Harmonise Your Home

It was Marie Kondo who originally suggested we keep only items which ‘spark joy’, but in recent years, there has been a growing interest in the benefits of decluttering. Professional Algarve declutterer Alma Bencomo explains how we can all gain satisfaction from creating order in our homes. 

Few of us set out to live in chaotic, untidy properties which are bursting at the seams, however, our belongings have a tendency to build up over time, often without us noticing what’s happening.

There is plenty of evidence to link cluttered living spaces with increased stress and anxiety, a feeling of being overwhelmed, and an inability to relax or function in our own homes. We are not talking about serious hoarding here, just homes that are full of things we no longer want or need.

On the other hand, as Alma points out, “A decluttered home positively impacts mental well-being by reducing visual distractions and creating a sense of order. It promotes a feeling of accomplishment and control, which can boost self-esteem and confidence.”

So, with the benefits of owning less so clear, what makes us hang onto so much stuff?

Alma believes overly cluttered homes happen for a variety of reasons, including an emotional attachment to objects, a lack of time or motivation to organise, or someone simply not knowing where to start. “Often, when people are overwhelmed, the response is to avoid the circumstances that are overwhelming them. People will put off decluttering because they don’t know where to start and the idea of letting go feels too hard.”

A natural organiser, Alma’s own journey to creating harmonious living spaces began small. She initially focused on decluttering her own home, before helping friends and family to do the same. “The sense of relief and calm that a decluttered space brought was truly transformative,” she says. 

Setting up Algarve Harmony was a natural next step for Alma, who, before moving to Portugal three years ago with her husband and dog, worked as an orthodontic therapist in her native Ireland.

“After witnessing firsthand the positive effects of a well-organised space on mental and emotional well-being, I wanted to offer my services to help others find harmony in their own homes,” she said, explaining that the change goes beyond just the physical space. “It’s about the overall impact on a person’s lifestyle and mindset.”

Alma says people decide to declutter for various reasons, including, ‘To reduce stress, improve mental clarity, make space for new things, prepare for a move, or simply to create a more pleasant living environment. Sometimes it’s about letting go of the past and making room for new opportunities.’

She enjoys seeing clients reconnect with their space and experience a sense of renewal. “Every project leaves a room – and a heart – a little lighter.”

In the same way as clutter builds up gradually, Alma believes decluttering should be treated as a process. “It doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing approach. Taking small steps makes it more manageable and sustainable, helping you integrate it into your routine without becoming overwhelmed. It’s about finding a balance that works for each individual.”

Alma debunks a commonly held view that decluttering and minimalism are one and the same. “Decluttering involves removing unnecessary items to create a more organised space, while minimalism is a lifestyle focused on intentional living with a deliberate reduction of possessions and distractions. Decluttering is a step toward minimalism, but minimalism involves a broader mindset shift towards simplicity.”

Alma’s advice is to take one step at a time:

  • Set small, achievable goals
  • Start with one room – or even just a drawer
  • Move progressively through the space
  • Try to keep surfaces clear
  • Donate items you haven’t used in a year

And if you need help, Algarve Harmony offers support with the decluttering, downsizing, home staging, unpacking and organising of your entire home or specific rooms/areas. 


Facebook: Algarve Harmony

Instagram: Algarve Harmony


Share this edition