Marie Kondo seized the spotlight in the world of organizing and decluttering with her books and Netflix show and people the world over have embraced (and joked) about whether or not the tchotkes on their shelves and tables are ‘sparking joy’ or not.
If you really look at the KonMari method that Marie Kondo shares with her readers and viewers, it’s pretty common sense, but when it comes to the human tendency to hold on to ‘stuff’ all the while acquiring more ‘stuff’, it’s good advice for one and all. The bottom line to most everything Marie says is that decluttering and organizing is more about deciding what you want to keep, rather than deciding what you want to get rid of. It might seem like a fine distinction, but with a lot of our possessions, looking at it from that perspective can help you a great deal.
That said, some of her tips are easier to execute than others, particularly for those among us who find it hard to part with our stuff or follow a strict routine. So here’s a list of the ones that seem to work for a lot of people: you can decide if keeping your resolution the KonMari way will work for you too!
Tip #1 — Everything In Its Place, and Processes to Match
Having a spot for everything ensures that you’ll:
• Know where it is when you need it;
• Won’t leave said item lying around, creating clutter.
For example, you might have designated spots to hang house keys, place income mail, store bags. When you combine the designated places for all of your things with a process that everyone in the house needs to follow, calm is guaranteed. To further the example, you might have a ‘coming home’ process for your family that includes ensuring permission slips go in the incoming mail spot, soiled clothes go in the hamper and lunch boxes get to the kitchen for cleaning!
While you’re at it, be sure to store everything in a category, where possible. For example, all spare batteries go on in one drawer; all extra light bulbs go in a specific box. Do the same for cleaning products, towels and linens, hats and mittens and you’ll quickly be able to find what you need, when you need it.
Marie does suggest that if you carry a work bag / handbag, to take everything out of it every single day when you get home, and discard what is no longer needed. This tip may be right up your alley or it might be a step too far. But that’s the beauty of her ideas: you can take or leave what makes sense to you, and your lifestyle, and what doesn’t.
Tip # 2 — Paper Is Not Your Friend
A huge clutter culprit is paper. While many of you are likely going paperless with many of your bills and possibly even your newspaper, our everyday lives still generate a fair amount of paper by-products: receipts, invoices, junk mail, magazines, how-to guides and warranties, to name but a few.
If you take the time to go through paper the second it falls into your hands, instead of piling it somewhere, you’ll eventually have less of it to go through:
• Scan information you need to keep and put it in the cloud;
• Switch your subscriptions to digital editions;
• Change all your bills to digital;
• Look at a receipt and decide if you need it for taxes or to facilitate a possible return. If not? Shred it!
Tip #3 — Fill Dresser Drawers with Folded Clothes, Vertically
This tip didn’t seem very practical at the outset but once you have lived with your t-shirts folded and placed in the drawer vertically instead of piled one on top of the other, you’ll quickly see what you have available to pull out and wear, without making a mess and unfolding everything else. Bonus? You’ll be able to get more shirts in this way, so even if your old rock concert t-shirts aren’t quite sparking joy anymore, you don’t have to say goodbye to them just yet! Scarves, pants, shorts… any number of articles of clothing can be folded and stored this way, allowing more space and a neater appearance
While on the topic of clothes, Marie suggests that we all respect our belongings a little more, as if they had feelings about being squashed into the closet, hanging off cheap wire hangers. Instead, look at what you own and how it could be stored nicely so that it is accessible and in good shape, and you can locate what you want, when you need it. A customized closet will certainly go a long way to helping you get this tip in order!
Tip #4 — When It Comes to Storage, More is Not Better
Whether you’re re-organizing or custom finishing your closet, your wardrobe or your refrigerator and pantry, the key is to remove everything from whatever area you are going through in order to declutter FIRST and THEN decide what storage solutions you’re going to need for what you’re keeping. Otherwise, you could end up buying boxes and bins, shelves and baskets that you don’t need, tossing everything in and not really going through the effort of sorting and removing what can realistically be recycled or donated. Result? You’ll never find anything again and won’t be any further ahead in staying decluttered and tidy!
Tip #5 — The Ugly Statue You Got for Your Wedding From a Distant Cousin? Don’t Feel Obligated to Keep It
Speaking of reclaiming storage space for stuff you actually want to keep, this tip can be tougher, but basically, Marie is giving you permission to let go of the guilt of getting rid of a gift you don’t want. This can be hard for people who might see it as an insult to the giver, but the reality is, if you hate it and you are never going to wear / display / use said gift, it’s better to donate or otherwise disposed of it. If the giver really cares about you and was expressing their feelings through the gift, they will know that it’s the thought that counts.
However you get started, just remember the old adage: start as you mean to finish. If you want to eliminate clutter and live in a tidier, less noisy space, you need to commit to the idea and start from scratch, with every room and with all your belongings. If you do it right, you’ll never have to do it again!
Bio: Marty Basher is the home organization expert for Modular Closets. Modular Closets are high-quality and easy-to-design closet systems you can order, assemble and install yourself, in no time at all. Using closet modules (closet pieces you can mix & match to design your own modular closet), homeowners everywhere are empowered to achieve a true custom closet look- for nearly 40% less than standard custom closets. Visit the site at https://www.modularclosets.