There seem to be two sides, those who favor (worship) Marie Kondo and her desire to spark joy, and the rest of us, who grow anxious at the idea of dumping the entire contents of one’s closets, drawers, cupboards, attics, basements and garages into the middle of the living room floor. To this practice I say a hefty, hearty, NO THANK YOU! I could blame my inattentiveness, the fact that I bore and overwhelm easily or the fact that I much prefer to take things slowly, in baby steps. One one hand I am sentimental and have a hard time parting with certain things while on the other hand, I’m accused of tossing everything in sight.
Indeed an oxymoron.
In order to understand my way of thinking you must know that when I got divorced I left a 4,500 square foot house and moved into a 1,200 square foot rental for what I thought would be a year or two. I had no idea that I would still be there (here) 6 years later. When we moved in we had almost nothing. We had no furniture, no beds, cleaning supplies… We bought what we needed. I did have artwork and other family treasures and heirlooms. Our home is now full; filled with items that make a house a home. While they say that things shouldn’t define you, cushions on sofas, books on coffee tables, framed photos on mantels are personal touches. From time to time I’ll donate a few of my books, but the majority of them adorn my shelves, desk, some tables. Let’s just say that they spark my joy and I don’t intend on getting rid of them. Ever.
My closet is tiny. And I do mean tiny. My clothes are cramped. But I wear almost everything, and I’ve found that sometimes I do give items a rest for a while and return to them a couple of years later. My style tends to be classical - and while with a twist, most of my wardrobe is timeless. I have given items away in the past and then regretted doing so terribly. It’s much more economical to put clothing aside for a couple of years than it is to toss and replace them.
While the Millenials don’t want the hand-me-downs of their parents, my kids do. At least my daughter does. I have silver and silverware and a few precious items I know she’s looking forward to one day. I hang on to them for her as well… and indeed, this does spark joy.
Now, I am not going to say I don’t need to clear things out. I am indeed overdue. I have toys and games both intact and with missing pieces that I need to get rid of. I admit to having boxes full of old Martha Stewart magazines tucked away in the front hall closet. And boxes with items I’ve not seen or used (or obviously missed) since I moved in. The linen closet needs to be sorted through as does the attic. I don’t even want to think of the childrens rooms.
Years ago, maybe even before Marie Kondo was born, there was Flylady. So maybe she doesn’t have a glamorously chic website and maybe she’s not the celebrity that Miss Kondo is, but I like her approach. It’s simple, doable and realistic. She helps organize more than just your closet.
She too is a firm believer in Baby Steps, and acknowledges that because our homes didn’t get dirty in one day, it might take more than a day to organize them. She believes in going slowly, establishing a routing and enjoying the process. She even has a 31 day baby step program. Head on over and check it out. I was initially drawn to her because she recommended that everyday we throw away 15 things. I mean, it doesn’t get more simple than that. I first read this about 13 years ago and I really try to do this regularly, maybe not every day perhaps, but regularly indeed.
Another great decluttering method is one I heard a few years back at the Architectural Digest Home Design Show. I had gone to hear Nate Berkus promote his then newest book. He had many clients who had loads of clutter. Part of redesigning is getting rid of unused and unwanted items.
He suggested a three pile method.
Create 3 piles on the floor:
You can use this simple process as you go through eliminating excess in your home… start with a closet, and move on to another or a dresser, junk drawers… whichever way you want to until you’ve decluttered your home. You might even be able to make a few extra dollars.
Because I really hate to clean I try to do a little bit every day. I vacuum twice a week - this place is a dust magnet and my kids are messy. I clean bathrooms before I hop into the shower. I keep cleaning supplies in each bathroom. Sinks and tubs get cleaned in minutes. Floors get vacuumed and steamed when I vacuum the house. I dust once a week and use Windex on my kitchen countertops at the end of the day. It’s easy for me to do this in small doses and takes almost no time.
Instead of cleaning out the entire kitchen at once, let’s say. I’ll dedicate an hour or so to the pantry or the fridge. If I want to keep going I do. If not I stop. Could me home be dustless and spotless? Sure if I hired a cleaning lady, but it could also be a lot worse! I mean, we all know that trying to clean a house with active kids living in it is like trying to brush your teeth with a mouthful of Oreo!
If you have any cleaning or decluttering tricks I would love to hear from you!