Tidy up: Feel better

During the corona pandemic, we have had to get used to spending a lot of time within the four walls of home. Many people work from home and are seldom able to go out in the evenings and at weekends. But do we feel comfortable in our homes? Meet social worker and LiU alumna Clara Johansson, who changed life in midstream and became tidying coach. 

Ebba Lillieström

Our homes affect our well-being. This became clear to Clara Johansson when visiting clients in their homes as a social worker. She decided to trust her conviction that we can fare better in well thought-out homes. Today, she helps people to tidy up at home and understand themselves and their behaviour.

“By far the best thing about my job is seeing people let go of things that have been keeping them back or causing them discomfort, and open themselves for a new life”, says Clara Johansson.

She graduated as a social worker from Linköping University and is passionate about people and their homes. She has combined her two passions since 2018 in the SolClara company, which helps people tidy up and organise their homes.

She felt it was natural to start her own business. She visited many homes during her five years as a social worker, and realised the significance of our homes for our well-being.

“I talked to a lot of people about how they were faring at home, and it became clear that many of them were not doing well. I know that it’s possible to make changes to improve well-being at home. I was itching to get going. I wanted to do something.” Photo credit Emi Svedberg

Creating order that persists

She decided to go for it, and travelled to London to take courses as a KonMari consultant. The KonMari method, developed by organisation expert Marie Kondo, focusses on creating order that persists. The core is a clearing process in which everything a person owns is cleared away. The only items retained are those that give good vibrations.

“You don’t just do one room at a time, but take the whole home at once. Both the clearing out and the organisation process are done in categories, and items of the same sort are to be given the same home.”

The psychological aspect

Clara Johansson has really got hold of the clearing process. But as time has passed, she has come to focus more intensively on the psychological aspect. As a social worker, she is interested in people and what causes them to feel good or otherwise – what causes various behaviours.

“The well-being of people, the connections between a person and their home, and the emotional ties we have to our possessions are what I focus on. When we examine in depth why we hold onto things and what it is that causes us to feel off kilter at home, well, then we can create a sustainable home in which we thrive”, she says.  

Our homes are often not suited to the life we are living.

“Many people live in the past and hold tightly onto things from there. People don’t get rid of things that belong to a previous life. They see their possessions and are reminded of who they no longer are, or what they no longer have”, says Clara Johansson.
 
But it’s also common to save for the future, for the summer cottage you’re planning to buy sometime, of the course in golfing you’re going to take.
 
“The more your home matches the life you’re living now, and the person you are now, the more energy and less excess you’ll have.”

Meeting people

Her work as tidying coach brings Clara Johansson into contact with many different types of people. Her role is to motivate her customers to change. She sets up schedules, and also helps with the practical tidying process.
 
Many people experience this as an energy drain in which memories and ancient emotions rise to the surface. It becomes important to have skills in how to encounter people.

 

I learned a lot during my education as social worker that I use in my role today.

 

“I learned a lot during my education as social worker that I use in my role today. I am used to meeting different types of people, and I’ve learnt to understand the background of various behaviours. I’m also good at meeting and talking to people. One thing I also try to practise is to turn everything inside out and see things from different perspectives.” Photo credit Emi Svedberg

Increased knowledge about home and health

In recent years, ideas of tidying and organising have got wind in their sails. More people have started to think about their patterns of consumption, and their impact on the home, wallet and environment. “Sustainability has become a buzzword”, Clara Johansson points out.
 
She hopes in the future to write a follow-up to her book Rensa, organisera och inred – För ett liv i balans och harmoni. And she hopes that the connections between the home and our well-being will gain ever greater focus, in particular within the social services.
 
“I’d like to work more with these questions. I loved my job as social worker, but now I can combine my two passions and get to focus on increasing knowledge about the links between home and health.”

 

Translation by George Farrants.

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