Brought to you by
With Chinese New Year just around the corner, Aoife McGillion from Suits for Success talks to The Tidy Project to get some tips on clearing out your wardrobe, and the benefits of giving a good home to your preloved belongings.
Tell us Rachel, why did you set up The Tidy Project?
There’s a running joke in my family where they refer to organizing or clearing up things as “doing a Rachel.” I’ve always found it cathartic to organize things. And one day, I came across someone that offered a home “organizing” service. I hadn’t even realized it was a thing, it has always been something I just did because I enjoyed it. So, without putting too much effort into testing whether there was any interest in this service in Hong Kong, I set up a website and then without any marketing or promotion, I started to get clients.
Why do people come to you?
A lot of people are searching for help with personal organization. It’s really no different than getting help with any other task you are not able to do alone – like hiring an accountant or a personal trainer or a child minder… we’re all here to lighten the load and to offer an objective, experienced opinion and the motivation to help them move forward.
What services does The Tidy Project offer?
We do full closet renovation, home-office organization, a moving day service, and a home help overhaul to cover any and all aspects of organizing your home life. The most popular services that people come to me for are help with wardrobes, and general living room organization.
Suits for Success is about to launch our next clothing drive, which will run from February 12 through March 8. As people start thinking about clearing out their wardrobes and decluttering before Chinese New Year, what are your top tips?
Right…I have eight pieces of advice:
- Conquer the scale of the task at hand by starting small — instead of psyching yourself up for a full-day closet clear out, start with your underwear drawer and go full blown OCD on it. Once finished, soak up the achievement of it & pick the next drawer.
- When sorting out your wardrobe, take EVERYTHING out and try EVERYTHING on.
- I always ask my clients to make 4 piles:
- “I Love It” — Keep
- Needs repair or adjustment — Alter
- Don’t love it, have never worn it, will never wear it, it doesn’t fit — Donate
- It cannot be repaired or donated — Throw away
- I say hang EVERYTHING! For anyone who knows the Marie Kondo philosophy of folding clothes, I disagree. Hanging items means you’ll be more ruthless with what you keep and it also means you’ll never forget about certain items and end up buying something similar again. When you’re not fighting between crammed rails to find something to wear, it’s a much nicer experience to get dressed in the morning. Having a nice looking, calm wardrobe is the easiest way to fall in love with your closet!
- Don’t keep the “This top is okay, I can just wear it around the house” items that are in your wardrobe. If you’re wondering what’s the easiest way to love everything you own? The answer is to only own things you love. Very simply, donate the things that don’t bring you joy.
- If you’re too scared to get rid of something completely then I suggest either:
- Pop it in a box with a future date on it, and see if you even remember it’s gone in that timeframe; or
- Turn the coat hanger the other way. In 6 months, every item of clothing on a coat hanger that is still facing the wrong way – isn’t going to get worn and needs a new home.
- Conquer the attachment to clothes that remind you of times in your past. Always remember: memories are not things. Memories will stay, regardless of things.
- GIVE!! Generosity and giving feels GOOD! Research shows that giving boosts your mental and physical health. The phenomenon is known as the “Giver’s High”, where feel good chemicals are released in our brains. There’s also a certain release or relief from letting go of things that you’ve been holding onto! So GIVE!
One of the challenges of doing a clear out of a wardrobe is figuring out what to do with the items that you no longer need or want. Suits for Success, a local Hong Kong charity, collects new and gently worn clothing that can be worn in a professional workplace, and works with dozens of NGOs to distribute them to underprivileged men and women from marginalized areas in Hong Kong. The recipients of these clothes will use them for internships or when starting out, or getting back, in the workplace. The collection period for 2018 is February 12 through March 8, and the donation sites are through Pure Yoga and Fitness locations across Hong Kong for general public.