Sunday, January 06, 2019

Home Style || 8 Lessons From Marie Kondo

I'm late to the party with Marie Kondo, she's been a big name for a few years now and although I've had the decluttering book for a long long time, it has ironically been buried in clutter until unearthing last month. I started reading the book and then saw she had a new series on Netflix aptly named 'Tidying Up with Marie Kondo'. I've binged watched the series and as much as I like reading books, the series has hit home a lot stronger and quicker and got me straight into starting on our home.

Marie appreciates the stresses of daily family life, has kids of her own and is passionate about helping people cleanse their homes to make their lives easier. Clutter can have such a huge effect on our life and it's only when you start embracing these methods you start to realise quite how much as well as the sheer volume of things we have collected over the years. It's hard to know where to start, it's massively overwhelming, but with her help we can all live a less cluttered life.

I thought I'd share the things I've learnt so far as our journey is just beginning but I feel like I've finally cracked it! If you've not seen the show yet I really recommend it. Although some of the homes don't really look that bad, you can see that the problem is often deeper and it touches on a lot of things that can help us all say goodbye to clutter and have a more organised less stressful home. Marie talks a lot about items sparking joy for us and I really understand this sentiment now, it makes sense only keeping things that give you the excitement of seeing a puppy (her analogy) and letting go of things we don't need, use or have a place in our future.

Thinking in categories 

One lesson that really got me thinking is to think in groups instead of rooms. I always felt a room at a time would be easier, but actually tackling one thing at a time makes things a lot more manageable and shrinks down the homes clutter bit by bit. Marie suggests starting with the easiest items to let go of, saving the sentimental and nostalgic items until last. Marie also suggests tackling your items in the following order - Clothing, Books, Papers, Kimono (miscellaneous), Mementos (sentimental items). There are tips for each category so we know what to keep and how to let go of the rest. For example, with photos you may have lots of similar ones so just keep your favourite and the same goes for clothes, kitchen utensils etc. By tackling one category at a time the job in hand seems much smaller and more manageable as we pile everything of the same category in one place to work through. By seeing it all together, we can appreciate the volume of these belongings we have and see what needs to go.

Respecting our belongings

This one may make you giggle to start with and when reading the book it's hard to picture it in reality. Once seeing this process on screen though, I can really appreciate where Marie is coming from and it spins a whole new light on our belongings. When we have something that doesn't 'spark joy' for us and we decide to let it go, we should thank it for whatever part it's played in our life, fold it nicely and pack away for donation. Also, when we decide on the things we keep, we should store them nicely, fold them neatly and display/use our favourite things as much as we can. This is all about showing respect to our belongings, having special things that make us happy, it's definitely a case of less is more.

Having place for everything

'A place for everything and everything in its place', a classic phrase that we all know but rarely live by. By getting organised though and storing things correctly, we can find things easily, have a good idea of what we actually own and find things when we need them. Life is stressful enough without the daily search for everyday items which happens far too much in our home. We need to think more considerately of where things will live and how they are stored.

Use containers

Marie is big on containers and I have to say I love this way of storing things. When people thing about this kind of decluttering, they tend to imagine getting rid of everything, but actually it's OK to have 'things', we all have boxes of Christmas decorations, excess shoes or craft supplies we need but store badly. By using large clear containers to store these belongings we can see what we have when we need it and by decanting into this storage system we can downsize our belongings at the same time, keeping only those items we truly use and adore. The idea really is that every category of item has it's own place to live instead of being mixed in boxes and drawers.

Use drawer dividers

With drawers, Marie is big on dividers and boxes. To keep items separate she uses proper drawer dividers but also any box or lid that can fit and divide your items into those categories. This shows that it doesn't have to be an expensive task, using a shoe box to keep your socks tidy or a box lid to separate your kitchen utensils.

Folding techniques

I've seen Marie's folding techniques before and after seeing the drawers on the show I realised this is something I really want. I spend ages digging for tops and tee shirts, so to actually see it at first glance is a dream come true. I've already sorted my own clothes and have one 'Marie' friendly drawer so far while I await some new chest of drawers to store the rest. The tips for folding your clothes is to fold the sides in, then fold into three. Once folded, clothes can be stored standing up, so you can organise your clothes in rows, having all your clothes ready for when you need them.

How to let things go

The biggest thing to learn from Marie's techniques is learning to let things go. Downsizing our wardrobe can be hard enough, but tackling those sentimental items such as belongings left by a loved one that's no longer here can feel pretty brutal. Marie teaches us how to choose what is special to us, assess the real reasons we are keeping things and learn to say goodbye to things that we simply don't have the room or need for in our future. Again, by grouping things in small sectors here we can decide what to let go of a little easier. For example, if we have boxes of memories from a lost grandparent, maybe we could just choose the most special ones that truly bring joy to us to have on display or use regularly. Having more items doesn't let a specific nostalgic event or special person live on longer than having less, so we need to be ruthless, thank the items we don't need and let them go.

You too can learn to be organised

One major thing that I've learnt that came as a surprise is that it's never too late. Even if you think you're beyond help when it comes to clutter, you can do it and it is possible to learn and adopt these techniques, applying them to your own home. As well as decluttering for us adults, the kids are encouraged to learn the methods too and I think this gives them a great head start for when they are adults themselves. I really recommend watching the show as cheesy as it is in parts Marie is adorable and her methods work. You could maybe even pick up a copy of her book to follow the method completely.

I'm really enjoying the process of clearing our home and the instant gratification that comes with letting go of items that have hung around for years. The habit of hoarding and collecting things we don't need has really got on top of us and after stressing about the house for a long time, we're starting to get into the right head space and seeing positive changes. We have got rid of a lot already and I can honestly say I don't miss any of it and can't even remember most of it, so it really had to go.

Do you need to declutter your home too?