The Declutter Mantra

Rohini Rajagopalan, a certified professional organizer, founded Organize with Ease as a way to offer original solutions to help clean up almost any space.

An orderly space, where everything is clean and in its place and there is a place for everything, is not just a way of methodical living but also radiates positive energy, with implications for mental health. However, we are all guilty of hoarding and unconsciously slipping into a world of clutter. But, wait, help is at hand…

It was during a summer vacation, when she was visiting her cousin, that Rohini Rajagopalan’s aunt gave her what she calls her “first job,” asking her to organize her cousin’s wardrobe. Once finished, Rajagopalan realized that tidying up was inborn.

“That was when I read up about Marie Kondo and her work and realized that this actually is a profession, and that people abroad are offering this as a service,” she says.

After studying in Bangalore and then in Chandigarh, where she earned her bachelor’s degree, Rajagopalan started her career at an event management company, then moved into full-fledged marketing, working for companies like Red Bull, Tommy Hilfiger and Palladium, a luxury mall in Bombay.

A cupboard, before and after some organizing by Rajagopalan

“When I encountered Marie Kondo and read her book, I just did not believe that people would actually invest in hiring someone to tidy up their spaces,” she says. “So, I spent some time understanding how it works, the science behind it. I did a few courses online from associations in the U.K. and U.S. I found some friends who offered to be my guinea pigs. I always had apprehensions of how it would work in a space like in Indian homes, because unlike the West we have adequate domestic help. However, I realized that the way tidying is done is when you involve a third person who is neutral and objective. I saw a huge shift in how much they maintain the changed wardrobe and sustain it. The wardrobe remains 80% the same but the buying pattern changed.”

Rajagopalan grew up in an environment where she saw her mother work and where the men were extremely supportive.

“Being a woman in the field is not a challenge,” she says. “I think my bigger challenge as an entrepreneur has been about self-motivation and discipline. My take on Women’s Day – or any day for that matter – is that I love the spirit. Women’s Day, at least in my circle, is a great opportunity to just catch up with friends, have a good time, and just use this as an excuse to reconnect with your circle of girlfriends.”

Rajagopalan is inspired not just by one thing or one person and says she reads a lot.

“I could be inspired by that book, its author and her experience in life or some amazing women and family, and friends both male and women,” Rajagopalan says. “Inspiration for me comes from my everyday living. It is what I see around me could just be something someone is doing well.”

Her advice to young wannabe women entrepreneurs is to first pursue a good education and give it all they have.

A drawer, before and after the Rajagopalan treatment

“Do not worry about the competition,” Rajagopalan says. “Nobody is competing. Everyone has market space. Do not ever not do something because you feel there are many others doing it. In any city there are thousands of restaurants, and 80 percent of them have their own niche clientele. So I think it is about finding your unique space. There is always going to be a bunch of clients who will be attracted if you position yourself right. So find that unique selling proposition and give it your all. And remember to dream big.”

Rajagopalan hopes to expand her work to other cities since she believes the primary objective is to break the myth around organizing, and reduce the stress and tedium associated with it.

She points out to her company is called Organize with Ease.

“It is about making organizing easy and fun for every person interested in it,” Rajagopalan says. “Secondly, we want to find unique ways to empower people to tidy up their spaces. We have some fun plans, but it is too early to reveal them. But it is going to be an exciting year.”

Check out this story on learning to cook.