How I Decluttered & Organized My Home For Good
A few weeks ago I decided to start my clear-out project to transform my home into a clutter-free space for good. I just couldn’t wait to begin to apply the method of the famous declutter expert, Marie Kondo, from Japan.
Rules to Apply When You Start Decluttering
There is a little ritual to start. Take a seat on your sofa, chair or simply on the floor in a lotus position. You decide. Close your eyes and VISUALIZE HOW YOU WOULD LIKE YOUR HOME TO BE. It is like seeing the end result in front of your eyes. I visualized my home with no clutter. It is tidy, organised, fresh and clean. Simply a happy place to live – a real home!
Most of us including myself had the experience at least once in our lives of trying to clear out our spaces for good, but not succeeding in the long run. It all seemed like a never-ending project which you will have to do over and over again, so why bother? According to Marie Kondo, the reason we don’t succeed is that we make the mistake of tidying up our spaces room by room (like bedroom, living room, kitchen etc). Her method works magic because you DON’T TIDY UP ROOM BY ROOM, BUT BY CATEGORY (like clothes, shoes, photos, books etc.) – this is rule number one.
I thought to myself ‘Ok. By category then. Let’s start. But where? Apparently, Marie Kondo recommends starting with the least sentimental category CLOTHES.
Let’s do clothes then and here starts the fun. You have to get all your clothes in one place, on to your bed for instance. Dresses, coats, socks, jeans, t-shirts, pullovers etc – I am saying all of it!
So I took them from my wardrobe, drawers etc and put them on my bed. OMG! It was a mountain of clothes – I couldn’t believe that I had so much! That’s enough to wear for another 2 lives for sure! I came to a conclusion- stop buying clothes unless you saw something you have been dreaming for a long time.
ONCE YOU START WITH A CATEGORY YOU HAVE TO FINISH IT ALL AT ONCE. If a category is too big, YOU CAN ALWAYS BREAK IT DOWN into SMALL SUBCATEGORIES (no capital letters). So I did! I had too many clothes, so I worked on subcategories like Dresses, Jeans, T-Shirts, Pullovers, Socks etc. That made sense as I could make sure when I start with a little subcategory I’ll finish it without making myself exhausted.
When you decide where to begin this is the next important rule to follow. While going through your stuff don’t make the big mistake of deciding what you can get rid of. DECIDE WHAT TO KEEP RATHER THAN WHAT TO THROW AWAY, what is left you should discard. I loved this rule, it makes you focus on nice things you would like to keep!
You might want to keep everything, like I did, not to throw anything away that you might regret later. Gladly I used one of Marie Kondo’s simple rituals which really helped me to decide what to keep. It works like this. Take an item into your hand: Is this something you love and you use regularly? Does it spark joy? ONLY KEEP THINGS which SPARK JOY (makes you feel good, gives you pleasant memories or has a special meaning). What no longer sparks joy, thank the item for its service and discard.
This ritual helped to discard the majority of my stuff, especially something that was worn out and had to go. I kept only nice things even stuff to wear at home, something like faded t-shirts had to go. I kept a few old things in a special bag separately from the things which spark joy, to wear when I clean or paint my flat.
Once the decision is made on what to keep, now it’s time to start organising.
- If you hang your clothes in your wardrobe begin by starting with the long items first and shorter as you go along – it is like a positive vibe according to Konmari.
2. Marie recommends folding clothes rather than hang. There is a special folding technique she uses, so every item stands like a little house before you place it in to a drawer.
To do all my clothes took a few days. Sometimes I did so much you couldn’t stop me. I must admit I felt a bit tired in the evenings, but I really enjoyed it, so much fun!
After I was finished with my clothes (finally!) I started with my cosmetics. Once again I put all of them together – oh dear, it was enough stuff to start my own beauty salon lol. It felt I had so much and I spent quite a lot of money, some of the stuff I never really used! To discard my cosmetics was easier as I was more experienced in making decisions of what to keep and acknowledging what sparks joy after I did my clothes. I managed to reduce my cosmetics massively – kept probably 40% of it. For instance, I had 30 nail polish colours, I kept 7! The most beautiful ones, which match my skin and my hair colour best. Then my lipstick collection – most of them Dior (the best lipsticks in the world!), every time I went to the airport I’d buy one so I ended up with 17 DIOR plus other brands. So I kept only the best colours.
Before I started clearing out my cosmetics I had all of them stored in 2 drawers and 3 small cosmetic bags. I reduced them all by more than half – so now it all fits into a small drawer, organised into different sections, so I have an overview of what is in there. Also a small box with daily skin care in the bathroom.
The next category I started with after clothes and cosmetics was my paperwork. So what does Konmari have to say about organising your paperwork?
She divides it all into 3 main subcategories:
- Paper that needs attention (Bills need to be paid, forms to be filled out etc.)
- Paper you need to keep short term (tax documents for current year, warranties etc.)
- Paper you need to keep forever (Contracts, mortgage papers, degree and birth certificates)
This is what I did because it all made perfect sense to me! From now on no piles of paper on my living room chair. Everything goes straight into the right folder. I don’t like paperwork, but this was the easiest category to work on and declutter.
The last category you should do if you follow Konmari’s advice is sentimental/personal things. The way to do it is to allocate one box in which you put things that have huge sentimental value to you.
Maybe a few photos that remind you of the biggest moments in your life, meaningful birthday cards or something you received that makes you feel good when you look inside? So if you feel down you can look into your box and it will lift up a little bit.
I have a small colourful box that came with a teacup. In there for instance I have my little turtle that’s made from shells, wearing glasses and a hat. It is my talisman. I remember I took it to all my final exams at school and university to bring me luck. Then I got a dice made of amber, which reminds me of the Baltic Sea, where I was born. I put them together with other sentimentals in my colourful box. With time I will have to find a bigger box to add photos of the meaningful moments of my life which need to be printed first.
More (sub)categories to declutter
Here are a few more ideas at home to organise better.
accessories, electrical devices, stationery, books, photos, medicine/supplements, towels, bedding etc.
Using Konmari’s method my project became a special event rather than an annoying process. It takes a bit more time, but it works in the long run as you do the hard work once. I must say I am definitely a big fan of Konmari’s method.
All images in this post are my own. This post isn’t sponsored.