The Secret to Decluttering as a Maximalist

With perfect timing, Marie Kondo’s new show ‘Tidy up with Marie Kondo’ hit Netflix on 1st January this year allowing a bunch of overly tired and probably hungover people to binge watch a whole series of Marie teaching us all how to declutter our homes. How do I know? Well I was one of them, albeit without the hangover this year (times have changed).


Linda Rodin's Chelsea Apartment. Photo: Rebecca Pollack

A few years ago I read Kondo's best-selling guide The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing and I could not put it down. Two things I have always loved are decluttering and being organised so not surprisingly this book spoke to me. Watching ‘The Big Bang Theory’ once I actually got far more excited than I should have watching Sheldon fold clothes using a FlipFold device. Hubby even bought me one as a joke birthday present, but the joke was on him as I loved it. Although somewhat ironically the device has now fallen victim to a decluttering purge in the last year, because I can fold clothes like a Boss without it anyway!


So as a self-proclaimed maximalist, how can you apply Marie Kondo’s principles to your own life. If you don’t want to let it go, how can you let it 'spark joy' in your home.


For those not in the know, a Maximalist is the opposite of being a Minimalist (with me so far?). So rather than going for that Scandi-style ‘less is more’ look you flip to the much more exciting ‘more is more is more’ look in which almost anything goes. So how do I reconcile the two seemingly opposite concepts?


Photo: Best Design Books

Firstly I would say that maximalism does not give you a licence to become a hoarder. If you are one of those people on the news who has to call the fire brigade out to cut them loose from their apartment containing a copy of every newspaper in the last thirty years, then yelling out “but I’m a maximalist” as they cart you off to the looney bin won’t cut much ice with me. Being a maximalist still requires you to declutter. Furniture and décor is still curated and styled, but there is a layering effect with a repeated tone or theme.


Naturally storage remains key as without storage all you have are piles of old tatt lying around collecting dust. Everything should still have a place and although you will move things around and take items out; at the end of the day everything should be returned back to its spot.


Use everyday items as décor. Why not display your chopping boards leaning up against the splashback of your kitchen. Our library book case is styled with a mix of décor, books and wine and whiskey glasses. We use them all the time (maybe a bit too much) so its handy to have them out and within a quick reach and they look great. The trick to this is to group things together. Side note: yes we have a toddler running riot but breakables are high enough for her not to touch and with the other items, we’ve just taught her not to get her grubby paws on them.


Rotation. Rotate your items that spark joy. For example if you have several sets of bed linen that you love and can’t part with, just simply rotate them when you use one lot of linen and thrown it in the wash. Simply take out your next cherished set of linen and put the freshly cleaned set at the bottom of the pile so as to rotate. This way your fav items gets a lot more lovin’ and do not remain at the bottom of a drawer unused and forgotten.



Photo: Casa Chaucha

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© 2018 by Tanya Lanycia