Tackle Spring Cleaning With a Plan

by Gillan Ritchie

Spring is around the corner and for many homeowners, that means they’ll be reaching for cleaning supplies to help make their space sparkle. For some, the annual event goes beyond the simple acts of opening windows for fresh air, power washing, and cleaning the floorboards. It’s about decluttering their life—literally and metaphorically.

Marie Kondo, born Kondo Mariko in Japan, became a cultural phenomenon in 2011 when her book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing,” was published in Japan. The book was published in the U.S. in 2014 and has sold more than 8 million copies worldwide. Since the launch of her book, Kondo has landed two Netflix series, “Tidying Up” and
“Sparking Joy with Marie Kondo,” and published a follow up book titled, “Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up.”

But what makes Kondo stand out from other professional organizers?

Her approach to decluttering and reorganizing space is almost spiritual. She tells individuals and families
that they should focus on items in the home that “spark joy” and eliminate the rest. Greeting the space, recognizing sentimental items, and thanking unwanted objects are all part of her philosophy to a more organized life and home.

“My mission is to spark joy in the world through tidying,” she says in the Netflix introduction for “Sparking Joy with Marie Kondo.”

“[Marie Kondo] is known for basically giving clients the confidence to organize their own spaces,” says Marie Mandeville, owner of Atlanta-based TailorMySpace. “Bottom line [is] if the item doesn’t bring joy, get rid of it.”

Like Kondo, Mandeville’s love for decluttering and organizing started at a young age. Growing up in the
military, Mandeville’s father taught her that everything has a home and her mother taught her how to clean.

“My mom says it started at 4 years old when I would clean my brother’s room so he wouldn’t get in trouble,” she says.

As a young adult, Mandeville worked at Express as a visual merchandiser by creating appealing visual displays to enhance the customer’s in-store experience. She loved fashion but she knew that she didn’t want to be a fashion designer. As a visual merchandiser, she was able to define, design, and implement a visual merchandise strategy—all through the correct placement of items in the store.

Edit, sort, and organize–Marie’s tips for decluttering and organizing

The key to decluttering and organizing your space is to not get overwhelmed. Becoming overwhelmed is the main reason why most people won’t start. The idea of making it look worse before it gets better can be frightening. So I have a simple process and it works for any area of the home:

● When dealing with any space, the first step is to edit the section you are working on and remove all trash if there is any;
● Next, take out the items that don’t belong in that room and then by category, organize what is staying;
● Then decide how you want to access the items and put them away based on that! This sometimes can require you to measure the space and purchase the appropriate bins or
accessories needed.

Start in a small space and follow the steps. It helps build the confidence you need to tidy your space and it won’t take very long. Work your way up from a small medicine cabinet to the garage. You simply attack both spaces the same way.

Remember–edit the area, sort the items, and organize the space. – Marie Mandeville

I quickly found joy in making the store look perfect.

Marie MandeviLLE

Mandeville realized that working as a part-time visual merchandiser was only going to get her so far in her career, so she became a bank teller. After starting at the bank, her manager knew Mandeville would be a great fit for sales because of her personality. As a personal banker, she helped business owners every day. While working with clients, Mandeville became less shy and identified her passion.

“I made a post on [Facebook] asking if anyone wanted a space organized and that I would do it for $50,” she says. “Well that closet took 19 hours and the rest is history!”

In October 2021, Mandeville resigned from corporate America and started running TailorMySpace full time. Taking her passion full time has allowed Mandeville to deliver exceptional service to her clients–her motto is “changing lives one organized space at a time.”

Kayla Madonna, a client of TailorMySpace, started following Mandeville on social media after they had met at a previous job. Madonna watched as Mandeville transformed other clients’ homes and spaces, and Madonna knew she needed help.

“I realized that it was time to get organized when I could no longer function in my house,” Madonna says. “Nothing had a home so everything was everywhere and it was giving me anxiety.”

Madonna hired Mandeville for a move and Mandeville worked for hours unattended. When Madonna returned home, almost everything was packed and ready for the move.

Throughout the whole process, decluttering was overwhelming for Madonna but Mandeville made it seamless and enjoyable. Madonna recalls how Mandeville would break the space into sections with a goal in mind to make it easier. As the process went on, Madonna became more comfortable with organizing.

“I personally like to work with her [Mandeville] as much as I can so I can understand/know the systems that she is putting into place,” says Madonna.

For Madonna, her bedroom was the space that needed the most help. According to Madonna, having everything in her closet and drawers organized has increased the functionality of her space and it has been a game changer.

“How many times have you been late trying to find where you thought a piece of clothing was?” Madonna says. “I can’t count how many times I have done that so having everything labeled and organized has saved me so much time!”

Out of all the rooms in an apartment or home, Mandeville’s favorite space to organize is the pantry. It is an area that the whole family utilizes and it’s satisfying to make the space functional and accessible. Mandeville sets up a virtual consultation to formally meet with her clients. During the consultation, she discusses the goals that clients want for their spaces. Mandeville aims to be transparent to ensure there is no miscommunication. She uses the consultation to explain the decluttering process, how TailorMySpace operates, determine the window of time needed to complete the project, and understand the client’s budget.

Mandeville says that a common misconception about the process is that her clients feel spaces won’t stay clean after being organized. She disagrees because tidying up a space is an investment for a lot of her clients.

“We tend to care more about the things that we invest our money in,” Mandeville says. “Once your space is picture perfect you would be surprised how easy it is to keep up with!”

Since having Mandeville come in and help organize her home, Madonna has felt more at peace and productive. She is not having to spend a lot of time looking for items that she needs–everything has a home now and it all serves a purpose.

“Like the old saying goes, ‘clutter in your physical surroundings will clutter your mind and spirit,’” Madonna says.

For more information on how to declutter and organize your space or to schedule a consultation, reach out to Marie Mandeville at TailorMySpace. This article appeared in the March 2022 edition of HOME Magazine.

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