Decluttering

What I'm Loving About Marie Kondo

What I'm Loving About Marie Kondo

Oh, Marie Kondo, where do I begin? It seems like so much has been written about this Japanese organizing juggernaut since she first introduced the idea of how to “spark joy” back in 2014 in her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying-Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. I read her book shortly after it came out and really liked parts of it. I liked how Kondo wrote of her own organizing journey. She wrote about growing up in a family that didn’t like tidying quite as much as she did, and how she evolved her organizing techniques over the years.

The essence of the Kondo-credo is that your belongings have a “life of their own” so to speak. That they are in service to you, and you should use and appreciate them while you own them. And when your use for them is over, “thank” them and then pass them on to someone, or somewhere, else. She says that you should only keep things that “spark joy.” Of course that is a highly subjective description. What one person finds “joyful,” another may not. I heard her giving an example of describing the “sparking of joy” as the feeling of holding a new puppy for the first time. As a dog-lover this immediately resonated with me. I think her intention is for an emotional connection to be made to an object that ascribes it a high enough value to be kept, used and cherished.

Ideas to Get Rid of Stuff Ecologically

Ideas to Get Rid of Stuff Ecologically

The end of the holiday season is always a special time of year for me. Special because it taps into one of my guilty pleasures: throwing things away. From one organizing enthusiast to another, that might not sound so odd. After all, a key aspect of being neat, tidy, and uncluttered, is not having too much stuff.

But for me, it goes a bit deeper. I actually get a little bit of a happy rush when I see a full garbage can. And the week after Christmas provides a full neighborhood of streets lined with garbage cans and recycle bins overflowing with the remnants of holiday cheer. It is so expected that the garbage company even allots for additional waste the first pickup after Christmas.

As with all guilty pleasures, I'm not particularly proud of my Oscar the Grouch affinity for all things trash. But hey, that is what makes it a guilty pleasure. I know the importance and necessity for proper recycling and reducing and reusing as much as we can, to help the environment and the future of our planet.

So even though I feel a glee for a full garbage can, I know the importance

Thoughts on Regifting

Thoughts on Regifting

Coming into the holiday season I think it is a good time to talk about re-gifting. I know re-gifting can be somewhat of a taboo topic. But in terms of organizing, and living a more uncluttered life, re-gifting can be a practical solution.

Of course I can't go any further without stating the obvious: be careful to not hurt anyone’s feelings. Don't accidentally re-gift something to the same person who gave it to you. And make sure that the gift giver does’t know you have re-gifted their gift, unless you have their permission. And lastly, remember the Kevin Bacon six-degrees of separation rule. Apply caution when re-gifting in larger families or similar social circles. Awkward is awkward whether it is your mother, your cousin, or your next door neighbor.

But with that warning label out of the way, let's get to some of the practical benefits of regifting: saving money, saving time, and reducing clutter in your home. A common excuse for not re-gifting is guilty. People feel guilty for giving away something given to them. But I look at it another way. I think it is worse to keep something you won’t enjoy. Pass it on to someone who will really use or enjoy it.

Live Organized With The One In One Out Rule

Live Organized With The One In One Out Rule

I don’t care if you are a professional organizer or a homemaker simply enthusiastic about keeping a tidy house-- living an organized life requires consistent strategies. One of my favorite and most effective strategies is what I call the “One In One Out” rule. It’s purpose is to help keep from accumulating too much stuff.

The “One In One Out” rule goes like this: say you have a drawer full of pants. Once you reach capacity for how many pants that drawer will hold, when you buy a new pair of pants, one pair has to be gotten rid of.

Yes, it is really that simple.

Applying the 80/20 Rule to Organization and Decluttering

Applying the 80/20 Rule to Organization and Decluttering

Have you ever heard of the 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle? I learned of it years ago, and I think it really can apply to the process of getting your home and/or office more organized, and also, re-examining your schedule to be more productive. In essence, the 80/20 rule says that 80 percent of results will come from 20 percent of action.

Applying this principle to all of your “stuff” works like this: many people only use 20 percent of the things they own on a daily or even semi-daily basis. For example, owning 10 pairs of shoes but reliably only wearing two. 20 cookbooks sit on a shelf but only 4 show quality kitchen love.

Back in terms of time productivity, I flip this explanation a bit and approach it from one other perspective as well. Oftentimes, when I am working on something, the last 20 percent of the work, takes 80 percent of the time! Many times I will think “oh, it’s only going to take me 10 minutes to finish the last of this project.” Only to realize that is actually going to take twice as long, or more. Some how what should be the easiest “finishing” part always turns out to be the longest last mile.

And when it comes to a big organizing or tidying project, inevitably, only in the last 20 percent of the project will 80 percent of the result be realized. That is why it is so hard for people who don’t truly have a passion for organizing (like me or Marie Kondo who says herself, she “loves messes”) have such a hard time staying motivated at the beginning—or even middle— stages of an organizing task. It’s because it looks like no progress is being made.

Tips To Organize Your Makeup (And Be Safer, Too)

Tips To Organize Your Makeup (And Be Safer, Too)

Okay ladies, if you are like me, you have a stock pile of makeup that you find very difficult to part with. Let's face it, makeup is expensive. You want to scrape every last drip out of that lip gloss tube. Either that, or you have your favorite "shade" and you have used it so long that by the time you do think about replacing it, the manufacturer has moved on to something new.

Frustrating I know. But perhaps the makeup companies are on to something. The out-with-the-old-in-with-the-new approach may just be the reason to give your makeup collection a routine face-lift, for a couple of good reasons. And here is what they are: good organizing habits, and good health.

4-Step Process to Organize Any Pile of Clutter

4-Step Process to Organize Any Pile of Clutter

Need a declutter-plan? Here are some key steps for making a plan to organize the piles of clutter in your life:

Step 1: Make a declutter-plan. Schedule time and gather your supplies.

First of all, block out a specific amount of time you think you can handle for your first initial sort. For example: a standard clothes closet: 2 hours; a kitchen pantry: 1.5 hours; a garage: 4 hours.

Because setting a realistic and specific goal before you start will help improve your odds of success. Do you have time to finish the whole room? Can you reach everything on the top shelf without the ladder you don’t currently have? Do you need to ask for help or can you command this mission solo?

When A Gift Turns Into Clutter

When A Gift Turns Into Clutter

It happens all the time: someone gives you something you don’t want or need. You probably fear hurting their feelings (or getting busted for ditching the gift) and you may even feel guilty for not liking the gift. These feelings often cause us to do nothing, rather than something. And before you know it you have amassed a pile, a drawer or a closet of clutter. Stuff you didn't even ask to bring into your home.

The De-Cluttering Curse of "What If?"

The De-Cluttering Curse of "What If?"

Getting organized can be an emotional experience. Deciding when is the right time to get rid of something is one of the biggest challenges for people trying to get organized. Many times this paralysis of uncertainty dooms their hopes for success before they even get started. Inevitably, when they do start to sort through their things, they might think like this. “Well, I may need this one day” or “I could use that in the garden (when I have a garden)” or “I’ll fit in to that again some day.” But often some day never comes, and in the meantime, life just keeps adding more stuff to their piles.