Culture control services taking off

Home organization staffers clean up

Five hours after stepping into the home of a 90-year-old woman in Shanghai, Lei Lei left with a cornucopia of items.

They included 86 shopping bags, stacks of expired retail coupons and tickets, eight plastic combs, two bags of plastic fans and a variety of objects that had not been used for decades.

More importantly, she also left with a great sense of satisfaction, and the client was delighted as part of the bargain.

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“This process is also a wonderful experience for me,” said Lei, a young mother of two who has worked as a professional home organizer for 15 months.

“Being able to transform chaos into order makes me feel great. What I think is even more important is getting to see families regain the beauty of an orderly living space.”

Lei, who runs the company 37 Degrees, is just one of many people who have joined the relatively new home decluttering services sector, which has been increasingly attracting attention in recent years.

The concept of decluttering stems from the Japanese term danshari, which comprises three characters that mean “refusal”, “disposal” and “separation”.

In China, Han Yi’en, founder of Yien Organization, which trains home organizers, is considered a pioneer in this budding sector. Inspired by Marie Kondo, the Japanese woman who popularized decluttering globally, Han started by offering free home organization services on weekends in 2013.

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