Top Tips from a Duo of De-Cluttering experts

The craze of de-cluttering is taking our country by storm. To that effect, we get top tips from a duo of de-cluttering experts. In addition, we get their take on the emotion of it all. These veteran de-clutters, and sisters, discuss home in a way that inspires in many ways. It inspires a desire to clean out, pare down and take stock of what makes you happy and doesn’t.

A holistic approach to de-cluttering goes beyond the physical space and affects us emotionally

“A house is a structure with four walls; a place to sleep and eat. But a home is a conscious extension of the way we live our life.” – Laura Forbes Carlin

Sister Act Gives De-Cluttering Advice

Sisters Laura Forbes Carlin and Alison Forbes Van Hook have been changing lives since 2003. With their conscious homemaking lifestyle brand, Inspired Everyday Living, the sisters take a holistic approach to transforming home environments. They reflect the dreams and goals of the people who live there. De-cluttering is all the rage at the moment, thanks in part to a certain Japanese organizing consultant. But Laura and Alison learned at an early age that physical clutter equals emotional clutter. At just six and nine years old, Alison was  the re-decorator, while Laura was the and organizer.

Today, “our process is a holistic approach of consciously creating a home you love to inspire a love-filled life,” explains Laura, who has a master’s degree in Spiritual Psychology. “I do not come into a home and clear the physical clutter. It is a very personal process … emotional and spiritual,” she adds, explaining her role as a facilitator to help her clients find their “passion and purpose.” Getting rid of clutter, she says, helps to breed clarity and can actually cause a life shift.

Making Space for Family

In their new book, Clutter-free Parenting: Making Space in Your Home for the Magic of Childhood and the Joy of Parenthood, Laura and Alison explain how physical blocks in the home can hinder the flow of love between parents and their children. Laura gives a concrete example to explain this concept. She emphasizes that there is a definite ripple effect from clutter in our lives. ‘’Let’s say you are trying to get the kids out the door for school and can’t find a backpack [because there is too much stuff around and no specific place for school gear]. It gets later and later, the child misses the bus, the parent has to drive to school and is late for work, misses a meeting.” With this as the starting point to the day, everyone is frustrated and negatively affected. “One small change,” she says, “like clearing a space for backpacks, would solve the problem.”

The message that Laura and Alison communicate to both their families and clients is the idea of conscious homemaking. “Homemaking should be embraced,” says Laura, “and not according to the traditional, old-fashioned definition.” The real message behind Inspired Everyday Living is that “we are creating a foundation for our children,” says Alison; and, Laura adds, “our homes and lives are inextricably interconnected.” Conscious homemaking should teach children how to live, not only in their own homes, but also in the larger world.

“It’s about peace, connection and way of being,” says Laura. “What we carry out beyond the four walls of our home.”

Tips to Tackle De-Cluttering

Pick an area and start small. Small successes are motivating.

Take everything out and address each item individually.

Physically clean the space.

Determine if each item is loved or useful, and observe your physical response to each item.

Divide items based on their function. Is this item useful? Is there something else that fulfills the same need? Would you take this item with you if you move?

Find a home for everything. Whether it stays, is given away or thrown away, develop a relationship of gratitude and intention.


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