Most people desperately need to put their house in order. Unfortunately, the majority of them fail to embrace this as a “special event” and instead make do with rooms that are more like storage sheds. – Maria Kondo
Is your house like a giant storage shed?
Do you have clutter everywhere that is driving you crazy?
Do you stuff things in closets that you don’t want to deal with?
Do you wish you felt more peace in your home?
It is difficult concept to grasp that you are the boss and the employee of your home. We here at The Whole House get it. In fact we did a whole podcast on the subject. (You can find it here). We often think that some invisible “they” is in charge and we must do what “they” say. Another myth is the items we own are in charge of us. We move them. Stack them. Shove them in closets. All the while we desire some space to breathe or a peaceful place to relax. How do we get there? I don’t have all the answers, but here are some tips from someone who likes an uncluttered environment.
- The object is not the memory. Get rid of the object. Keep the memory. We often hang on to items because we want to remember the event. One of my girls loved to share candy wrappers, tickets, receipts (basically trash) in bulk in shoeboxes. They took over her closet. She could explain where each bit of paper came from. It took many years for her to understand that a scrap of paper is not a memory. On my live on Facebook last week, I shared how I helped my sister clean out a corner cabinet in her kitchen before a move. She had well over fifty plastic cups from various sporting events her family attended stuffed way back where no one could get to them. But, she could tell me which event they each came from. I’m not here to tell you to change your personality. Just change your perspective. If things like cups and tickets are valuable to you. If they “spark joy” for you , then find a way to display or store them. Use a scrapbook for tickets. Just ask yourself, “Is this item bringing value to me? To my home? To my family?”
- A gift is not a blessing if it is frustrating you by taking up space. This is a tough one. We all get those gifts that we aren’t sure what to do with. What if Aunt Mabelle comes over and the giant ceramic iguana she gifted you is not displayed? Will she be offended? If the item is taking up space, you don’t like it and looking at it frustrates you, give it away. Bless someone else with it or return it and get something you do like. Your home is your space. It should feel peaceful to you. If your closets and shelves are stuffed with “gifts that don’t bless you”, take control and do something about it.
- Have a specific space for everything. Store things where they make the most sense. Don’t keep paper clips in the laundry room because you have a cute basket.
- If you get it out, put it away. This is such a simple concept and yet we procrastinate. I am probably more adamant about this practice than most. Raising seven children, things got cluttered pretty quickly. I gave my kids daily room assignments. In each room, I posted an index card with the instructions for tidying the room.The instructions were detailed and simple: put all couch cushions away, pick up toys (whether they are yours or not), fold blankets, etc… This eliminates so much work and avoids confusion about expectations.
- Purging is not a one and done deal. Although I love Maria Kondo’s idea of doing it all at once, you will have to do again until your habit changes (mine is still in process). This is because we aren’t just consumers. We are collectors.
People cannot change their habits without changing their way of thinking. -Maria Kondo
Step number one of Maria’s method with my two-cents thrown in:
Place all clothes in a pile. I do this on my bed. When sorting Maria says to hold an item and notice whether it “sparks joy.” If you are putting it in your go pile, thank it. If you need a Christian perspective on this – thank God for the item and pray it will bless someone else. I do hang my clothes a little differently than Maria suggests. I hang mine by color instead of grouping them by like items such as blazers, blouses.
Another practice I finish my sorting with is creating outfits with what I have. I call this shopping in my own closet.
We women are famous for saying, “I have nothing to wear” when we have a closet full of clothes (raising my hand here). Take some time to sort and then put together some outfits. It will make you feel as if you went shopping!
Here’s a tip from Maria on folding: