This Girl Can Organise’s approach to decluttering shows how it can boost your mental health. Founder and Chigwell local Nicola Lewis explains to Ellie-Mae Hammond how it all works
As the stigma behind mental health erodes, the conversation on how to keep our minds healthy has become something that is taken very seriously. The face behind ‘This Girl Can Organise’, Nicola Lewis, is making it her mission to connect the dots between the art of organisation and the effect this has on our mental health and wellbeing.
“My decluttering journey began when I was made redundant, previously I was an investment banker,” the Chigwell local starts her story. “One day, I sat down with my husband and brainstormed my next moves. I knew I wanted my next career venture to be something that was a hobby and a passion combined.” From a day spent at her kitchen table, Lewis kept spiralling back round to one talent of hers that stuck out like no other. “I was raised by two queens of organisation, my mother and my grandma, so I learned from the best and I was good at it. Growing up I had a really happy childhood, and within that, my life was full of happy routine. I think this is where my love for organisation came from.”
It’s easy to see that Lewis’s passion for organisation is infectious and deep rooted. “It’s all fun and games being good at organisation, but I wanted to find a way to help others through this hobby of mine, it was a no-brainer to me, a way to have a positive effect on someone else’s life.”
As someone who is very open about the conversation surrounding mental health, I was intrigued to hear Lewis’s take on how mental health is so deeply connected with organisation. “They are massively connected,” she insists, “there’s two sides to it. From my experience working with different clients, I see the extreme, which is the need to clean constantly due to the need of control, or to combat anxiety.
“When it comes down to applying your need to declutter to your state of mind, it’s important to not overwhelm yourself, set up small tasks, one tick off the list is better than none – celebrate those small wins,” she says. I find myself relating to every word she is saying, the thought of tackling more than I can chew sometimes has a negative effect on my mental health, and this is something she directs her clients not to do. “Look into your current mood and see how you can heighten that, this will then have a snowball impact on how you process the tasks that need to be done. It’s all about balance, don’t apply pressure to do everything at once, pull section by section, and step by step.”
The reality of Lewis’s talent manifesting into something beyond a hobby came in the form of a book deal from HarperCollins. “I was in complete shock really,” she says. “I knew my main focus was to offer people some direction to their household routine, without it sounding overwhelming or dictatorial. I wanted it to be a ‘this is what you can achieve if you want to bring calm back into your home’, this is what people are wanting if their desire is to get rid of the clutter inside their home and inside their mind. I offer real practical solutions, bringing a fun element to organising. There’s plenty of people out there waving the flag for us organisers, but I think what sets me apart is my focus on people, how they can update themselves with various parts of their mental health through decluttering. I think this is what differentiates me.”
The process, as she explains, is kept simple. “I get the client to write down all that they want to be done and what they want to change, we then get the necessary things to carry this out, I arrive and begin the decluttering. And then I implement a system, that can be maintained after I leave.”
The future is bright for This Girl Can Organise, there’s word of a second book, a YouTube channel on the way, and a potential course is being developed. Watch this decluttered spaced.