Some people's personalities really compliment their job. Sitting down to interview Lisa Knutson, I instantly felt a sense of ease. Her bright smile and smooth voice gave me the feeling that she's got this. Lisa is the co-owner of a Kelowna-based professional organization company, Dwell Organized. As such, I was very curious to hear her perspective on downsizing and the impact home organization plays in living comfortably in a smaller foot print.
Lisa tells me that Dwell Organized prides itself on creating personalized, practical and functional organizational systems that are easily maintained. One of their areas of expertise is helping clients with downsizing, something that they do frequently.
The two main cohorts that that look to her to help organize their stuff and move into smaller living quarters are those who are choosing to live with less and those going through life transitions.
The first group of downsizers have representation in all age demographics.They are choosing to live in smaller spaces and simplify out of a desire to live a less of complicated life; a life with less stuff and more experiences. Although the idea of living in small spaces is very trendy, it is also addresses the practical concern of housing affordability. This group also values reducing their carbon footprint and living in a way that impacts the environment less. The idea of avoiding massive debt and enjoying life is a common theme. This group has learned from previous generations and are choosing to own less, keeping only what is meaningful & useful to them.
The second group is downsizing because of need. These are empty nesters or retirees who no longer require so much space and seniors who require a more supportive living environment. Lisa really enjoys helping this group by methodically editing, categorizing and prioritizing based on functionality, need and sentimental value. Many have years of history and memories attached to their belongings which makes the assistance of a professional organizer so valuable.Lisa, and her business partner Kristi, offer a full service. They de-clutter, pack, coordinate moves and unpack.
Lisa is excited to address the biggest challenge of downsizing with her clients head on. She helps them balance the values of modern life (consumer focused cultural tendencies) while creating simplicity and a sense of calm in the home. Lisa mused, "Once you make the decision to let something go, it opens up space in your life for other possibilities. A clear, organized space translates to clarity in life." Her passion for the mental wellness benefits of a more minimalist lifestyle is clear. She has witnessed the benefits first hand. Many of her clients report that their closets and pantries stay organized long after she completes her job. "Like everything, it's a habit; once you have a space that looks so nice, you don't want it to change." A mark of a good organizer is a functioning system that works for the entire family; everything labelled, placed in its own special spot. I guess this is the origin of the saying, 'a place for everything and everything in its place'.
Finally, I asked Lisa, taking into consideration everything that she has come to know about people and their stuff, what are the most important things to consider when reducing the size of your home?
"First off, storage solutions become very important cannot be overlooked," states Lisa. Although people are reducing the amount of belongings they have, there will always be some items that you need to tuck away.
Secondly, Lisa recommends multiple purposes for single spaces. Combining a laundry, mud room, entry and storage area can really maximize the square footage.
Her next idea is to maximize underutilized areas of your home like high wall spaces. These spots work well for storing everything that is not a daily use item, such as seasonal goods and clothing, sports gear, family momentos and holiday décor.
Lisa recommends that you don't forget about the garage. Store items on shelving in clearly labeled bins, and use hanging wall systems for sports equipment to help keep the floor space clear.
Lastly, built-ins, built-ins, built-ins. Lisa raves about everything from custom closet organization systems, utilization of space between interior wall studs for items like spices and toiletries, to barn doors that cover book shelves when open.
Clearly, a well thought out system of organization and a methodology for determining what belongings will be kept, are essential components to living in a small space. Sometimes the desire to downsize can be simply overwhelming. Collaboration is key component in creating a holistic customer experience at Little House. The experts at Dwell Organized are an awesome asset for those of us who are passionate about little living. Check them out at www.dwellorganized.ca .