Organize Your Life

As the holidays approach, I always start thinking about minimizing our possessions and simplifying life. The new toys, clothes etc coming in all at once can make for some serious clutter. I’m constantly rationalizing why I should keep something: “If I lose 5 lbs I’ll love it … maybe I’ll go back to working in an office some day … the person who gave that to me would be so said if I got rid of it …” those kind of excuses are huge contributing factors to our collection of “stuff.” Since I’m on a mission to declutter, I was excited to discover the KonMari Method by Japanese organizing guru Marie Kondo whose internationally best-selling book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.” In the book, Kondo walks us through her extreme strategy for simplifying, organizing and storing belongings.

I thought it may be helpful to share some of these tips with you to help you declutter your home a bit in preparation for the holiday season. Here are 7 do’s and don’ts from the KonMari Method to help you successfully declutter so you can enjoy a tidy home forever …

1. Tackle everything all at once. Instead of organizing little by little, take everything out and sort it all in one fell swoop, category by category. Save sentimental items for last. Devote an entire day to this if you need to but it’s important to eliminate the excess before you begin storing things away, otherwise you will rebound and be right back to living with a cluttered mess.

2. Don’t keep anything that doesn’t “spark joy.” This philosophy is the core of the Kon Mari Method. As you’re sorting your items, focus more on what to keep rather than what to get rid of. Touch each one and think about whether or not it sparks joy. Keep only the items that spark joy and anything else should go. Only few of our belongings are truly necessary.

3. Banish all paper clutter. Most of the paper that comes into our homes is never truly necessary. Kondo’s rule of thumb when it comes to sorting papers? Get rid of everything. Obviously, you don’t want to throw away the deed to your house, but most papers, especially anything that can be accessed online are not necessary.

4. Don’t hang on to unread books. When it comes to unread books that are siting around collecting dust, get rid of them because presumably, you’ll never ever read them. The more time that has passed since you acquired the book, the less likely you are to ever read it. (This is something I am totally guilty of!)

5. Simplicity in storage. You should be able to see everything you own at a glance which is the secret to an uncluttered space. Designate a place for everything and try to store as many items as possible in drawers. Never stack things on top of one another and treat every item with respect – no balling up those clothes!

6. Organize clothes by color. Hang your clothes with like items grouped together by color from dark to light items arranged from left to right. If your items are in a drawer, use this same color coding approach.

7. Don’t waste money on organizational solutions. Buying tools and accessories to help you stay organized only brings more stuff into your home and encourages you to store more unnecessary things. The key to the KonMari method is to simplify your belongings as much as possible.

I found the bit about “sparking joy” to be most helpful to me, especially when it came to getting rid of clothing. I had so many clothes that fit, but I hated the way I looked in them. I’m feeling lighter after purging all the unnecessary junk I feel lighter mentally and spiritually.

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