I start at one point in a room and work my way around systematically, deciding what I love and don’t love – finding joy in knowing I can donate my pre-loved items to someone in greater need.
I vacuum out the cupboards and then wipe the shelves with a lovely fragrant cleaner before neatly putting things I want to keep back away.
"I love checking dates on perishables, making lists of things I need to purchase or do. I love being able to leave the space with a complete knowledge of where everything is."
Coach me, how do I get started?
* Don’t take on a task that’s too big! (It takes me up to a full day to do a whole room and I enjoy it. It’s cathartic. Start small and it will keep you motivated.
* Send everyone out! Sometimes family want to help, but end up distracting you. They either stay and focus with you or clear off!
* Have all your tools with you at the start to avoid getting up and moving around and distracting yourself – garbage bags (one for donations and one for trash) a box to collect items that need to be stored elsewhere, cloths for cleaning, vacuum, stepladder, small plastic bags, labels, a to-do list and a bottle of water (no cup of tea, they spill very often!).
* Start with a small cupboard, pull out everything, work through the items. Items such as shoes you must clean and put back. This will leave you feeling motivated to move forward. If you unpack a whole room, you feel overwhelmed and stop half-way in desperation and get nowhere.
* Keep an eye on the time. You will need at least 20-30 minutes to pack tools away after the session, count tidying up into your time.
* Don’t be a hoarder!
The fear of giving something away and needing it in future can bog you down. In this digital age, information is readily available and being able to store precious memories like children’s school art is easy, take a picture and throw it out. Often old appliances and technology become obsolete and then you are stuck with a useless item. Rather recycle.
* Keeping to donate – many of my clients care for the environment and the less fortunate and want to recycle but they end up not getting around to it or don’t know where to take them and then they just pile up and take up space. Decide which charities you want to support first and also find out which are the nearest recycling drop offs to where you live.
I work with ‘We are Durban’. They take anything and everything – clothes, toys, kitchen and office items and also do collections for larger items if you give them a call, they will let you know when they are doing a collection.
There are also so many NPOs that are always in need. Most will take anything as they will repurpose and sell to make money.
Other options are SPCA, Highway Hospice or just watch Facebook – there is always a drive on the go with drop-off points.
SIMS Recycling Solutions Africa take old PlayStation consoles, broken lights, old appliances, batteries, light bulbs, mismatched cables, phones, printers, and laptops – they dispose of them correctly on your behalf.
If it hasn’t been used, is living in the garage and you haven’t remembered it until now – chances are you won’t use it again anyway.
Less is more, all my clients feel wonderful after our sessions because they feel lighter emotionally. What is important is family and friends; we shouldn’t be governed by material objects.
A mistake that everyone makes is not putting things back where they belong. After your spring clean and giving everything a home, train yourself and your family to put things away and help maintain your sanity.
I suggest one box for all your make-up under the bathroom sink or your vanity – and then keep what you use every day in a small bag in your handbag. Having lots of little bags or boxes creates confusion whereas one large clear box makes the search that much easier. Remember to check for expiration dates – and write on the item when it was purchased so you know how long you have had it.
FYI: All medical items have expiry dates.
Use three or four plastic containers to store medical items and medication together and keep it that way. Having medicines scattered all around the house doesn’t help when you need something urgently.
Label the lid and box so you can see clearly what is inside.
I use plastic storage boxes for everything. It saves cluttering up the counters and surfaces in the bathroom or bedroom. Plastic also protects your products against leaks.
Don’t keep body products you might use, chances are if you were given them and you already have a specific product you use, you probably won’t use it. Being realistic can save so much space.
Always wash items such as linen before storing them away – dust is about 70% dead skin. Imagine what that’s going to smell like when you pull them out after winter without washing them first. Also make sure they are completely dry as damp leads to mould.
Vacuum packing is amazing for under bed storage. Also, label exactly what’s in the bag because looking through a vacuum bag can be frustrating.
Avoid bulk. Instead of buying new cushions, just get the covers. Often shops will have a reduced price for just the cover, that way you are saving space.
Always use a larger container for toys. If they just fit, chances are your child won't take the trouble to get it all in.
Pack puzzles into Ziploc bags and then into their boxes.
Wardrobes look good when they’re colour co-ordinated. Trying to separate clothing into style and use makes it complicated.
Shelves – use boxes to store underwear and bras and swimming costumes, it helps maintain a drawer that is often a little chaotic. Shelves are often deep so get a deep clear plastic container and you can see what’s in it and maximise the space.
If you have tall shelves and small books, standing them up will waste space, rather lie them down and stack them, it adds to visual effect of the shelves.
Stacking them in colour groups is a new trend and looks fun, but types will be easier for referencing
Ice cube trays inside your dresser/bedside drawer are excellent for keeping jewellery together or Ferrero Rocher boxes are great to hold bracelets and prevent the drawer becoming chaotic.
Standing a wooden cutlery tray up and putting hooks in it is a great cost effective way to hang necklaces and can be hung inside your cupboard door.