Spring is here! It’s been a wet winter here in Northern Califorina, which was exactly what we needed and now we’re ready for some sun. Spring is a great time to get energized to clear and clean your home. In my community we are about to have a “swap” where some amazing mamas organize a day when we can bring all the stuff that we are ready to pass on, and perhaps find stuff that brings us joy. At the end of the day everything left is donated. I’ve been asked to share some tips for de-cluttering, and thought it would be a great resource for people beyond my local community.
Low Hanging Fruit
First things first, get a garbage bag and a box and go through each room of your house and the garage looking for the obvious things that are no longer serving your family or are garbage. This would be a fairly quick pass through with the idea of finding the stuff that you know you are ready to let go. You might find that this is enough.
Clear by Category
Now if you want to get serious about clearing the clutter, you’ll need to collect categories of it (or subcategories if you’re a busy mom). This free checklist will guide you. I suggest checking out the Kids section of the checklist; focusing on kids clothing and toys since they grow and develop so rapidly will serve you well. Small doable steps are a great approach to adapting the KonMari method for a mom. I love how Kendra (a local mom) describes her de-cluttering process:
I like to pick an easy category to start with – I konmari’d my little one’s pants. I threw them all on the floor, pulled out our favorites and then it became really obvious which of the ones that were left didn’t make the cut for us anymore, then (this is the hardest part for me) I actually got the keepers all back in the drawer. Voila! Now her pants drawer is freshly organized with cute little folded pants, I have a bunch to give away and I feel great!
If you’re attempting to fully de-clutter, be ruthless. Don’t keep too much stuff, because you’ll just have to go through the categories again and again. That is a waste of your time. Being honest with yourself the first time through might pull at your heart strings, but it is well worth the time (and discomfort!). To help you edit, ask yourself these questions as you go through your stuff:
Is it necessary?
Does it bring me joy? (Does it give me a positive feeling? Or does it give me a negative feeling?)
Having less stuff means less dealing with stuff. Less stuff helps you align with your values. Less stuff means more time connecting with your family and friends.
The more you focus on what you are grateful for, the more joy you will feel. Marie Kondo’s suggestion to actually say “Thank you” to your things as you let them go helps you maintain your attitude of gratitude. If talking to your things seems weird, you can say it in your mind, or find a way to remember how grateful you are. This act of gratitude can alleviate the momentary guilt you may feel about letting go.
Homes for Everything
Once you have gone through all your belongings, it’s storage time. Make sure each thing has a specific and permanent home. Creating homes for everything takes time; these strategies can help. Use the magical folding method for cloth. Place books and paper vertically. Store related items together i.e. like with like. Divide storage into squares by using boxes or trays.
Return Things to their Homes
After you use something, put it back where you got it from- right away, every time. Sounds easy enough, but it takes practice. If you forget, gently remind yourself and your family. Make sure the home for each thing is simple and clear. With practice you’ll figure it out.
Control the In-flow
Once you’ve spent the time and effort developing your “joy meter” and de-cluttering your home, you don’t want to bring a lot back in. Bring your “joy meter” with you when you go shopping (or to the swap). Trust that feeling and don’t try to convince yourself otherwise. Now that you understand what things are necessary, and what things bring you joy, use that wisdom. If you stay true to your joy, you wont have much for Spring Clearing next year.
Join a Challenge Group On Facebook
We learn best in community. Facebook is a great place to find your tribe. Especially these days there are lots of groups dedicated to KonMari or Minimalism. If you are looking for a KonMari with kids challenge group join our community!