Restoring Peace at Home

By Eve Wee-Ang 2023-02-23 16:49:44

It's become a familiar occurrence. Our kids are pulled from school for home-based learning with the entire family together under one roof. I don’t know about you, but there were numerous times I wished I had a magic wand I could wave so that in a blink of an eye, everything would be organized according to my way, without me nagging or lifting a finger. As a KonMari tidying consultant, who guides and coaches clients throughout the entire tidying process, I was curious to find out if there were other tidying companies in Shanghai that cater to clients who prefer minimum involvement.


CALO, which stands for China Association of Life Organizers, is the domestic partner of the Japan Association of Life Organizers (JALO) and the only Chinese representative member of The International Federation of Professional Organizing Associations (IFPOA) - a governing body that ensures best practices amongst professional organizers globally. CALO certified practitioners undergo various levels of training programs and are called Life Organizers in China. I spoke with Luo Chen, a certified Life Organizer from CALO who has been helping clients restore calm in their homes since 2015.


Please take us through the initial process when a client first connects with you.

LC: Clients usually connect with me through my social media where we briefly discuss the challenges they are facing and their family’s demographic, such as the size of their home and the number of occupants. This is followed by a house visit and a personal consultation where I dive deep into the client’s homelife and their ideal lifestyle. Guided by the client, my co-worker and I tour the entire home by opening every drawer and exploring all nooks and crannies to gain clarity on their challenges. A majority of clients who engage us are seeking storage solutions, so this session is an integral part to achieving their objectives. We brainstorm ideas, measure their space, provide storage suggestions, and recommend places they can purchase items. Once that’s done, I present the client with a detailed proposal with a timeline of completion and quotation.



In the KonMari tidying method, clients are involved throughout the entire journey. How different is this from the CALO organizing method?

LC: I was first introduced to the concept of tidying through Marie Kondo’s book too and began by tidying my own home. The KonMari method is emotive, as it advocates touching every item and asking ourselves if it brings joy. In my experience, there are clients who are more methodical and analytical, who may find it challenging to grasp the “spark joy” concept. I have also encountered clients who do not wish to throw anything away but would like to live in an organized space. I found myself gravitating towards CALO’s people-centric philosophy. We acknowledge and respect that everyone is uniquely different and let our clients decide their level of involvement. My mission is to help them achieve the life they wish to live.


Let’s return to the client’s tidying journey. What happens after the client accepts your proposal?

LC: Depending on the size of a client’s home, I bring at least two co-workers to assist me. Most of my clients engage our services to organize the entire home. We work room by room, say, the walk-in closet first, followed by the kitchen, then the living room, depending on the client’s preference. We remove every item from the cabinets, divide them into sub-categories, and lay them out for the client to sort. I assist the client should they have difficulties letting go or require special storage solutions. Once that’s done, we help fold and organize everything back. It can be mentally draining for clients who find themselves making decisions throughout the whole tidying process. Hence, at CALO, we take care of the physical tasks for them so that clients need only to concentrate on making sound decisions. Typically, for a 150 sqm house, the entire tidying process takes about 2-3 days to complete.



What is your most rewarding moment as a Life Organizer?

LC: When clients tell me their life has changed for the better because of my work. I have clients who engage me when they begin different phases of their life, from being single to married to becoming parents. As a Life Organizer, I am invited into my clients’ personal lives through their belongings. Knowing that I leave their home better than I came feels incredibly rewarding.


WeChat: luochen0629

Photos by Mavindu (WeChat: mavinduzero)