Every time I introduce myself as a decluttering and tidying up consultant, people look at me puzzled – wondering what it is I actually do. The reference to ‘Marie Kondo’ or the ‘Home Edit’ on Netflix usually does the trick, but if they’re not familiar with these shows, I struggle to explain the nature and scope of my work. My mom was dismayed to discover that her highly qualified, well-employed daughter had left her handsomely paying managerial job and taken up cleaning people’s houses? People often use the terms cleaning, clearing, decluttering & tidying-up, interchangeably. Most find it hard to believe that decluttering is an expertise, and these services can be hired. Most people who can’t do it themselves either suffer in silence or claim there’s an organisation to their chaos!


There’s no doubt that decluttering and tidying up as a consultancy is a novel concept, which raises some basic questions. Why has a common household skill now become so rare, and why is the need to declutter now so pronounced?


“We need expert advice to declutter our homes, workplaces, lives, minds, habits – and get organised.”


A long time ago, when I lived in a tiny two-room house with 6 other family members in a small town (Nasik) in India, life was different. We didn’t ever feel that we were packed like sardines – we were comfortable and happy. We were natural minimalists. We bought less, shopped mindfully, and didn’t have the luxury of hoarding – we bought enough to just get us through the day, living from one day to the next. We avoided wastage. We finished what was cooked. We didn’t have a fridge at home, so there were no leftovers. Elders frowned upon store-bought biscuits, cookies, chips, and aerated drinks. Processed long-life food was not a part of our diet then and even though we didn’t realise it, we lived a healthy, minimalistic life.


Today, our families are shrinking, and houses are growing bigger. Yet ironically, clutter and excess have become the new normal. We’ve truly embraced capitalism in all its glory! Time is money so we shop more, stock more, and hoard more to save time. We collect more food, crockery, cutlery, clothes, make-up, cleaning products, medicines, shoes, bags, books, electronics – it’s never enough. We have more than we need, more than we use. Giving things away to friends & family can be complicated and sensitive.
Basically, we need help.


We need expert advice to declutter our homes, workplaces, lives, minds, habits – and get organised.


I moved to Dubai in 2005 and worked in the interior design and furniture industry till 2018. In December 2018 I took a year-long sabbatical and used the time to retrospect. I didn’t want to go back to the rut. I wanted to do what I naturally enjoyed doing. I wanted to tap into my inner Monica Geller!
Marie Kondo’s show on Netflix definitely offered inspiration, but imitation would only get me so far. If I had to excel, I had to find my own style. I went back to my childhood and found a treasure trove of decluttering mantras in my mind. A place for everything and everything in its place – the principle we lived by was to become my main inspiration. Designate a spot for everything in the house. My father always said that one shouldn’t struggle to find a candle even in the dark. My grandma reminded us to never leave a room empty-handed. The folding techniques we picked up from our aunts were so special that our wardrobes were never an embarrassment. I also had ideas about how I wanted to innovate.


I was beginning to realise that decluttering and tidying up is important for our health, happiness, relationships, success, and peace. People who are busy, and are struggling to get a grip on their surroundings could use professional help. I could add value to their lives by helping them get their surroundings organized. From not being able to find your nail-cutter, to misplacing the outfit you want to wear to work the next day or losing an important file – look for the signs. Clutter creates chaos, and I can think of several people in my own circle who could transform their lives with a little help and simple change in their lifestyle.


In 2019, I started offering my services as a professional decluttering consultant in UAE under the name – Declutter with Ana. Bigger houses, bigger kitchens, bigger wardrobes, easy access to modern organizing tools were to make my job exciting. It was about the same time when I discovered the world of social media – Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn as an extension of myself. From awkwardly fidgeting in front of a camera, I have grown to chronicle my decluttering experiences with ease and confidence. Slowly but surely people are opening up to me about the stress that mess is causing them. It surprises them how much clutter impacts them. After a decluttering experience, I see my clients often feeling happier, more optimistic, invigorated, and hopeful.


“I recently helped a woman declutter her kitchen. As the work in her kitchen progressed, I noticed how she started to feel her stress reduce.”

I recently helped a woman declutter her kitchen. She was eager to kickstart a healthy eating routine, but the kitchen simply didn’t provide the right environment. As the work in her kitchen progressed, I noticed how she started to feel her stress reduce. She was happy to see new jars replace the old ones, food move into cleaner & clearer containers, a fresh and systematic fridge, a systematic labelling system and ultimately – a welcoming kitchen. The process also helped her realise that she was stocking too much grocery, and helped her streamline her expenses and monthly consumption, reducing wastage and overspending. It also put her in the right frame of mind to initiate a healthy eating and cooking routine. She wakes up early, takes a walk, does some yoga and is starting to feel much happier and healthier.


The underlying principle of decluttering is – mess causes stress, so declutter to destress! As a decluttering consultant, I often say that decluttering is best clubbed with relocating. When you are moving houses, you’re forced to take every single thing out of its hiding spot for it to be scrutinized. The optimism of a new and organised house puts you in the right frame of mind to let things go if they have stopped being useful.


One of my daughter’s friends recently called for some decluttering assistance as she was in the process of moving to a new house. She had contracted E-movers to help her move. I was wary of working with packers and movers, assuming they may not understand what we were trying to achieve there. However, it was a pleasant surprise to see that the team had a few girls who were trained to handle the delicate items with extra care. I was thoroughly impressed by the professional and gentle way the staff handled the move. They keenly listened to my guidelines, showed interest in how I would organise things in the new house, segregated items as I instructed, and responded with utmost respect to my very unusual requests! I would recommend their services to all my clients who are intending to move since we work in synergy and share the same motto – No Mess, No stress!


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Disclaimer: The stories are a work of fiction based on facts. Identies and details may have been altered to suit the narrative.