Peter Walsh Masterclass at Porter Davis “World of Style”
By Dani Wales
World of Style by Porter Davis has recently launched an exciting series of workshops to be hosted in the South Melbourne showroom throughout the year, featuring an enviable line-up of talent.
The curated workshops will see some of the country’s leading tastemakers and authorities in the home space bring their knowledge and expertise across landscape design, organisational design, cooking and interiors to audience members through various events and experiences in the impressive World of Style showroom.
Kicking off the series in March with a bang was none other than garden guru and Designer, Jamie Durie. Jamie shared with audiences how to get the most out of their outdoor space by bringing together landscaping, architecture, lighting, furnishings and decoration to transform any unruly backyard into an outdoor oasis.
The next Masterclass on the agenda is (someone I desperately need advice from) Organisational Design Expert, Peter Walsh. Peter is a television & radio personality as well as the author of numerous New York Times best-sellers. Peter will help guests find out what their cluttering style is, then share his simple techniques on how to beat the mess. He’s so good at this stuff, even Oprah Winfrey takes his advice.
With limited spaces left for Peter’s 2pm session this coming Saturday at World of Style in Melbourne, Basic Habitat was lucky enough to catch up with Peter and find out more about what it takes to be an Organisational Design Expert and some simple tips on how we can all be a little more organised in the home.
Can you describe what an Organisational Designer is and how you got into this field?
I believe that clutter is anything that gets between you and the life you’d like to be living. As a Professional Organiser, it’s my job to help people figure out what the clutter is and how to get rid of it. For some it’s as simple as the losing battle they have with something like the accumulation of mail; for others, it’s habits they’ve picked up over years that gets them into trouble. In a way, I’m simply a coach who helps people make the changes in their lives that they’ve been looking for. I’ve worked as an educator, in drug-prevention, and as a consultant in organisational change. I believe all of those experiences helped me get to where I am today.
Why do you think people struggle with organising their homes and lives?
We all have busy lives – there’s no doubt about that. Our time is limited. For some, the default then becomes that they’ll deal with what they see as the trivial stuff ‘later’. The problem is ‘later’ doesn’t come – or sometimes comes but only after another major problem (fights, financial problems, missed appointments) has arisen. There are so many behaviours people can learn which help those problems. But, the other major contributor to clutter is of course our stuff. We’re being constantly bombarded by smart advertisers who tell us that buying their product will improve our lives. It’s relentless. And, not only that, we live in a culture that tells us over and over again that if 1 is good, having 2 would be fantastic. At my talk, I go into this in some detail but it requires us to stop and think about our own personal accumulation behaviour. How do we buy things and how do we let things go?
You have spoken about ‘Cluttering Styles’ – can you please describe these?
I will go into more detail about these at my talk but I’ve come up with some general types of people I’ve encountered over the years. Almost everyone falls into at least one of these:
a) “The Behind Closed Doors Clutterer” is the person who rushes to close a door to either an overstuffed closet or guest room when there’s someone knocking at the front door.
b) “The Knowledge Clutterer” has a very tough time parting with magazines, newspapers, books, old schoolwork (textbooks, projects), etc. I love books but if they’re crowding you out of your living area, then you may need to realise that it’s 2016 and that almost every book is available digitally these days.
c) “The Techie Clutterer” holds onto that old printer, modem, outdated computer, every mobile phone, and every cable that’s come with it… even the boxes some of those things came with.
d) “The Family Historian” believes that they’ve been entrusted to keep the family heritage alive and well… that usually means they have a very hard time parting with even small unimportant items that may have belonged to someone in the family.
e) “The Bargain Shopper” has more rolls of toilet paper, more cans of soup, more types of tea then can be consumed before the inevitable Zombie Apocalypse. Nothing wrong with being prepared, of course – but when your stash is threatening to take over your life, you need to make a change.
What are three simple steps for people to become more organised?
a) Stop using the word ‘later’.
b) At the end of the day today, make a list of things you need to do tomorrow – do that everyday.
c) Get into the habit of what I call ‘finishing the cycle’ – when you do the laundry, fold it and put it away; when you take out an item put it back when you’re finished using it. “I’m tired” or “I don’t want to” are excuses 5 year olds use… not you.
For those struggling with minimal cupboard space, how can you maximise the space you have available?
In the kitchen, think about racks you can attach to the backs of cupboard doors; add Lazy Susans to deep cupboards so that items don’t get lost in the back; and don’t overstock – have only what you really need. In the bedroom, go vertical: cascading hangers works well to double up clothes hanging space; attach over-the-door shoe organisers which work well for not just shoes but also for purses, scarves, etc.
When designing a home, what should be the key design features to incorporate to ensure the environment has the best possible chance of staying organised?
I’m a fan of any design which helps people get/stay organised. Sometimes that happens subconsciously. Open, light, bright rooms bring happiness. Glass front doors in cupboards in kitchens generally get people to keep their stuff down to a minimum and fully organised. In en-suites, closet built-in’s always help people naturally put clothes away in their proper place as opposed to just one big pile. And, if the most trafficked area for in/out of the house is through the garage, an area right inside the door for phone charging, mail, keys, wallet, etc. is extremely helpful.
What do you love most about Melbourne?
I’ve been lucky to travel all over the world with my job and I still think my hometown of Melbourne is the best city of them all. I love the food, the laneways, the style, the amazing range of things to do – but probably I love the relaxed attitude of Melbournians most of all!
Tickets to attend Peter’s Masterclass can be purchased at worldofstyle.eventbrite.com with limited seats available. $10 per ticket will be charged with all tickets proceeds going towards World of Style’s charity, Kids Under Cover.