Spring Clean Like Marie Kondo is Watching
You’ve just moved into your new place and you want to make it a welcoming, cozy retreat with all your favorite things. This time you want to banish those familiar piles of stuff that can, at best, be annoying when you can’t find something.
Decluttering goes beyond simply “tidying up” and describes a lifestyle as opposed to a weekly chore. At its simplest, it involves removing items that don’t add value to your life to make room for those that do.
You may have heard of author and organizing consultant Marie Kondo. Her bestselling book about the art of decluttering was so successful that she now has her own series on Netflix and has officially risen to full fledged stardom. With Kondo’s guidance, more and more people across the globe are learning how to banish the chaos in their homes for good.
We break down our favorite strategies for creating spaces you can’t wait to come home and snuggle in to:
- DON’T BE AFRAID TO MAKE THIS MESS
This really should be a top-to-bottom, inside-out process. Open all drawers, take things down from the highest shelves and venture into the darkest recesses under beds and in closets – deep storage, too! Pull it all out. Group similar items together. You will make a pretty big mess before this is all over, but you don’t know what you have until you see it all together!
- NO MORE PILES
A great place to start is with those areas that you see and interact with every day – flat surfaces like kitchen and bathroom countertops, dressers, desktops and kitchen and dining room tables. Keeping these free of clutter will instantly bring a sense of peace and control to your environment. Create permanent storage for those items that frequently build up (such as mail, keys or bags) and only keep frequently used small appliances (such as a coffee maker, knife block or toaster) on the kitchen counter, or your electric toothbrush in the bathroom, etc.
- WHERE TO START
Go through categories of items all at once, no matter their location in your home, such a books, clothes or kitchen accessories. You may wish to set priorities – start with the small things first if you’re overwhelmed, or tackle the most challenging if you’re looking for a big improvement right of the gate!
- 80/20 RULE
As you consider each item, ask yourself if it is something you love or think about often or if it performs an important/regular function in your life. If you wear or use something only 20% of the time, it’s clearly not something you love, so toss it. Keep the items you find yourself turning to 80% of the time – they clearly have your heart!
- FOCUS ON PERSONAL VALUE
Don’t let monetary value influence your decisions. You can, and should, consider selling something if you think someone would want to purchase it. But, keep your focus on things that bring value to your life now, not in the past.
- PAPER IS CLUTTER TOO
Office clutter is a slightly different beast, but just as critical. Taxes, receipts, etc. should be gone through every year or so. While you do need to hold on to these things for a while, you don’t need to keep them forever and every year the files grow. Comb through these just as carefully.
- YOUR LAST PILES
Make five piles in every room, one each for trash, recycling, donating, selling and storage. (Remember, storage is an excellent strategy for keeping important items out of sight, but don’t simply throw everything into storage – the same rules apply here!)
- GET IT OUT – NOW
If possible, get rid of trash and recycling immediately and move the other piles outside or to the car as a temporary holding place before their final stop — then get rid of those in no more than a day or two.
- PULL IT ALL TOGETHER
You’re done! Right? Not quite yet… Once you’ve gotten rid of all of the items you do not need or want, then the real fun begins! You now have the opportunity to set up your spaces to be their most welcoming and efficient. Focus on one room at a time. Create a calming sanctuary in your bedroom that encourages relaxation. Set up a kitchen that works for cooking but that also welcomes guests when everyone inevitably flocks to the heart of your home. Keep the number of items on flat surfaces down to the barest essential minimum. Think of what you would like to see in similar rooms at a hotel and mimic that tasteful, welcoming style.
- WRANGLE THOSE CORDS
A final small tip that can make a big difference – reduce cord clutter. Long electric cords can make a room look cluttered even when there aren’t that many items actually lying around. Wrapping up those cords with Velcro strips or even band aids or twist ties can make a big difference.
Decluttering is no small task, but the payoff is big. Once you’re done, you’ve got the ultimate place to ‘Netflix and chill’ or proudly host a gathering of friends or coworkers!