How often do you declutter and organize your home? I have earlier talked about how I declutter and organize my home every three months. People get an adrenaline rush by running, scaling mountains or while white water rafting, I get my dose of adrenaline from decluttering and tidying up my home. The decision of discarding things and seeing the drawers and shelves less full and cluttered are my moments of joy.
I have got this bug of tidying up the home and decluttering from my mother. As a young child, I would get upset when my mother gave away things.
“But we such a big house, why can’t you store these things for later?” I asked her.
“What matter is not how big or small your house is, but what you keep inside. The more you discard, the lighter you feel,” she replied.
20 years later, I can understand what she meant.The fewer things in the house, the lighter and more liberated you feel. #declutter #organizeyourhome #happyliving #minimalism Click To Tweet Decluttering and organizing your home actually declutter your mind and cleanses your mind. It works as a mental detox. #declutter #organizeyourhome #happyliving #minimalism Click To Tweet
A few months ago, I watched this popular show on Netflix called Tidying Up With Marie Kondo. Marie Kondo, a Japanese cleaning consultant is a household name now. This Japanese lady has made spring decluttering and organizing fashionable with her books and shows on the Konmari Method of tidying up the home.
Let’s understand what is Konmari Method?
Well, apart from the fact that it’s the combination of Marie Kondo’s last and first name, the KonMari Method is the approach to declutter your home or office and organize it category-by-category rather than room-by-room.
The Konmari Method wants you to have a house full of things that spark joy. I liked the show, but more specifically, I liked the way Marie Kondo approached decluttering – thanking items and asking if the item sparks joy.
However, I realized I could not follow the Konmari Method to the T. I like my method of tidying up my home better than anyone else’s because I know my home and its belongings better.
Now, let’s see how to declutter and organize your home for a happy mind.
I wrote this post on 10 ridiculously simple questions to help declutter your home.
They will help you get in the right frame of mind and help you while you are in the decluttering mode.
Tidying up room-by-room
While the Konmari Method suggests you tidy up by category, I prefer tidying up by location. Throwing all things in a ceiling-high pile in the center of my living room sounds overwhelming to me.
I take one room and tidy up one cupboard at a time. It is less stressful this way. I take the cupboard with the least amount of items and then slowly work my way to bigger ones.
All the items about which I have doubts or feel they can be discarded, I keep them together in one shelf. And then at the end of the cleaning, I go through them one by one deciding which one can be kept, given away or discarded.
Organizing your cupboards and wardrobe
My cupboards and wardrobes have shelves instead of drawers. Hence, the rolling up of clothes method doesn’t work for me. My clothes are neatly arranged in piles. And because I have few clothes, I take a look at the color or feel the cloth and I know which clothing item it is. I organize my cupboards in these 3 ways:
Sorting and categorizing items
Sort and put things into categories and then break them into sub-categories. I separate clothes according to various categories –
- Socks go in a drawer and undergarments in another one.
And then they are further categorized into –
- Every day wear/Office wear
- Party/Evening wear
- Occasional wear (for example, woolens in Mumbai)
- I hang slippery or non-cotton clothes on hangers, as they usually mess up the piles.
- Use newspapers or shelf/drawer liners.
- Always put naphthalene balls or camphor balls to avoid musty smell and silver fish and silica gel desiccant packs to absorb excess moisture (it’s especially handy in humid climates) in cupboards. To protect woolens and silk clothes, I take a few cloves and put them in a muslin cloth, tie it well and put them in between clothes.
Grouping similar items together
This exercise will help you create order from chaos.
- Group by type of item – All woolen clothes get stored in one cupboard.
- Group by frequency of use – Every day wear or office wear clothes hang together.
- Group by activity – All things required to finish an activity are kept together. For example – lipsticks, kohl pencils, eye shadow, rouge, compact, make up brushes, etc. stay in one place.
- Group by individual – A person’s clothes and personal belongings (minus footwear) go in one place.
Finding storage solutions
Good storage solutions facilitate ease of storing and finding things later on. However, to be able to do that, you need to group similar things together and put them in drawers, clear containers, baskets, boxes or zip pouches.
- Pouches or bags are extremely useful for storing extra socks, undergarments, napkins, etc.
- Clips, hair bands, etc. are easily accessible if kept in hanging bags with compartments or small storage boxes with drawers.
- Knickknacks like cells/batteries, extra set of keys go in baskets.
- Loose change goes into a piggy bank/special bowl.
- Photos go in folders or boxes.
- Papers go in files.
Tip: Avoid storing things in plastic carry bags as they look messy. Also, you can’t make out what is inside unless you open it.
Clear storage bags with zippers are ideal for storage.
Giving/gifting away items
Do you feel happy when you give things away? I feel extremely happy when I give things away. In the past, I have given away unused items and felt peace and calm. I think it has got something to do with the fact that these items will not go in a landfill but will be utilized by someone else.
This month, I am giving away sarees that I have hardly worn and I will never wear to my mother and mother in law, because I know they will wear those sarees.
I give unused stationary (because I know my daughter would never be able to use 4 sets of oil pastels, pencils and erasers) to my domestic help for her children.
PS: Never discard an item that doesn’t belong to you without taking permission from its rightful owner, be it your partner or kids.
Give away those things which you feel would be used by someone else in a better or a more productive way. Also, it doesn’t matter even if it’s an expensive thing – if you are not going to use it now or later, the cost of the product is a moot point.
However, keep an item if:
- It will come in handy on a later date and will be difficult to procure then.
- It motivates you. For example, I kept a pair of denims that no longer fit me for 10 years. I so wanted to wear it again and that was my motivating factor. And just last year, I could fit in again due to weight loss.
Asking for help
To declutter and organize is not everyone’s cup of tea. I know it’s difficult for people to discard things, even if they don’t hold sentimental values. Also, sometimes you dilly-dally or are unsure whether you should throw a particular item. In such a scenario, a second opinion can be called for.
Make a pile of things which you are not confident about discarding. Ask your partner or kids to go through the pile and suggest things which shouldn’t remain inside the house.
Even a friend or an unbiased family member can be called upon to help you make up your mind whether you should throw a particular piece of clothing, vase or photo frame. But this will only work when you are prepared to let go of these items.
Exceptions to the rule:
Clothes, shoes and make up are fine. However, trouble starts when you have to declutter books and plants. I feel you can never have too many of them.
The KonMari method asks you to get rid of books too. However, I am not in its favor. I love books, even when I have read them or they are old. I am possessive of my books and don’t give them to anyone.
However, in the case when they are torn or will be more useful to someone else, is when I give away a book. For example – My daughter’s books once she outgrows them, I give to her small cousins.
Plants make home more beautiful and liveable; don’t you think? So, why shouldn’t you have more of them. I have a few potted plants of herbs, flowers and other ornamental plants which I love and can’t ever think of giving them away.
How do you declutter and organize your home? Do you tidy up your home the Konmari method or do you have your own way of taking care of the clutter in your home? Let’s share and learn together!