May 22, 2019

Putting the “U” in Declutter: Q&A With Orlando Soria

Looking to "spark joy" through the ritual of spring cleaning? Our pals at Value Village are offering a unqiue respite to the grind of organizing. Say hello to "neat-ish," a new, less-stressful decluttering movement that's as practical as it is responsible. To learn more, we chatted with interior design expert and self-proclaimed “King of Decluttering" Orlando Soria about the trend, and to gain his top tips and tricks when it comes to putting the "u" (yup, we're looking at you) back in decluttering. —Noa Nichol

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Hi Orlando! Please tell us a bit about yourself (and your neat-freak ways) to start!

I'm an interior designer, author (my book Get it Together! is available everywhere) and TV host. I have had a lifelong love affair with decluttering, starting early in my teens when I started cleaning out my closets and getting rid of stuff. Because I'm a designer, my main goal is to create a beautiful home. And a beautiful home starts with things being neat and organized. Your home can't be neat and organized if it's jammed with too many things, so I have a natural instinct to go through my personal belongings quite frequently and figure out what to keep and what to get rid of.

What is "neat-ish" and how does it differ, as a concept, from, say, Marie Kondo's way of decluttering?

The neat-ish movement is the next wave of decluttering: a way to do good for the planet while embracing your unique style and personality. It is less of a formal process and more of an inclusive decluttering mindset. We want to give people who may feel overwhelmed by strict decluttering rules another way to organize and love their space. Plus, we don’t just show you how to declutter, we show you how to responsibly declutter by dropping off the items that end up in your “no” pile at Value Village instead of throwing them away. It’s bringing decluttering full circle!

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Could you break down for us your top four "neat-isms" or tips and tricks for decluttering our way and responsibly?

I’m all about decluttering responsibly. Value Village has created four neat-isms to give people the encouragement they need to get started. First, put the “u” in declutter, aims to show you that there is no one right way to declutter. You should organize in your own way. Second, have fun decluttering, is all about finding simple ways to make the process more enjoyable. Invite your friends over to help you sort through your clothes to help take the stress out of decluttering. Third, make reuse a ritual, means that when you declutter consistently there’s less to do, making the process easier every time. You can do this by setting up a recurring notification on your phone or making a rule that for every new item that comes into your home, you consider parting with another—pick the process that works for you. Fourth, always declutter responsibly, is probably the most important tip. Up to 95 per cent of clothing and textiles that go to the landfill each year could be reused or recycled. You can declutter responsibly by simply keeping reusable goods out of landfills. You can drop your items off as they are or prep your items by pre-washing them, wrapping fragile pieces in towels or old newspapers for safe transport and using a rubber band to connect paired items to each other. By taking those extra steps, you’re ensuring your items will have a better chance at finding a new home.

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What was the last thing you purged?

I recently did a major closet overhaul to make room for all the new wardrobe I had to buy for my show. Basically, for TV you need a lot of different outfits because sometimes you're shooting scenes that are supposed to be happening on many different days in the same day so I'd change three to five times every day and need enough clothes to always have something clean and bright to wear. One of my favourite shirts was bought secondhand. It's a really cute denim shirt with embroidery all over it. But, I also got rid of a lot of my clothing that didn't fit the bill. It was still great stuff that I loved but just didn't make sense with what I need for now and was majorly clogging my closets. I feel so much more at peace now that my closets are organized again!

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What has been your single greatest Value Village find/purchase?

One of my favourite vintage finds is an architectural drawing I have hanging in my guest bedroom (see below). It reminds me of a little strip mall that was close to my grandparents’ house where my cousins and I used to walk to as kids and get candy at the convenience store. I just love it as a part of this pretty blue-themed gallery wall in my guest room and I love what it says about the history of architecture and design—they used to do these incredible hand renderings of proposed commercial spaces and they were just so gorgeous. You can find the best gems by exploring thrift stores and flea markets!

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