Cleaning out the mess accumulated over time, often filled with long-forgotten treasures, can positively impact our life, becoming an investment in ourselves rather than something we must do. With millennials falling into the trend of minimalism, organizing has become a practical necessity for the small sized homes. While organizing our home has always felt like a chore, it is now becoming an act towards well-being, thanks to our favorite new cleaning gurus:
Marie Kondo, with her book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”, has started a movement that many people have been taking a part in. The KonMari method of focusing on items that “spark joy”, allows us to keep the items that represent us and have value and give them a place within our home while disposing of those that don’t.
“The Home Edit” by Clea Shearer offers another method of organizing with the main focus on categorizing. Removing clutter through storage systems allows for making the most of every little space in your home, which if you live in a small apartment, is not much.
There is also a more pragmatic method, for those of us that don’t get easily attached to material things. Joshua Becker’s “The Minimalist Home” introduces the method of paring down our possessions to the bare minimum. Everything that is not “useful, lovely, or meaningful” must go.
To help out with the task of decluttering your home and finding well-being in your apartment, here are some practical tips from the three authors:
Air out your home- aka, get rid of things
Before any organizing can be done, we must get rid of things. Especially when living in a small apartment, there simply isn’t enough space to store everything. So, how do you determine what to get rid of and what to keep? According to Kondo and Becker, only keep the things that you need– and by need, I mean things that are either useful, carry some sentimental value, are representative of your image, or is something so unique that you just can’t part ways with. Aside from that, it should all go.
Think about when was the last time that you used a specific item, and why you haven’t used it in so long. Chances are if you haven’t used something in a long time, you probably won’t go back to using it again.
Also, if you find yourself holding on to things that are damaged in one way or another, for the simple idea that you can get some small use out of it, throw it away. Unless it’s practical, there is no point to keep items that are not whole, as they can’t give well-rounded energy to your life.
Boxes and Drawers: the mini-homes within your home
Once you are settled on the things you want to keep, it is just as important where you’re going to place them within your home. While some things are okay to have on display, others need to be given a spot that is practical- both for you and that item. Kondo suggests drawers. Layering things, whether it’s folded clothes that are categorized and sized, or food storage containers, helps optimize space. Also, ensuring that everything is easy to access eliminates the issue of forgetting about things.
Shearer also suggests labeling things and using clear plastic containers to allow you to see what’s in each container. Also, using containers can also be a way of decorating. Opting for patterned boxes rather than plain plastic ones can make an aesthetic impact in your home.
Keep in mind, however, that before you go buy any boxes or containers, you must go through the filtering stage. This allows you to know exactly the type of container that you need and how many you need, based on the items you decided to keep.
Tidied up? Now keep it up!
The process of tidying-up and organizing is an ongoing development. It must be maintained, and it will always require a bit of re-organizing done from time to time. But to make it all easier, there are a few things to consider. For starters, Shearer and Kondo suggest that once you are done using something, put it away. Allowing it to just sit there will more than likely lead to a pile as more things will just be left there, making it a longer process when it comes to cleaning it up.
Getting rid of stuff often causes us to want to buy more stuff, now that we have more room. It is important to understand that the reason we got rid of stuff initially is because we had too much that we did not use anymore. Becker says that buying more stuff will only lead us to falling into the same vicious cycle.
Make cleaning a group activity. Get your entire family involved and make it fun even for the kids. According to Kondo, not only will this turn it into an easier and shorter process, but it can help teach kids to keep things organized in the future as well.
Organizing, like cleaning, your home, is a rather individualistic process. We all have different approaches, techniques, and systems that work best. The essential is that we all must do it. And in this case, organizing is not just for the house, it is for our individual well-being. So, no matter how we do it, it’s simply important that we do.