Everything in its place or life in chaos? Putney’s Victoria Nicholson tells Liz Nicholls how she discovered the joy of decluttering and helping others achieve the same…
Such is the chaos of my life that I’m both jealous of and intrigued by serenely organised people. So, after confessing my messy shame to Victoria Nicholson, founder of My Wardrobe Zen, I’m surprised to learn we have much in common…
“Growing up and as an adult I was really untidy,” she says. “I used my creative mind as an excuse and that there was much more to life than something as mundane as tidying. I’ve always been messy. It’s not that I didn’t want to be tidy; I dreamed of neat shelves and clean stationery… but no matter how much I tried, my mess was always shifted from one area to another.
“It wasn’t until the death of my parents when I had my ‘Eureka’ moment. When sorting through my parents’ belongings (there was a lot, in fact so much that we ended up on two episodes of Storage Hoarders), I had to get through everything in a short space of time so I scanned for items that I wanted to keep or that my sister would want. Everything else went in a big van destined for a women’s refuge centre.”
You might have seen the Netflix programme and heard of Marie Kondo’s bestselling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying about identifying which items in your home truly “spark joy” and eliminating the rest. Victoria, a mum of one who has a background in hotel management and as an office PA, read it in 2015. “It resonated,” she says. “I’d tried traditional decluttering but it was always a quick fix and nothing stayed tidy.”
The KonMari™ method from Japan boasts a 0% relapse rate and has a positive, nurturing approach that Victoria wanted to share. Now a certified KonMari™ consultant and APDO member, she offers local residents a free 20-minute consultation.
“By having a place for everything, tidying up daily is much quicker and by keeping ‘like with like’ it’s easier to find things. It’s important if you’re sharing a home to also let them know where everything is and store items logically. When I completed my tidying marathon I had clarity. My husband asked me to help him too and loves the results – he says it’s like looking at a nice shop display every morning. It was amazing to meet Marie [pictured] at the London KonMari seminar last year. I knew she was petite but not until she glided in did I appreciate how delicate she is. Yet she commands a huge presence that exudes inner strength. I’ve yet to be shocked by a client’s mess – we all lead busy lives and I know how easy it is for things to get out of hand. In some cases fear of letting go of the past or fear of the future or change has an impact on our environment.”
Pictured: Victoria and Maria Kondo