Have you ever felt a spark of motivation to declutter your closet? Or your office table? Or your kitchen cupboard?
And, afterwards, weren’t you physically relieved? At the risk of sounding cliché, wasn’t it a burden off your shoulders?
Decluttering and organizing are proven to improve your mental well-being. Clearing the unnecessary and organizing the necessary is an instant mood booster. In the long run, less clutter means less mental clutter too.
But what if you can’t remember when you last Spring cleaned? What if the clutter in your office is getting in the way of your productivity? Sometimes, just thinking of the clutter is exhausting. It might seem easier to cram it all in a drawer and shut it out of your vision.
Today we talk to Shelina Jokhiya. Shelina Jokhiya took her passion for organization and built a business out of it. Through DeCluttr Me, she has helped people across the UAE regain control over their homes, offices, and indeed their lives, through organization.
We talk to Shelina Jokhiya her experience as a professional organizer in Dubai.
What is your professional background?
I am an England and Wales qualified Solicitor. I was an In-house Lawyer for over 12 years in London and the UAE.
Going from a Solicitor to a Professional Organizer seems like a huge change. What made you head in that direction?
I have always been organized since I was a little girl; I always wanted the cupboards and wardrobes in our home to be organized properly at all times. I dreamt of creating an organizing business about 15 years ago with a close friend of mine. We thought that we were crazy coming up this idea so we carried on with our jobs and moving countries and so on.
Four years ago I was frustrated with my job and started googling about organizing as a business. I found that it is a massive industry in the USA and UK. I also found that no one was running this type of business in the UAE and Middle East region so decided to start the business here as there was a need for it. Hence DeCluttr Me started in 2013.
What services does Decluttr Me offer?
We help people to get rid of the clutter in their life, whether physical or mental in their daily life (from home to office). We are often seen as the client’s office manager or personal assistant, helping them to stay organized in their lives.
What kind of obstacles have you faced since founding your business?
The main obstacle was educating people on decluttering and what it entailed and how I could help. I don’t throw everything that the client owns into the dustbin, but help them decide what should stay and what should go. Everything that is left is then put into proper organized systems.
Decluttering and organizing is not considered cool or innovative so I was dismissed by a lot of people especially at networking events when I first started my business. However, as people gain more knowledge and as organizing becomes known globally, there is a newfound respect for my industry and business.
What gets you excited about organization?
When I first see the clutter I get excited as I can start visualizing what the area will look like once it is organized. The feeling of helping someone to relieve the burden which can be caused by clutter does make me feel happy and excited as well. The joy after we’ve finished a session is so rewarding.
What do you think is the most common cause of disorganization in Dubai?
There is a big shopping culture here and due to lack of knowledge on the matter, there is not much decluttering. Due to this culture, the clutter accumulates in people’s daily life.
What is the single most important rule we should live by in order to be more organized?
Have a place for everything. If you don’t have a place for it, should it be in your life? Also, if you bring in something, something has to go to stop the clutter building up.
Tell us about a surprising moment you’ve faced on the job.
The kindness of my clients. I have been blessed with meeting some really wonderful people and helping them to change their lives. It is not easy to let a stranger into your home and to let them see you laid bare. But clients not only let me in but are incredibly kind during the session and after. I stay in touch with the majority of my clients and get updates from them every so often which is so awesome.
Do you have any advice for women who are thinking of changing their careers?
Just do it. If you fail you can always do something else. If you don’t try, you will never know. I wish I had started before, but I have used the skills I gained whilst working for companies to help create my business.
Be organized from the start with your digital files, your paper files, marketing, finance, everything. Start organized and it will be easier to then delegate to staff once you start growing.
What can businesswomen do to support one another?
Talk about the challenges and provide advice to each other on how to get over these challenges. If you are a businesswoman and have been running it for a few years, mentor new businesswomen. Help each other. I recall when I started that it was very difficult to find anyone willing to be my mentor and guide me when I was starting my business. I finally found a wonderful lady to mentor me and she has become not only my mentor but friend. Without her I would not have known how to be a successful at sales and marketing (I was always good at finance and legal (unsurprisingly)).
You heard it from Shelina Jokhiya and we second her. If you’re a businesswoman, stand by other women. Raise each other up. DeCluttr Me is an example of the power of mentorship.
We were happy to talk to Shelina Jokhiya, a pioneer in organization in the Middle East. We hope her story inspires you to take clutter seriously and make a change in your life.