|my workout clothes drawer|
I just read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo which has completely changed the way I view organizing and de-cluttering. This NY Times bestseller is the #5 top selling book on amazon right now and has a waitlist at my library. It’s a small book that I read in two days and couldn't wait to jump start the process! While I dread cleaning, I love organizing. I would consider myself essentially organized to start with but was just looking for ways to refine my existing methods and motivation to keep it up. Just having a tidy home makes me feel so much more relaxed however I have too much stuff and have a hard time purging so my closet was exploding at the seams! The book says that you can’t get the most out of life if you have too much stuff and this book helped to change my relationship with stuff!
The KonMari method (her nickname) is that she doesn't believe in tidying everyday, she says you can do it once then never have to do it again because you only keep things you love and they will have a place to go. The goal is to organize the contents of your drawers and closet so that you can see where everything is at a glance. She advises against putting away off-season clothes because you will forget about it. I agree with this because in the process of re-organizing I've found clothes stuffed away in bins and boxes that I’ve long forgotten about or thought I lost. I’m the queen of losing things at home!
Kondo says that the "key is to store things standing up instead of lying flat." I have never put much thought into my folding, in fact I thought I would be a horrible retail employee because I hate folding and haphazardly do it. Course when I look for something in my drawer moving stuff around it makes it look like I never folded the stuff in the first place and everything ends up wrinkled. I found out I was folding the wrong way and was making more work for myself! I gave her way a try and I can honestly say that I will never go back to folding my clothes horizontally.
As you can see from my before pictures (top) my drawers were filled to the brim, hard to close and hard to find anything thus things got "lost" at the bottom the pile. And the weight of the items on top of them wrinkled the items on bottom. Now I can see all my clothes at once which makes finding things so much easier. If you're looking for a spring cleaning idea and to transform your life then give this a try! The best thing about about spring cleaning is more closet space for new clothes!
Don’t waste money on organizational solutions. The most important principle of the book is that you must purge before your organize. She frowns on the idea of buying organizing bins because that only encourages you to store more unnecessary things. The key to the KonMari method is to simplify your belongings as much as possible. She says ultimately the only thing that is truly useful is a shoe box which can be used in a drawer to store socks, underwear, and bras neatly lined up. I'm big on seasonal dishtowels which you can see in this post and this post. I used to keep them loose on a shelf in the closet and it was always a mess to find one. After lining up my dish towels in a shoebox, I can now see them all as they stay organized. This saves me time because now I can easily find stuff.
Kondo says that you should only be surrounded by items that you love and you will know right away if that is the case. If a piece of clothing doesn't bring you joy you should get rid of it and don't feel bad because it served its purpose and now will go to someone else who will use it. She says not to keep things out of guilt. Yep I keep old Christmas presents that weren't to my taste because I felt bad about throwing them away. When I was purging my clothing, I picked up each item and held it a moment and asked myself "If I lost this, would I buy it again?" It was a lot easier to decide what to put back than decide what to keep.
Banish all paper clutter She says to throw away your paper clutter, old credit card statements, equipment manuals that you know you'll never use (this is something I am totally guilty of!), and seminar handouts. Kondo says to empty your purse everyday you come home of receipts and other random bits. Most of the paper that comes into our homes is never truly necessary. Kondo's rule of thumb when it comes to sorting papers? Get rid of everything. Paper clutter on my kitchen island is my biggest problem. Sometimes I get so frustrated that I just grab everything and throw it in as plastic bag, months later it’s still sitting there as I never looked for anything.
Don’t hang on to unread books. The more time that has passed since you acquired the book, the less likely you are to ever read it. In the past two years I've really taken advantage of the library so all the books you see me talk about my blog, I don't own! But for the books I've bought in the past, I decided to donate them to the Books for Prisoners program that I volunteer with. If you're interested in donating books, dictionaries and how to draw books are the most requested. Now my father has a whole lot more books than I do, so I organized them by color.
Do organize clothes by color. Kondo says to line your clothes up by color from dark to light. I prefer to use the rainbow color coding approach for the hanging clothes in my closet. For my drawers I was happy to just arrange shirts by type. The drawer below are my tennis outfits, race shirts, college shirts, and St. Patrick's Day tees. That was also my black hole drawer and I found many missing pieces at the bottom of it during this reorganization. Kondo also advocates that your at home lounge wear should be as nice as your outdoor clothes so you can feel good about yourself.
In the past month I've de-cluttered kitchen cabinets, tossed piles of paper, removed dozens of hangers from my closet and filled my drawers with twice the clothes that fit before from bins in the back of my closet. Organizing my clothes like this has shown me that I really do have enough. In conclusion this book has changed my life!
Here are some of my other organization posts: