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Letting go of inner and physical clutter the South African way

The world has gone crazy about decluttering, and the team behind Pak weg, pak reg are helping South Africans reorganise their cluttered homes and emotions – one room at a time
Thu, Nov 19, 2020

Decluttering has been called the magic element which restores mind, body and soul.

Marie Kondo is the famous author behind the bestselling book, The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up, and the Japanese decluttering guru for desperate homeowners trying to reclaim their space. Her KonMari method helps you re-evaluate the contents of your home by asking, "does this spark joy?". If it doesn't, it goes in the throwaway/donation pile; if it does, you keep it in your wardrobe, on your shelf or in the designated cupboard (albeit folded, placed or set down in a particular way and order).

South Africans weren't far behind in jumping on the KonMari bandwagon, and with the extra home-days the national lockdown afforded us, many homeowners decided to reuse, repurpose and recycle unwanted items in their homes.

Enter Carin Smith and Jani Augustyn-Goussard, the dynamic duo on VIA's popular DIY show, Pak weg, pak reg.

In the first season, we see them transform 13 cluttered spaces – from garages and sewing rooms, to kitchens and home offices – into practical and stylish rooms that work. But it isn't always easy letting go of things that you've had for years, even though you haven't used them in forever.

Augustyn-Goussard says there is a place for sentimentality, but that you shouldn't leave it unchecked. "This is difficult for me, as I am very sentimental, but I think what you can do is focus on the journeys that life takes you on. Keep sentimental things that you know will always be part of your journey."

Smith agrees: "Sentimentality influences how you declutter because you tend to hold on to sentimental things." She suggests keeping a memory box for the things you would like to keep, but don't necessarily want to display.

The duo was confronted with many spaces that were overly cluttered and needed to formulate plans before jumping into each project. They start their process of decluttering by identifying the need in the room. "Many people have no clear definition of what the space will be used for, which is why it becomes a dumping ground," Smith says.

In the second episode, we see a clear example of this when a disorganised garage is transformed into a laundry area cum gardening shed. It isn't easy, but taking the time to find a designated space for everything will pay off in the long run.

Smith's tips for keeping an organised home includes having everyone on the same page – the system needs to work for everyone and everyone should know where everything goes. "Declutter as you go and make sure that you know what you have before you buy another," she says.

Augustyn-Goussard has her own tips for keeping things practically perfect: "One in, one out – this one is a great tip! If you buy anything new, you have to give the other one away."

She also mentions thinking about the environmental cost of your purchases, colour coding/blocking to make a space with loads of colour look harmonised, as well as inner peace. "This sounds very airy-fairy, but if you have peace within yourself, you realise that you need a lot less stuff. There is no need for emotional shopping. Don't just consume more clutter. It will not fill your heart," she says.

Armed with a power drill and a paintbrush, these two can transform your messy space into the beautifully practical room you've always dreamt of. And watching the show to see the transformations in other people's homes take place is just as rewarding as re-organising your own home, isn't it?

  • Pak Weg, Pak Reg is on VIA (DStv 147), Wednesdays at 9.30pm