The KonMari method – easy peasy Japaneasy!
4 Simple organizing tips to help you in all areas of your home
The Japanese are known for their culture of simplicity and beauty. Even their food is artistically displayed on the plate. There has been much talk of Japanese organizer Marie Kondo’s new book about her method of tidying up. As proof of its growing popularity, even Ellen DeGeneres recently talked about it on her show. To help you apply some of Marie’s methods toward getting your clutter under control, here are some key points:
- Collect all like-items together and see how many you have. Don’t de-clutter room-by-room but instead work through each group of similar items that you have, such as books, vases, sweaters. You will find that you will be pulling several items from each category from throughout your home. Once they are grouped together, you know how many have, and then you can decide on what to keep. I had a client who had a large collection of china and figurines – so many that it was impeding her ability to enjoy her home. I gathered all of the similar porcelain items that had china roses, violets, pansies, etc on the top – you know the ones! It turned out that she had over 50 of them. She was shocked. We went through the collection and now she only has 5. Big improvement.
- When deciding to keep or get rid of something, take a good look at it and ask yourself “Does this item bring me joy?” Many of us keep things for the wrong reasons – “It was a wedding gift” or “I spent a lot of money on that 20 years ago” or the most common one, “My mother gave it to me”. All of these reasons are fine if you actually like the item, but if you have feelings of guilt or a general ‘ugh’ when you look at it, then it is time to let it go. Hold the object, thank it for its service then send it packing. Whoever gave it to you wouldn’t want you to feel awful so why are you keeping it? Let that thing go to another home and make someone else happy. Say good-bye to the negativity and guilt and restore happiness to your home. It may sound a bit hokey, but honestly, it works!
- Make sure each item has a home and it is easy and simple to put it away. If there is no room for an item then maybe you need to rethink it. Or perhaps another, lesser important item it taking up the space that you need. I had a client who kept insisting he needed more storage for his stuff. In reality what he really needed was less stuff! Even if I had the best storage system installed in his home, there simply was not enough room for all of his things. So, we went back to grouping like items and purged the ones he didn’t need. Something to think about when working with a client in this situation is that adding more storage can encourage them to hang on to more things than they actually need. It helps to feed that ‘over-shopping’ tendency that some people have and to some degree, even hoarding. When some people can’t find what they are looking for in their home, they will just go buy another one! Be wary of this.
- Be realistic. Most people who call me have their stuff chucked into drawers and are not going to spend the time to fold their socks and underwear using the KonMari method. If you have a tendency towards keeping too many things, then use organizing tools to help keep you in check. With one client, we used a diamond-shaped insert in her dresser drawers to organize her socks. Once all the slots were full then she knew she was at her maximum. With another client who traveled a lot, we used handy Pliio folding organizers for his shirts and sweaters. They kept his closets neat and tidy and when he was packing for a trip, he could just pull the folded clothes from the shelf and put them right into the suitcase. The Pliios even helped reduce wrinkles!
The key is to not try and force yourself to follow a habit that you will never embrace. It has to be easy and work with your lifestyle and personality. That’s why a good professional organizer is worth every penny. We are trained for this! I personally am a member of The Professional Organizers in Canada and I take courses to continually upgrade my skills and knowledge. A Professional Organizer can reduce wastage, restore order to your home, reduce stress and save you money in the long run.
William Morris said it best over 120 years ago, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful”. Good words to live by.