A Clutter-Free Zone
We speak to Shelina Jokhiya, Managing Director of professional organising service, Decluttr ME.
June 15, 2014 3:57 by kippreport
By Andrea Anastasiou
Shelina Jokhiya set up Decluttr Me – a Dubai-based professional organising service that helps people clear their clutter and junk – in August 2013.
The company targets both private and corporate clients, and provides guidance on time management, including how to use weekly planners and how to ensure one can easily organise their household every day. Jokhiya also helps her customers to organise whatever is left of the clear-out into ‘proper manageable systems’ as she calls them.
“We can train maids, family members and employees to understand the importance of decluttering and organising, and how doing both can help relieve stress, reduce your financial burden and increase your time and productivity,” says 36-year-old Jokhiya, who comes from the UK. She also explains how the company has been well-received throughout the UAE, and says that although it is still young, the brand is growing steadily.
Jokhiya was a solicitor for 13 years before deciding to leave the world of law behind and pursue her dream of being a professional organiser. Having studied Law and Spanish in London, she subsequently worked in a legal department for a Bertelsmann Group company. Following this, she enrolled onto the Institute of Legal Executives’ course and became a Legal Executive.
In 2005, she moved to Dubai and worked for Emirates as a Senior Legal Executive. After 14 months, she returned to London, studied the Legal Practice Course (LPC), became a solicitor and returned to Dubai to work. She worked for five years as an In-House Legal Counsel in her last role before setting up Decluttr Me.
Despite her legal background, Jokhiya had dreamt of starting a professional organiser company since 2001, but never thought it was a viable business idea. From an early age, she would organise her Madonna memorabilia collection in a logical manner, and over the years she loved helping friends and families to declutter their belongings.
“I would be the annoying friend who comes into your house and chats away while decluttering the kitchen cupboards and organising items into proper places,” she says.
Additionally, she would reorganise the legal departments that she worked in. “I would help them to organise the documents that needed to be filed, archive documents under my document retention policy, and destroy all other documents.”
In 2013, Jokhiya conducted some research and found that decluttering was a massive industry in the UK and USA, and that there are also associations of professional organisers that you can join in order to become accredited.
“I decided to research more and see if there were any businesses already selling these services in the UAE. At the same time, the company I was working for was in decline. So I decided to take the plunge,” she says.
She started out by creating her website and social media pages, formed the company in August and final quit her life as a solicitor in October. Jokhiya says that she could see from social media that people were interested and there was demand.
Her background in law also helped her to understand the UAE’S various health and safety regulations, and she uses this knowledge to help companies understand the importance of decluttering paper to ensure they’re complying with these rules.
The main challenge that Jokhiya faces is that some people do not understand the concept of decluttering. “The majority thought that it was more of a maid service,” she says, “but the more I spoke to people, the more they understood and realised that they actually needed my help.”
Looking ahead, Jokhiya says that over the next 12 months she want to grow in the UAE and hire more people in order to assist her. “I also plan to take a feng shui course in order to become a master, and eventually I’d like to expand into the GCC, and finally the MENA region,” she concludes.