Have you ever noticed how good you feel when your home is clean and free of clutter? This is because the state of your home is a clear reflection of your mind. Less external clutter leads to cleaner thoughts. Or, to put it another way, a clean environment leads to a more peaceful life. So, if you’re looking to add tranquility to your life, think about spending some time organizing your home. The summer is a great time to do this- just like the heat inspires us to wear lighter, simpler clothes, it also encourages us to pare down clutter in our living spaces.
Tip 1: Decide where you want to start
We have lately become a little obsessed with the Kon Mari technique. This is a technique created by a woman named Marie Kondo- her books have topped bestseller lists around the world. Her method is based upon the ancient Chinese practice of feng shui, which focuses on decluttering. The idea is that the things in your home all effect your emotional well being. Beautiful, light things make you happy and ugly, heavy things upset and depress you. Similarly, having clutter (old papers, clothes, etc.) in your home not only distracts you, but it can tie you to the past.
Marie Kondo takes this ancient method and makes it easy to understand and implement. One of her most important points is to organize by categories, not by rooms. Meaning, don’t start with your bedroom, then move to the bathroom, then the kitchen. Instead, organize by these categories: clothes, shoes, accessories, books and magazines, papers, kids clothes, kids toys, towels, toiletries, linens, dishes, cleaning supplies, photos, sentimental items, etc.
Next, make a plan so you don’t get overwhelmed. Checklists are always a great idea. If you find some of the above categories too big, you can subdivide them. For example, you can divide the clothing category into blouses, skirts, pants, dresses and suits. Our recommendation is to pace yourself. Instead of trying to do your entire home in a weekend, tackle one category each day over a period of a few weeks, or even a few months. Most importantly, be kind to yourself. Decluttering your home is a marathon, not a sprint.
Tip 2: How to Declutter
Once you decide where to begin, start by going through your belongings one-by-one. This is where Marie Kondo’s technique is revolutionary. She says to look at everything, and even hold it in your hands. Then ask yourself one question about the item: “Does it spark joy?” If it doesn’t, toss it. If it does, keep it no matter how impratical it is or how long it’s been since you’ve used it. The idea is that your environment affects your mental state in a profound way, so you should only surround yourself with things you love.
Tip 3: Fix items that are broken
If you find things that you love that are broken, like a piece of jewlery or furniture, either fix it or send it somewhere to get fixed. Broken items can lead to “bad energy” in your home and should be taken care of immediately. Likewise, make sure all of your items are in the best posible state. If you have silver, make sure it’s polished. Clean and press all of your clothes so they are ready to wear. Check your luggage and make sure it’s unpacked.
Tip 4: Find a place for everything
This is very important- everything needs a special place. Have you ever noticed you sometimes don’t want to clean, or even put your laundry away, because it seems like a lot of work? This is usually because your things do not have a clearly defined space. This can lead to clutter on coffee tables, or even on the floor. You may need to upgrade your storage. Drawer or shelf dividers can really help both create more space, and to provide dedicated spots for individual ítems.
Tip 5: Make sure you can see everything
Being able to see everything helps you use your items to the fullest. For example, when we recently de-cluttered our closets, we found a number of items we forgot we even owned. We found multiple corkscrews in our kitchens, and one of us found three bottles of Windex in the cabinet where she keeps her cleaning supplies. All of these problems occurred (well, one of us has a hoarder for a husband so her problems were a little unique) because we couldn’t see our things on a regular basis so we forgot we owned things and bought replacements.
Significantly, Marie Kondo stresses folding clothes properly. If you use her techniques, you will be able to see all of your clothing. And even better, you will be able to economize on storage space.
Once you can see everything, you will spend less money. Moreover, since you have only things you love, you will be able to use your treasured possesions on a regular basis. If you followed the Kon Mari method, this will give you a subtle feeling of pleasure every time you get dressed, cook a meal or even make your bed. All of those little moments of pleasure add up and lead to a happier, higher quality life.