When Han Yien decided to quit her job as a legal advisor at a financial company in Shanghai to become a home organizer, her mother cried.
"She felt her elite daughter was turning into a housekeeper," Han said.
However, the market rewards talented declutterers.
A professional home organizer or "decluttering consultant" in Shanghai can earn at least 100 yuan (about 16 U.S. dollars) per hour, and a more experienced one can make 300 to 500 yuan.
According to a survey published in Tuesday's China Youth Daily, about 75.8 percent of the 2,005 respondents said they kept items they did not need out of habit. No more than 40 percent said they regularly tidy up their clothes and books.
Although over half the people polled admitted that hoarding too many unnecessary things takes up too much space in their homes, getting rid of them is difficult.
According to the survey, a total of 62.3 percent said that items they currently have no use for may be wanted in the future, and 42.5 percent said they simply feel uncomfortable letting them go.
Lin Jiexiao, another Shanghai-based "decluttering consultant," said communicating with clients to talk them into parting with unnecessary belongings always takes about one-third of the total time for her services.
Inspired by the Japanese philosophy "danshari," which advocates a less-is-more approach, the decluttering technique helps people eliminate their obsessions with material items so that they can discard things, keeping only those that are needed and storing them in efficient ways.
"However, for a large number of Chinese people, it is only justified to abandon broken items," Lin said.
Han explained that many Chinese people feel nostalgic about outdated items.
"So we need to be more careful in listening to our clients' thoughts and respect their feelings," Han said.
"Decluttering techniques are not merely about disposal and hiding things, but a better way to handle your items and space that can lead to a neat and comfortable life," Han said.