• Hands up, anyone who has embarked on the mission of decluttering their homes during the entire Movement Control Order. Certainly, it’s a rather natural thing to want to do, but have you actually wondered why though?

Well, if you haven’t already, watch Tidying Up With Marie Kondo on Netflix. It provides that “aha” moment when you realise how stress can also be caused by the accumulation of useless things in our lives. And it explains why we feel good whenever we see functional living spaces.

Psychological studies, including 2016’s In Pursuit of Happiness: Phenomenological Study of the Konmari Decluttering Method, and 2017’s Procrastinators and Clutter: An Ecological View of Living with Excessive “Stuff,” throw more light on the matter. They reveal how clutter has negative emotional and psychological impacts on one’s life, in the form of chronic anxiety, dissatisfaction, and frustration.

If you didn’t put your hand up at the start of this article, you might want to consider using the CMCO to declutter. Yes, we know it can be a daunting task. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you’re faced with piles of old garments and sentimental items. We struggled to decide if that Sandro suit we bought three years ago might still fit if we lose five kilograms. And then there were all those little gifts from people that we don’t need but feel it is disrespectful to throw away. Dilemmas galore.

To make it easier, we got in touch with Dana Koh and Debby Kwong at Sortorial Singapore to seek their advice on how to get started, and how to stay motivated to see it through.

Sorted hangers. Photo: Sortorial
Sorted hangers. Photo: Sortorial
tell us about Sortorial’s brand philosophy.

To sort out and style up. It’s as simple as that. We set out to optimise your wardrobes, from both a home organisation and personal styling perspective.

what is it that people need to understand about decluttering?

That the chaos that surrounds you may be a reflection of the chaos within you. So decluttering can be a form of therapy, bringing you both visual pleasure and inner peace. Letting go of any wardrobe “baggage” that could be tied to old memories, past expectations or just bad (read: impulse) decisions could, in fact, be flipped into a cause by donating or recycling those pieces.

As a result, this creates a fresh room for style experimentation and evolution.

Organised shoe rack for easy selection. Photo: Sortorial
Organised shoe rack for easy selection. Photo: Sortorial
What interesting differences have you noticed between the closets of male and female clients?

Space is the key difference. A bulk of our male clients engage our services because they have very little closet space, and need us to get their spouse’s wardrobe in order to organise and even things out.

You might think women have greater shopaholic-hoarder tendencies. But we’ve come across some male-owned closets filled with duplicates of the same thing that they pride as personal collections. Imagine 20 jerseys, dozens of printed ties or colourful socks, and same model sneakers in various colourways.

Also, male-owned wardrobes tend to be more uniform with fewer categories of clothes than women’s. They can then have multiple sub-categories, which can get out of hand sometimes.

and are there differences between the way your male and female clients approach decluttering?

Our male clients are a lot more protective of their spaces. They tend to take comfort in knowing where everything is in their own “organised chaos.” So it takes a little more convincing when we need to re-order and re-organise things.

Compartmentalised ties. Photo: Sortorial
Compartmentalised ties. Photo: Sortorial
it can be overwhelming, especially if we have years’ worth of accumulation. wHere do we start?

Start with exactly what has changed over the years: Your body and your style. So the process of elimination always starts with what doesn’t fit any more, what doesn’t go with your current fashion choices, and those “I’ll wear that someday” pieces. It’s time to let them go, and you can donate them to those in need.

Once decluttered, you’ll then get a much better picture of what you have and what works, so you can make smarter style and shopping decisions moving forward.

Some things are just too difficult to let go of, be it letters or the first watch from one’s father. When does keeping things close to one’s heart become hoarding and what’s the best way to decide what to keep and what to trash?

A lot of what we hoard stems out of “just in case” thoughts or unnecessary emotional attachment, like an old textbook, love letters, your first plane ticket, soft toys, and such. A watch inherited from dad, however, has great sentimental value and can be passed down to the next generation as well, making that a treasure you’d want to hold on to.

Be honest with yourself. Trash what doesn’t serve you or anyone a purpose. Or you could give it away for them to be recycled if you think they could be of value or use to someone else. It’s just a matter of being realistic and asking yourself what’s really meaningful to keep.

A well-organised gentleman's wardrobe. Photo: Sortorial
Keeping a gentleman’s wardrobe tidy. Photo: Sortorial
How often should one declutter? Because “as often as possible” could also mean “every other eve of a festive season” for some. we know that can’t be good.

I’d say dedicate two to three hours on the weekends over a month, which gives you time in between to properly evaluate what you need and what you don’t, and how best you want to reorder your stuff to your needs.

Otherwise, you could just give Sortorial a call. We have a list of options, and we’d recommend The Essentials package where we do a wardrobe detox and organisation for a standard apartment-type closet (across clothes, bags, shoes, and vanity area) in four hours. It’s usually two of us on the job, and similar results could take one at least eight to 10 hours to complete on his or her own.

What’s in your “Sortorial Kit”?

Our main Sortorial arsenal is stocked with thin velvet hangers; S-type hangers for pants; large white baskets or fabric bins to create drawer-like compartments within closets; acid-free paper for stuffing and lining bags; vacuum bags. They’re all used to neatly put away off-season pieces like winter wear; and a host of collapsible boxes for clothes, shoes, and accessories.

But we usually customise our kits according to each job. So we’ll usually do an online consultation first to find out exactly what we need to bring on our “sortorial mission.”


Visit Sortorial’s website here for more details on wardrobe organising services and more.

This story first appeared in August Man Singapore.

Subscribe to the magazine

Subscribe Now
Never miss an update

Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest updates.

No Thanks
You’re all set

Thank you for your subscription.