We moved into our new place two years ago and our garage still looks like a disorganised jumble sale. So now I’m on a mission to declutter, channelling the celebrity minimalist superstar, Marie Kondo.
Getting rid of stuff is so therapeutic and it’s really important as parents to do a declutter regularly so we don’t get drowned by all of our STUFF! I know my kids loathe throwing anything away. Their drawers are packed with ‘treasures’ they have picked up in the playground and pictures they scribbled when they were two.
It may be in the too hard basket to tidy up the kids’ mess but I’m determined to attack and declutter the rooms I have control over…including the box-laden garage.
Steps To Declutter The Marie Kondo Way
Marie Kondo is famous for her minimalist, no-frills approach to embracing an organised home so I’m taking on board her tips to straighten up our place.
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Here is how I’m going to declutter our home the Marie Kondo way:
1) Take photos before you start tidying up
Just like when you’re trying to lose a few kilo’s, it’s a good idea to take before and after pics to remind you of how far you have come. If it all gets too much, you can look back at the original photos to remind you of your progress. Once the job is done, you’ll be able to compare the difference and give yourself a big pat on the back (and a glass or two of champagne from the super-organised alcohol cupboard).
2) Start With Clothes and then move on…
Kondo shares in her book Spark Joy that “clothes are ideal for practicing [the tidying up] skill first.” This is because clothes are very personal to you and you have the ultimate say as to what gets turfed and what gets to stay.
The first part of the process is taking every piece of clothing out of the closet, drawers and from under the bed and placing it all in one pile. This can be pretty daunting but it’s really important that you see everything in one place, before you start evaluating them.
After Clothes, it’s time to tackle your books, then papers, then Komono (a.k.a. Miscellaneous Items) and finally items with an emotional attachment.
3) Does This Item Spark Joy?
This phrase is probably what Marie Kondo is best known for.
Hold each piece of clothes or other household object in your hands and ask yourself the question:
“Does this item spark joy?” Dig deep and try and truly evaluate with that particular item brings you happiness. If the answer is yes, by all means, keep it!
But if it doesn’t, then it’s time to say goodbye.
Kondo offers some tips on how to do this:
“Pick three items from a pile, and give yourself three minutes to decide. The best way to identify what does or doesn’t bring you joy is to compare. When you compare each item with a bunch of other things, your feelings become clear. “[Items that bring you joy are also items with] A simple design that puts you at ease, a high degree of functionality that makes life simpler… or the recognition that a possession is useful in our daily lives.”
Kondo admits that this can feel awkward or just plain weird at first. But she reassures her followers that you’ll get better at recognising what sparks joy as you go.
4) Show gratitude to discarded items
Before tossing an item to the ‘doesn’t spark joy anymore’ pile, take a moment to say thank you and think about the joy that object bought to your time at some time. This will make the decluttering process a more thoughtful, less hurried process and you shouldn’t regret your decisions at the end.
5) Folding like Marie Kondo
Once you have established which clothes you are keeping, it’s now time to organise them. Marie Kondo has a signature way of folding clothes, which reduced the amount of space that the items take up in your cupboards. This method is a bit like a clothing ‘file system’ and allows you to find the items you are looking for.
The video below provides a step-by-step demonstration of Marie Kondo’s basic folding method.
6) Leave sentimental items until last
I know the hardest thing to do is getting rid of items that mean something to me. I’ve got boxes of old photos and letters from when I was pre-school gathering dust in the garage and the thought of throwing them away is inconceivable.
Marie Kondo suggests leaving sentimental items to the last…so that you can take more time to sift through your memories before deciding what to do with them. After decluttering the rest of your home, you’ll have the space to organise all the emotional items you would like to keep.
7) Get your kids to help
It’s really important to get your children on board the big declutter. There is no point going through this exercise, when the kids don’t respect the new minimalist way of life. It’s OK to ignore their room if it’s easier, but it would be far better if they could learn to enjoy living in an organised space. Kids learn by example so it’s a great idea to let the kids help out in tidying up your home. Give them tasks to do and reward them by completing them.
8) Declutter BEFORE starting to organise
I know it’s tempting to start the declutter straight away, but just moving items around the house only solves things temporarily. The house may look tidy for a day or two but the mess will start to infiltrate your home again, once you get more lax about things. The key here is to declutter first before starting to organise. Get rid of all the stuff that is not bringing you joy and you will be in a much better head space to have a tidy home.
9) It’s all too hard (and messy)
Sometime during the big declutter, you will most likely lose your motivation. It’s can feel overwhelming looking at huge mountains of mess. Kondo says:
“No matter how cluttered it looks, don’t pause, don’t stop, don’t quit!”
She reminds us though that it’s an important part of the process to see how much stuff you actually have…and this will actually inspire you to organise your life.
10) Don’t wait until you move
We all know that moving home forces us to tidy up. But often we just move our clutter from box to box. As I mentioned we have tons of stuff sitting in the garage from our move two years ago. Clearly if we have lived without these for so long, they probably aren’t sparking much joy.
Kondo reminds us that “if you want to meet a beautiful home that is just right for you, take care of the one you live in now.”
So don’t hesitate any longer and start to declutter now.
Does your house need a declutter? Tell us what you think of the Marie Kondo method in the comments below.