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Decluttering with Silver Lining |a GFH Lunch & Learn Event

Decluttering Tips from a Pro

The latest lunch and learn event at Gonzaga Family Haven was hosted by Angela Johnstone, a Tidying Artist who received her certification from Mari Kondo’s KonMari Method™ -- Johnstone offers her expertise in tidying people’s homes, which is life-changing for her clients.

Many participants at the Lunch and Learn Event are rebuilding their lives.

Decluttering can be massively helpful as well as a cathartic experience when navigating life’s changes.

The Decluttering Basics

Johnstone states, “you don’t have to get rid of everything.”

In fact, when helping clients, she finds that many expect her to judge their space with a harsh eye, which she does not.

Understanding that life happens, Johnstone shows up for her clients by offering strength, support, structure, and navigational tools, which help to launch her clients into what is known as a “Tidying Festival.”

To create the perfect environment for a Tidying Festival, she suggests “calming and motivational music that will help keep you focused.”

Questions to Ask Yourself While Tidying

Does everything have a place?

Does an item spark joy?

“You don’t have to get rid of everything, but you can notice that perhaps you have five can openers and actually only use one……it may be worth donating the additional can openers to open up valuable real estate in your kitchen.”

Johnstone speaks about valuable real estate when decluttering, which is important to discuss when addressing the clearing and cleaning of spaces.

Clients begin to view their storage space as valuable and the items that occupy that space as relevant to that space.

When looking in drawer and closet spaces, Johnstone offers tips and tricks – even offering lessons and giving examples on how to fold and store items.

One of her go-to methods for storing and organizing items is using a shoebox—in fact, she regularly asks her siblings to save their shoeboxes so she can gift them to clients for organizational purposes.

Shoeboxes are great to use as additional storage for drawers and shelving spaces -- one can really keep a space looking clean, organized, and bright when implementing Silver Lining’s best practices.

How to Get Started

Johnstone recommends starting with “clothing, books, and paper – these are referred to as “Kimono Spaces.”

Tackling the living room and livable spaces next and leaving the sentimental items for last.

Knowing What Clothing Items to Keep

Sorting through clothes can be a tough thing to do for some.

Johnstone has some great tips.

Decide on what items you use every day.

Next, “if you continually reach for an item of clothing (at least three times) and you never actually wear it – it’s time to donate the item or gift to a friend or family member who will enjoy it instead.”

General Organizational Tips

“Pull everything out from drawers and storage spaces in a room that you are looking to declutter.

Divide into subcategories.

Once everything is out, you can form a containment system.”

Johnstone recommends working in “one to three-hour increments” and stresses that “once you’ve done this type of cleaning once, “you’ll never have to tidy at this level again. But you will have to clean and maintain.”

To book Johnstone for your Tidy Festival, please see her website, Living Clutter Free | Silver Lining Tidying Artist | United States (



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