Squash Your Clutter Bug
Home organization is the main idea in every major department store these days it seems. We need to make room for all of our new holiday gifts by creating space in our closets and lives. There are several approaches to getting your environment zipped up and tidy. People often report a feeling of calm, improved relationships, health and overall happiness when they declutter.
It can also save you a lot of money, as you organize and find things buried at the back of your closet. It can almost be like shopping or treasure hunting. We are abundant in our culture beyond measure. Our material surroundings are often a reflection of our interior makeup. It’s really indicative of our state of mind. Letting go physically helps so much with the emotional junk we cling on to.
When I was in my twenties I was a minimalist backpacker. All of my belongings could be carried in my rucksack as I stomped around the globe. Now two decades later, I am embarrassed of all that has accumulated. Where did that simple, happy girl with less stuff and all the adventurous experiences go? She seems to be at the bottom of a pile of clothes looking for socks that match. I went on a decluttering mission to find her. You can find yourself again too.
So where do we start?
Marie Kondo is the foremost authority on all things tidy and organized. She wrote the best-selling book The Magical Art of Tidying Up, and stars in Tidying Up on Netflix, which was the impetus for me getting into my closet and transforming it for the better. I sat there watching these people’s lives improving as she went through her Konmari method which prompts you to:
- commit yourself to tidying up
- imagine your ideal lifestyle
- finish discarding first
- tidy by category, not by location
- follow the right order
- ask yourself if it sparks joy
Other great resources are Pinterest, blogs, home magazines, friends and co-workers who are into it, and different stores with great home displays.
When I was watching Netflix I made a decision to just start. All of my clothing came out onto the bed. If I wanted my bed back that night to get a good night’s sleep, I was going to have to sort through the mountain of garments between me and the sheets. Sometimes the hardest step is the first one.
Really go by feel. Trust your emotions and intuition when you pick up each object you are organizing. What does it make you feel? What does it do for your life? Can you live without it? Do you like the feeling it produces. Try not to overthink, but rather feel your way through this. Produce good vibes and release the rest.
What makes sense to you? Like attracts like when you are putting things back. It could be color, or maybe utility, or size that you organize your items by. Obviously putting your most used objects in the handiest spot saves time. Maybe your must keeps – like insurance or tax information get filed somewhere else. And grouping things close together is always nice. Coffee, tea, sugar, and sweetener should be an arm’s reach away from your brewing machines. They go together like love and marriage.
Donate and Don't Give Up
There are parts in the process when you are going to want to stop. You will question your motives, feel pangs of guilt (this happened with me when I threw away a crocheted geranium my Nana made), and get overwhelmed. Go through it.
Keeping the series on tidying on in the background helped. I would take short breaks and watch intently. It got me energized to do more and gave me a lot of pointers.
Talking to your items helps. Maybe say thank you or goodbye. When speaking to a crochet geranium, use manners, ” I remember how my cousin beautifully decorated his wedding with you. You made my day when I saw you and I thank you for your little part in my life connecting me to Nana, but now we say goodbye.” It may seem hokey, but it works. And the giving at the end is a beautiful bonus. I took mine to a thrift shop, but if you really want to produce joy, you can offer things to friends and family you know would love it.
I wished my clothes well. I hoped they would find a new home and make someone else happy.
Enjoy the Freedom
I’ve been twirling around in my closet. Loitering there with a grin on my face admiring the space and order, I realized the peace and satisfaction of having a simplified, accessible wardrobe is a tangible way to show gratitude for my life. All that I have amplifies as I take care of it.
It makes me so happy. Enjoy the freedom of not being bogged down by clutter and excess. You will be so glad you did.
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