Need to De-Clutter? Take a Few Tips From Jane Veldhoven, Professional Organizer and Host of ‘The Big Downsize’

Top Four - The Big Downsize

Need to de-clutter or downsize? Jane Veldhoven, host of 'The Big Downsize' on VisionTV, offers tips for achieving a clean, clutter-less home.Photo: Kei Uesugi/GettyImages

With a year of lockdowns under our belt, it’s safe to say we’ve never spent as much time in or around our homes. Whether that’s inspired a re-think of things inside your existing four walls or a move to greener — and possibly smaller — pastures, we’ve enlisted a professional to help you get organized.

Jane Veldhoven, professional organizer and host of The Big Downsize — Season 3 debuts Monday, Apr. 5 at 9 p.m. ET on VisionTV (a ZoomerMedia property) — says she gets paid to do what she loves.

“When I discovered that there were a hundred or so professional organizers across Canada with successful businesses, I couldn’t wait to join them!” she says of getting certified more than 15 years ago and opening the Halifax firm, Get Organized by Design.

Of course, the pretty stuff also matters says Veldhoven, who is a certified interior decorator as well, and that brings us to her first lesson.

“I believe that a beautifully decorated space that brings joy is much more likely to stay organized,” she says. “If you love your home, you will be much more motivated to keep it neat and tidy.”


When De-Cluttering, Start With Things You Don’t Love


Speaking of love, when tackling clutter or doing — yes, here comes the P-word — a purge, start in a space that you want to love more, and with things for which there is no love lost.

“I always like to start with whatever grouping is the easiest for clients to let go of or, in the one room that they use daily that will make them really happy if it’s de-cluttered and organized,” Veldhoven says.

“The idea is that they are warming up their decision-making muscles on something easy, so that their skill for letting go grows as we work towards a more difficult task.”

The Big Downsize
Jane Veldhoven (left) and Susan Sparks, from ‘The Big Downsize’ Season 3, survey the contents of the china cabinet. Tip: Before you tackle heirlooms and valuables, practise purging with items that carry less sentiment. Photo: Courtesy ‘The Big Downsize’


The Rule of One


Aside from managing the clutter in your home, check the clutter in your shopping cart. Use the rule of one in, one out.

“Stop for a minute or two and look at what you have decided to purchase and ask yourself, ‘Do I really need this?’ ‘Where am I going to put this?’ And, ‘What am I going to let go of to make room for this?'” Veldhoven advises.


Managing Moving Stress


In the new season of The Big Downsize, Veldhoven helps two households pair down for a big move to to a smaller space.

“There are several keys to managing move stress. The most important is to start editing your possessions up to a year in advance of your move,” she recommends.

And to stay organized, use a master list to capture everything that needs to be done — adding tasks as they pop into your head.

Once you’ve purged everything you think you can, Veldhoven says to purge again.

“A second pass with a more critical lens on what you need to keep will be well worth the effort. The less you own, the less you have to pack, the less you have to unpack, the less stressful your move will be,” she says.

When thinking about what to take, imagine how you would fill your new space if you had nothing to take. “Look at your furniture and artwork and decide if you love it enough to take it to your new small space. Or, is it time for something new?”

Sell, give away or donate whatever doesn’t fit the wish list (and whatever doesn’t fit, period).

In Veldhoven’s experience, there’s never a better time than the past for getting started when it comes to organizing your home.

“Most often at the end of a project I will hear, ‘Why didn’t I do that sooner? I feel so much better and more in control of my life.'”

To find a certified organizer in your area, visit Professional Organizers in Canada at