Imagine a clutter-free life that feels like a soothing oasis in the midst of chaos. In this month’s featured article, we dive into an enlightening conversation with Michael Villarroel, the mastermind behind “Simply by Michael”, a company dedicated to decluttering and organizing spaces. Michael’s journey towards this calling was unexpected. Known for his expertise in space organizing, Michael takes us through his journey, explaining how his joy of meticulously arranging toys and labeling shelves was his initial venture into what would eventually become his life’s mission.
About Michael, his company and background in organizing.
A decade ago, Michael initiated his venture, drawing upon a lifelong inclination for organization that began in childhood. His proclivity for labeling and arranging toys paved the way for a professional career, a path diverging from the corporate landscape he was entrenched in for years. A pivotal moment came when personal circumstances led him to reinvent his professional trajectory, transitioning from the finance sector to a role with a moving company.
The realization struck when Michael noticed the stress and disarray experienced by people during relocations. Recognizing the need for assistance in organizing and managing moves, he embarked on a journey to aid clients in streamlining this process. What commenced as part-time endeavors evolved into a full-fledged career when he was offered contract work by the Container Store, thus catapulting him into the realm of home organizing. As fate would have it, a referral from a store led to a groundbreaking opportunity with Contained Home, propelling Michael into a full-time career in organizing.
From initially handling closet design and organizing, Michael’s services expanded to include a concierge service encompassing various spaces like closets, garages, and coordinating moves for clients. His background in finance, customer relations, house flipping, and remodeling has uniquely prepared him to holistically assist clients in simplifying their lives.
His evolution from closet design and organizing to now offering a comprehensive concierge service showcases the depth of his commitment. Michael’s company handles every aspect of moving, from coordinating the pack and unpack process to efficiently organizing spaces like kitchens, pantries, and closets. His hands-on approach alleviates the stress for clients, particularly those transitioning to new homes, allowing them to focus solely on personalizing their spaces.
Why is it important to end/start the year with a clean, organized and clutter-free home?
When queried about the importance of starting or concluding a year with an organized living space, Michael emphasized the mental tranquility it offers. An organized environment, he contends, brings a sense of calmness and peace of mind. Contrary to the decluttering fervor popularized by TV shows, Michael’s approach isn’t about minimalism but about creating designated spaces for items. This approach mitigates overbuying tendencies and ensures a serene visual space where items are easily accessible. Simplifying lives is the core mission behind his company’s name.
What are some effective strategies the reader can use to declutter their homes?
To assist readers in decluttering, Michael stresses initiating the process, whether a small, and focusing on one space at a time, and methodically categorizing items: whether a drawer or a wall, and systematically progressing through the room or closet. He advocates the purposeful allocation of items within the house, avoiding random dispersal to prevent chaos. While distributing things to other areas, he advises against immediately finding a permanent spot, as this could lead to disrupting the entire house because this will overwhelm you and your family. Instead, placing items temporarily in one room facilitates an organized approach.
How would you approach organizing diverse spaces?
Whether it’s the kitchen, closet, or garage, Michael suggests assessing “valuable real estate” making frequently used items easily accessible and categorizing similar items together. He encourages evaluating necessity and conscious donation, focusing on functionality rather than excessive organization. Michael’s organizational strategies extend beyond mere tidying; they focus on optimizing spaces for functionality while balancing aesthetics. His services aim to alleviate the stress of organization, tailoring spaces to suit individual lifestyles without demanding unattainable perfection.
How do you determine with a client what is important to keep, or how to organize it? How do you tackle with letting go of sentimental items?
For those struggling with letting go of sentimental items, Michael proposes creative solutions. He advocates gifting or repurposing cherished possessions to maintain their emotional value while minimizing clutter. His approach involves reimagining items that hold sentimental value, transforming them into functional yet sentimental elements of daily life, conscious donation, and setting boundaries to avoid accumulating unnecessary items.
How can someone maintain an organized space, avoiding clutter from accumulating again?
When it comes to organizing different spaces like kitchens, closets, or garages, Michael stresses the importance of optimizing valuable items by placing frequently used ones in easily accessible areas and reserving storage and high shelves for items used occasionally or seasonally. What you can easily reach should hold the essentials. Categorize and match similar items together, making it a breeze to find what you need when you need it. His organizational strategies extend beyond mere tidying; they focus on optimizing spaces for functionality while balancing aesthetics. Michael’s services aim to alleviate the stress of organization, tailoring spaces to suit individual lifestyles without demanding unattainable perfection.
Do you have any tips for organizing spaces during the busy holiday season when there’s often more stuff coming in?
To start, Michael advises people not to feel overwhelmed. Items enter your home regularly, not just during holidays—whether it’s mail, groceries, or other things, there’s a constant inflow. The longer you live in a house, the more things tend to accumulate and while many people often declutter once a year, it doesn’t have to be limited to that. For example, before Christmas, Michael shared that in regard to his daughter’s toys, he would prompt her to review her toy room and identify toys she no longer plays with. Then, we’d move on to a donation phase, creating room for new gifts from Santa. This taught her to set limits, such as allocating a specific chest for stuffed animals. When it reached capacity, she had to select one to donate before adding a new one. Although it was challenging, this taught her the importance of aiding others and not holding onto everything from her childhood.
How can families involve everyone in the decluttering and organizing process, especially during the end of year cleanup?
Michael encourages involving the entire family in the decluttering process, especially during seasonal cleanups. He considers this a crucial learning experience, particularly for children, teaching values of selflessness by donating unused toys to families in need.
Cost considerations also play a pivotal role in his advice, as he urges individuals to evaluate the value they’ve derived from items. Michael also mentioned the financial impact of holding onto possessions unnecessarily, empowering others to make informed decisions about their belongings.
Could you share a success story about how your services transformed a client’s space and improved their life?
There are numerous success stories, but one memorable client stands out. An older woman living alone in a larger home faced challenges due to health limitations. Redesigning her kitchen was a significant task. We worked closely with a contractor, ensuring drawers were installed instead of cabinets at lower levels for easy access. She appreciated the thoughtfulness in storing items within reach, transforming her kitchen into a functional space despite her limitations. Understanding how she used her space and incorporating those insights into the design made a significant difference in her daily life.
Michael’s expertise extends beyond just tidying up; it’s about understanding how people interact with their spaces. This holiday season, amid the flurry of festivities, Michael, a specialist in space organizing, shared some invaluable tips. Through his brand, “Simply by Michael,” he not only reimagines the concept of organization but also cultivates a deep sense of peace and unity within our living spaces. Don’t let the clutter take over! Embrace his practical insights to declutter, organize, and foster joy by sharing what you no longer need with those who might cherish it more. Remember, a clutter-free space isn’t just for the holidays; it’s for life’s everyday tranquility.
Special thanks to Michael Villaroel for extending his invitation and hosting me for this interview.
You can reach Michael at 206-730-6776 or at MichaelVillarroel@hotmail.com