ON PERFECTING YOUR HOME
I do a lot of the KonMari Method of tidying up. My problem is that I have never gone through her entire process from start to finish for my whole house. I decided this summer would be a great time to do that, so I pulled her book off the shelf for a refresher.
You can learn about her process in her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
In the beginning of the book she talks about why we should aim for perfection (pg 17). The importance of this never stood out to me the first time I read this book. But this time, it was a big ah-ha.
We hear so much about how 'done is better than perfect' now days. I have been able to agree with this for most things. When it comes to putting your work out in the world, done is better than perfect. I think it's only after you put yourself out there that you can even know how you want to perfect it. But our living spaces tell a different story.
When it comes to decluttering and organizing your living space there are a few key examples to follow. The first one is make cleaning out an event. Second, discarding must come first. Third, everything needs its own place. This is a simple process that will help you perfect your space.
why you should aim for perfection
In her book, Kondo says that you only have to experience a state of perfect order once to be able to maintain it. I agree with this wholeheartedly. Imagine your space in perfect order. Everything has it's place. No clutter in site. When you open a cupboard it looks like something out of a magazine. It is beautiful and it brings you joy. Wouldn't you want to always keep it that way?
Clutter begins when things don't get put back where they belong. It is vital that everything has a place so you know where to put it. Your storage solution should be very simple. Storage should make it easy to put things away. When you take an item out of your closet, there should be an empty place for you to replace the item when you are finished.
Otherwise, where will the item be left? Sitting on the table or the sideboard or taking up space on a shelf. I know first hand how easy it can be to leave things out. And as soon as there is one item on the shelf, it seems to scream to other items to come join, to gather round. Then you have to clear a hot spot again.
Make it an event
If you don't make tidying the MariKondo way an event, you will be decluttering and cleaning out and dealing with those hot spots indefinitely. It is so important to make cleaning out a special event. Decide that you are going to tackle your closet once and for all. Make it an event and perfect your space. There is magic in doing this all at once.
First of all, people cannot change their habits without first changing their way of thinking. If you want to create a new habit of always putting things away where they belong, you need to change your thoughts around every item. You do this by cleaning up in one event.
Kondo says that if you tidy up in one shot, rather than little by little, you can dramatically change your mindset. This happens because you hold each and every item and you ask yourself if it brings you joy. This is an emotional process and it will affect the way you think about your lifestyle and your habits. Clear the clutter in a short period of time and you will see instant results that will empower you to keep your space in order ever after.
When you begin, do not think that you are going to just organize everything so it looks nice and pretty. You do not want to be stuck with a bunch of storage bins. You will forget what is in them and you will be spreading your items throughout your house, making it harder to know where to put things away in the first place.
You must start with decluttering. You need to clear out the clutter so you have space to begin your new lifestyle. She has a chapter titled, Start by discarding, all at once, intensely and completely. When you tidy your space completely, you transform the scenery. Think about it.
If you find you have a difficult time keeping up on the cleaning, perhaps you just have too much stuff. Do not berate yourself for this. We live in a society where everything is telling us to consume more, to buy more stuff. It's so easy to do.
But how often do we get rid of more stuff than we bring home? How many days out of the month are you binging things into your home verses taking things out? You can avoid this negative spiral of having too many things by cleaning out all at once.
You must discard and you cannot put anything away until you have completed discarding. Then you can give everything its place.
Everything in its place
When you clear out the clutter, you will be able to breathe easier. There is space around you. Everything has a place and everything is in its place. But how do you know where to put things in the first place?
Kondo suggests that we ask our home. I think what she means by this is to look at the layout of our house plan. Where are the closets? How was the house designed? What storage areas already exist? Many times you do not need to go out and buy new storage containers. Use what your house has to offer.
This is easy to do once you have done the discarding and you keep like items in the same place. Do not store shoes in the entry and in your closet. Pick on place so you know where to put shoes away. Do not have some clothes in the bathroom and some in your closet. They all belong in the closet. Do not have some toys in the bedroom and some in the play room. If you want kids to be able to clean up themselves, you need to make it super easy for them to know where to put the items.
Do not worry about the effort it might take to take an item out of its place. The important thing is to make it easy to put it away.
Remember ultimate simplicity
I want to encourage you to strive for perfection in your home. Set a date and really clean out the clutter so you can look around your house and only have things that spark joy around you. Discard first and have a place for everything. You will be happy at home and your home will be clean and beautiful.
Remember, you only have to experience a state of perfect order once to be able to maintain it.