In my prior post about the KonMari Method, as advised by Marie Kondo at The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Organizing and Decluttering, I spoke about embarking on a decluttering program that finally got my chaotic house once and for all. In case you haven’t gone through it, here’s a recap:
- Concentrate on what to keep, not what to Eliminate
- Keep only things that bring you pleasure (unless it is something like a toaster since untoasted bread is pretty joyless too)
- Work category by category, not room by room
- Do not get hung up on saving items for future use because chances are you’ll never really use it later on
- Discard first then arrange
- Tackle sentimental items last
I did not spend much time since the article was super long speaking about how truly and unbelievably changed my life has become since doing this program. That is what this post is for, and to give you some insight into learning how to embrace housework and organizing your decluttered house.
So, onto organizing. The way I handled it was to arrange directly after I finished decluttering a particular category. As you’re supposed to bring all the items from a category to a specific place and go through everyone, I figured it was the easiest way to arrange while it was all there.
I did not want it all to sit all over my home while I finished the remainder of the decluttering because I knew it might take weeks.
Something that KonMari method is against is exercising and buying fancy storage systems for your remaining items. She stresses that these aren’t just unnecessary, but they cost money and, a lot of times, wind up complicating organization more.
As I discarded, I discovered that I had plenty of boxes, baskets, and bins which were empty and may be repurposed elsewhere in my home. Although I did purchase a few baskets and other organization tools, for the most part, was in our house, all I needed was already in our home
My clothes were simple to organize because I am fortunate enough to get a chest of drawers for my clothing in addition to a walk-in closet. That means my stuff is segregated from Adam’s and that I will keep mine neat and clean even if he does not do the same.
I followed Kondo’s advice to keep all clothes out rather than packing away whatever isn’t in season and found I had lots of space since I had gotten rid of so much.
Fringe Benefit: Now, that we’ve fewer clothes overall and there is much room in cabinets and our drawers, laundry is a breeze. I fold one load immediately after waking up in the morning then put it all away before the boys are awake.
As soon as they remove their pajamas from the night before, I add those into the washing machine with whatever we wore after the last morning’s load was folded and start it before going downstairs for the day. I switch that over to the dryer shortly after it is done, then add clothes which are removed throughout the day/night.
Adam does his laundry individually (always has) so I make sure that the washer is free for him to use immediately. I used to have ungodly amounts of laundry piled up rather than put the clothes away when they had been folded so this is among the most extreme changes, I have had the joy of experiencing post-KonMari.
I saved my pearls in a cute divided organizer from TJMaxx I have always had on my dresser and intend to hang bracelets on a new pair of wall-mounted decorative hooks, once I get the perfect one. (We are in the means of attempting to spruce up our really boring bedroom at this time.)
Belts and little purses, hang on a set of hooks inside my cupboard and sneakers are on a designated rack under my clothing. Underwear, socks, tights/leggings, and bras are in different drawers in my dresser. Bathing suits are in a basket on the shelf in my cupboard.
Vacation Travel Things
I wish I had taken a before picture, closet in our upstairs hallway was completely non-functional before I removed 98 percent of the items stored there. It was a repository for everything and anything that had to be out of sight but did not have somewhere to go, and it was a massive waste of space.
Since I have a lot of difficulty with rounding up all of the thousand different items necessary to travel with a family of four, I decided to dedicate that whole closet to anything we would have to bring on a trip.
I hung backpacks, large duffels and cooler bags from coat hangers, saved both children’ Play and Plays and the travel highchair, additional sleeping bags and the air mattress into the top shelf and found a home for our luggage. There is very little in there today, but it is a practical and functional use of this space.
I also used it to keep the vacuum we use upstairs (we have central vac downstairs to get the hardwood/tile, so the hose is stored individually.)
Fringe Benefit: I know where every single thing we will need to travel is in our home. I have yet to pack for a significant trip since completing KonMari, but I would be willing to bet it will be much easier the next time.
We use a hanging shoe organizer in our toilet to put all the different medications and our toiletries, which has worked well for us. Except for some little things like toothpaste and a bin filled with sunscreen/bug spray we desired locked up under the sink away from the children, our vanity drawers are nearly completely empty now.
I have a separate vanity area with its own drawers and a sink, so that is where I keep all my makeup (I am a massive makeup lover, and even though there is a ton here, I got rid of likely 3/4 of my collection.) I had been given a Birchbox subscription for my birthday, and I had a lot of these small decorative boxes taking up space under the sink with no purpose allowed for them.
I wound up using the boxes and even the lids to store my cosmetics plus some items at work. Also if it appears cluttered, I grouped them by category, so I know exactly where all of the eye makeup, hair products, makeup brushes, etc. go when I put them back after using them. The white plastic media storage containers were 97 cents for a pack of 3 at Walmart. All that is below my vanity sink is straightener and my hairdryer.
We inserted a shoe organizer into the doorway in the boys’ toilet as well. The one in our bathroom was becoming ridiculously full since we’d all four family members’ things in one place. Dividing up our toilet stuff and theirs has turned out to be a lot more practical.
Fringe Benefit: Our countertops and shower were always dirty in our three bathrooms each. Now that we do not have a million items saved on the countertops, it takes two minutes to wash them down. Everything in the shower fits into a single organizer that hangs on the showerhead, so I do not need to move anything to be able to clean the shower. I washed the shower once every 6 weeks maybe. Now, I do it weekly.
Reorganize Kitchen Products
The pantry is my crowing KonMari achievement. This space was a freaking disaster. I never understood what groceries we had because everything was hastily stuffed in there and piled in front of or on top of one another.
I frequently bought duplicate items because I did not know we had them at home. I got these little baskets at Target for about $7 apiece and split them into groups:
- Oils and dressings
- Large baking items (flour, sugar, etc.)
- Little baking things (vanilla extracts, sprinkles cupcake liners, etc.)
- Rice, pasta and other starches
- Canned goods
- Baby food
Additionally, I used our fruit bowl to store potatoes and onions and purchased a container for our spices from Walmart so that I look for what I want and can take the entire thing out. Meal planning is much easier today because I could make a meal based around the items left in there at the end of the preceding week or readily consult the right basket to determine if I’ve rice or diced tomatoes for a specific recipe I wish to make the upcoming week.
The rest of the kitchen was quite simple to organize. A couple of utensils holder, more of Birchbox lids and these media bins went a long way.
I included a basket from a different area of the home for hand towels and face cloths and made sure the items in the drawers/cabinets all were easily reachable. As I mentioned in the last post, emptying the dishwasher now takes a few minutes. Everything has a place to go, and I am not pushing things into spaces where they don’t belong.
Fringe Benefit: Oddly enough, my sink is almost empty now. I am sure it is a psychological thing, but the fact that everything has a place to go makes it, so I do not mind hand washing a cup or dish after it is used and immediately putting it off.
I used to run the dishwasher, and it sits for most of the week. Since the sink is full or empty was my indicator of whether our house was on the verge of tragedy or not, I feel at ease seeing an empty sink all the time.
Household Cleaning Products
We have used the shoe organizer for several years for cleaning products (thank you, Pinterest!) And had great luck with that. We maintained that solution and only cluttered the remainder of the closet so that it’s used for paper and cleaning products. We plan to get some sort of hanging organizer from Home Depot where we can hang all the mops and brooms to get those off the floor also.
Fringe Benefit: I used to HATE vacuuming the floor house in our house since the vac hose is too long and is used to knock over a million other things in the cupboard every time I took it out. Now that we have moved all of the coats to the upstairs hall closet and taken folding seats, the excess dining room table foliage and a lot of other unrelated items and moved them to different regions of the home, there is nothing in the way once I want to take out the vacuum cleaner.
I don’t have any difficulty sweeping daily or just vacuuming. Additionally, I’m mopping the floors a great deal more frequently (my personal fav) since the sink is free of dishes and I will use it to wash off the mop while I am cleaning. All these little things seem leisurely, but it changed my this-is-too-hard-so-I’m-not-going-to-bother approach to cleaning.
Home Office Space
As I mentioned in the prior article, we have a small home office near our living room. It was just a dumping ground for random items from the rest of the home, but it is a space I use for writing and office work related to blogging.
It has a desk, a small chest of a bookshelf and drawers and a file box and the box where I keep my items such as cards and photos. All office things are saved in the chest of drawers now except the scissors, which I maintain in a Mason jar on my desk so that they’re out from the reach of little ones.
I discovered an old reception planner in my decluttering I have been using to keep receipts which are needed frequently. It is divided by months, so I’ll go throughout at the end of every month and clean out whatever is no longer necessary to hold onto.
According to Kondo’s advice, we also have just one file folder for items which have to be taken care of immediately (right now it comprises an invitation I need for which I want to RSVP, a laboratory slip from the pediatrician and a check to the septic company that’s coming to pump our tank tomorrow). I will check it to make sure I have done whatever is still outstanding.
I also have a box on my desk (I used a reasonably decorative one) for pencils, stamps, and notecards because I have always wanted to be the kind of woman who sends cards to family and friends frequently. We’ll see if this helps inspire me!
Fringe Benefit: I have genuinely worked at my desk in years. This is forcing me to write and to sit in the dining room rather than on the sofa, at my desk, or my previous workspace: my bed. I have been organized with my tasks and much more active today that I have room to call my own.
Our kids’ stuff used to be all over the house. Like everywhere! Now everything that was pretty much is housed in the playroom, except the books in the kids’ rooms. If you do not have a playroom, the majority of your kids’ stuff is kept in their rooms with not more than then they preferably use.
If you want to, put out only certain toys to decrease clutter and change them out every few months or so when they get bored with what is there. (I have an entire shelf in the basement for toys to swap out.)
We have a big toy organizer for wrangling toys in our playroom, and it used to be a place to dump any toy regardless of what other pieces belonged with it. Now, I try to keep them fairly organized, with different bins for items like small cars, play kitchen utensils and food, stuffed toys, baby toys such as play tools, etc. This way, they can take out an entire bin, bring it to their table and play with it there. I am also encouraging them to begin cleaning up the toys, so categorizing them is easy.
I want to print out some images of what each bin contains so the youngest one can begin relating the bins with whatever goes inside when he is cleaning up. Same for the containers we maintain on the other shelving unit.
I store puzzles in an organizer and craft things I do not want them getting into unassisted and is stored on a shelf. It is miles better than what we had, although it is not an ideal system.
The kids’ rooms are bare bones concerning storing things. Each of their closets has a box of their hanging clothing, some blankets, and diapers. Everything was transferred to appropriate places in the home.
I no longer keep any toys in the kids’ rooms because, at this point in their lives, all they do is sleep there. They have a playroom if they would like to play with their toys. I moved all the novels from the playroom because we read upstairs before bed. I’ll add a few low shelves into the playroom for novels we read all of the time so the kids can get/put their own back.
Fringe Benefit: The children are actually playing with their toys now. They used to play with something for 30 seconds, throw it on the floor then run off to get something else. It’s the weirdest thing–as soon as I finished getting rid of all the other stuff they didn’t use, then suddenly they started playing in the playroom for hours every day with the old toys. I didn’t expect that, but I am so happy it worked out that way.
Prevent From Re-Cluttering Your House
Marie Kondo says in the book that her clients who follow the KonMari method to the letter have a 100% success rate with not recluttering. When I read that, I was happy about my chances. And that’s why I decided except two little things (taking things out of the shower every day and removing items from my handbag daily) that I’d follow her method exactly as she laid it out. It does not mean that I bow to my home once I arrive home or thank my sneakers for their service once I take them off each day (she is into real crunchy stuff that you would never catch me doing in a million years), but I did follow the decluttering/organizing exactly as prescribed.
Important rules to follow after your stuff are decluttered/organized:
- Keep all items from one category in the same place, so you know exactly what you have available, and you’ll know if you run out.
- Return things to their designated location immediately after use
- Think carefully about each item you purchase post-KonMari and just purchase that which you need, can fit in your home and provides you pleasure.
- Make a habit of keeping your house clean and not just uncluttered
I think if you stick with this set of principles, you will be able to prevent cluttering.
The most significant advantage of KonMari by far is that I unexpectedly enjoy cleaning. This is hugely shocking to me since I loathed cleaning before.
Although I am sure the excitement will wear off after a while, I am finding that I motivated to clean our home because I wish to keep it how it’s now. I am probably going a little overboard at the present time in an attempt to prevent from returning to our former state, and I am positive that will settle down as I come to understand that this is here to remain.
However, I’ve found that keeping our house clean is a result of really valuing and respecting our space; I really like our home now, so I am making the upkeep of it a daily priority rather than a heavy burden that I drag out for months on end.
I have been using a part of this cleaning checklist I found on Pinterest, but you can do whatever works for you. I ensure that no matter what I do these things daily:
- Fold/put away one load of laundry and wash/dry another
- Wipe down the countertops and table
- Do all dishes or put them in the dishwasher
- Vacuum or sweep, if it is necessary
These things take hardly any time because the home is so functional now (I do not have to wash up all of the clutter on the flooring before I vacuum or eliminate all of the old dishes from the table before I wash it down). I can easily fit them into my everyday schedule.
I’m discovering that not having to wash and re-clean all day is also leaving time for my cleaning jobs like deep-cleaning the bathrooms or wiping down appliances. Even you never truly learn to enjoy cleaning, I can guarantee you will find it a lot easier once you are finished with KonMari.
So that is it, in a big nutshell. I know I was long-winded, but I am so thrilled with how functional my life feels right now, and I wish to spread this feeling to anyone who wants to try it. If you try it, please let me know! I’d love to hear the results of every one.