One of the most important books in decluttering your life. Marie Kondo may be a little obsessive with decluttering to the point she should probably seek help. But her obsession works to our benefit as we learn what works in managing our homes and offices better. It’s about finding joy. A must have in learning how to manage your home. [Amazon]
All of my friends have the same lament. They hate spending the weekends cleaning the house all day long. They’d rather be out on the weekends enjoying their time with friends and family. But instead, they’re stuck in the house cleaning on the weekends.
One woman told me she outsourced her cleaning and has a maid come in every other week to help clean the house. She just can’t fathom wasting another Saturday cleaning when she could be out meeting her friends for Mexican food and a nice cold drink.
Another friend has some health issues, so she can’t drag a load of laundry to the laundromat, let alone fold the laundry with the arthritis in her hands. She’s been trying to outsource it to a laundry delivery service, but she’s had no luck finding one. Now her dirty clothes are piling up. She has to keep ordering new clothes all of the time because she doesn’t have any clean clothes to wear. Don’t get her started on the rest of her apartment…
We all have busy lives. We go to work. We have after work activities with friends or family. We’re absolutely exhausted by the time we get home. The thought of making dinner, cleaning house, etc. after a long day at work is asking way too much. So how does a person get everything done?
A few years ago, I came across an article by a woman who does 100 chores a day. She assigns her kids 10-25 chores a day (depending on their age). This may seem like a crazy notion, but the way she broke it down actually made doing daily chores a lot simpler. It only takes 20-35 minutes of your time a day. Sound crazy? I thought it was until I saw the difference doing 100 chores a day made on my home and it didn’t take a lot of time to do.
The way 100 chores works is this…for each dish you wash, that’s one chore a piece. For each dish you put away, that’s one chore. For each piece of junk mail you throw away when you get home, that’s one chore a piece. You see how easy that is to rack up 100 chores in no time?
I start counting chores the moment I wake up. Here’s how my cleanup routine generally looks:
Feed 2 cats, clean 2 bowls. (4 chores)
Make the bed. (1 chore)
Consolidate trash. (3 chores)
Clean out litter box. (1 chore)
Consolidate litter trash with other trash. (1 chore)
Take out trash. (2 chores)
Take out paper recyclables. (1-2 chores)
Put dirty clothes in laundry bag. (5 chores)
By the time I leave in the morning, I’ve done between 20-25 chores. That makes it a lot easier when I get home to finish up.
Take off shoes, put them away. (2 chores)
Put coat away. (1 chore)
Put jewelry/work clothes away. (5-8 chores)
Feed 2 cats, clean 2 bowls. (4 chores)
Throw out junk mail. (2-5 chores)
Wash dishes. (6-40 chores).
Put dishes away. (8-25 chores)
Prep lunch for next day (4-5 chores)
And so on…
This is daily tidying up. When I get to the last 20 chores, I usually have to be inventive and focus on something that doesn’t fall under the daily chores.
I keep a list of items that need to be done and go through that list to find ONE big chore that takes a little longer to do (like clean the oven). You can create your own list by going through each room of your home and taking some time to sit down in each room. Write down each item that needs to be done. This is the list you are going to refer to for the next month as you try to tackle 100 chores a day.
Sure, there are days that I get home at 11:30PM and doing chores isn’t on my list of things to do. I just want to go to bed. On days when I know I’m going to be out late, I try to tackle the majority of the chores in the morning. Whatever is leftover from the day, gets put over to the next day. Maybe I’ll get 91 chores done that day. That means I have to do 109 chores the next day.
Don’t take too much advantage of this leeway. You don’t want to have 125 chores and then 150 chores and then 300 chores. That’s sabotaging your efforts. Make sure you do at the minimum 85 chores a day if you’re going to push a few chores over to the next day. I don’t recommend pushing any chores over to the next day, but I know how it is…you pass out before you finish those last few chores and completely forget about it until the next morning. When I do that, I get up and immediately do those chores I missed the day before, before I get started on the 100 for the day. [Trust me on this, you don’t want to cheat yourself and end up having to do too many chores every day. Do the 100 a day, leaving those extreme instances of pushing chores to the next day to the absolute minimum. Don’t make it a habit.]
On the weekends, I try to do all 100 chores first thing in the morning so I can have the rest of the day to do other things. I try to do a few more of the big chores on the weekends.
Outsourcing. I do outsource the chore that takes up the most time for me…LAUNDRY. It used to take whole afternoons just to wash, dry and fold laundry. I got my Sundays back by outsourcing my laundry to a local cleaner that picks up and drops off my laundry every other week. It costs a little bit more than if I did my laundry myself, but the time I get back is worth the extra cost. Everything arrives folded in the Kon Mari method. All I have to do is put it away (and I don’t count this towards my 100 chores).
If there are certain tasks that take too long to do, consider outsourcing it. If you hire a maid service or a lawn care service, consider having them do the more difficult or nuisance tasks that you can’t take care of yourself. Leave the easier chores for your daily 100 chores. Leave the nitty gritty stuff for the people you hire. That way, you are making the best of the service and of your time.
Get kids in on the task. One of the boys I was with this weekend was lamenting to his mother that she is working them like a slave. All of these chores he has to do (like washing the windows) was like slave labor. She told him that this was his way of paying for his phone, and all of the data he uses on the phone. I chimed in and said, “Actually, all of those chores are designed to be a life lesson. You need to know how to do these things when you are an adult. This is your mom’s way of teaching how to do things for when you are an adult.” His mom agreed, and that quieted him up.
I told him that until he can outsource those chores (like maybe pay his brother to do it for him), he’s stuck with learning this lesson. [Knowing the tightwad that he is, he’s not going to pay anyone to do anything for him.]
If you want to start teaching your kids life lessons on how to clean and take care of their future homes, start off small. For little ones, have them pick up and put their toys away. Start off with a small number (like 5). Slowly work up to more chores as they get older.
Don’t ever think that kids shouldn’t do chores or help around the house. It is your responsibility to prepare them for adulthood. They are going to need to know how to do laundry, wash dishes, iron their clothes, etc. They need to learn to put their things away. They may hate it, but you can make it fun.
Kon Mari as you go. I keep a piece of paper that I carry with me all the time. It says, “Have Fewer, But Better Things.” The more stuff you have, the more stuff you have to take care of. After obtaining so much stuff over the last 12 years to build a home, I all of a sudden discovered I had way too much stuff. It was so much, I was overwhelmed. I found that I spent way too much time taking care of my stuff, that I didn’t have the time to do the things I wanted to with my life.
I started to Kon Mari everything (i.e the Japanese Art of Decluttering). I made a huge dent in my first run. I donated over 20 bags worth of stuff. I am now in maintenance mode, because I know I can still do better and pare down even more. I am constantly going through my things and asking myself if these items bring me joy. I only want to keep the things that bring me joy. My goal is to be more of a minimalist so I have less things to take care of. It will make tidying up so much simpler to do.
I have found that in doing 100 chores a day, I really don’t like having a lot of stuff to take care of. I am constantly going through what I have and getting rid of things. I’m starting to see the value in the things I have invested in. It has also helped me be a far better shopper in that I know only to purchase quality, so I only have to buy it once, not several versions of the same product in order to get it right.
So as you go through your regular cleaning, always ask yourself if this item you are cleaning brings you joy. If it doesn’t, or you have no real use for it, let it go. Or you can do like I do…donate it because you just don’t like taking care of it anymore.
In Summary. Doing 100 chores a day can be fun. When I get home, I start tidying up the second I walk in. I try to complete the 100 chores for the day before I sit down to have dinner and catch up on a show. I do my best not to go over 100 chores a day. I want to leave something for the next day to do.
You’ll find that at the beginning, it may be overwhelming. There’s so much to do, and you’re only doing 100 chores a day. But keep at it. The daily chores start to become less and less, so you have to find other chores to do around the house. There is always something! Pretty soon, your whole house will look nice and clean like those houses you see in magazines and on Pinterest and Instagram.
Keep a list of chores that need to be done around the house, including those big chores. Involve the entire family. While the adults do 100 chores each, the kids can do their own number (depending on their age). Make out a list of things that need to be done around the house and assign a big chore for each person each day, along with the regular daily chores. You are trying to instill clean habits for everyone in the family. Have everyone start their chores as soon as they get home during the weekday, and first thing in the morning on the weekends. The sooner they’re done, the sooner they can play, watch TV, or relax for the evening.
100 chores shouldn’t take you all night to do. It takes me between 20-45 minutes. Just putting your things away as soon as you get home counts. Each sock, each shoe, each piece of jewelry…they all count as a chore a piece. While I always consider that the easy ‘cheat’ chores, some people consider it a necessity in keeping a clean home. Some people prefer to not lay things about and immediately put things where they belong to save on time, clutter and a mess that later has to be cleaned up. Not all people are hard wired to think that way. You have to train yourself to think that way. Until then…consider it your cheat chore to count towards your 100.
Pretty soon you’ll find that tidying up your home is simple and easy to do. You’ll be on your way to having a more perfect and clean home.
As part of a new series this year, I wanted to share with you how I am decluttering my life. This is a five month series. For those who want to take the steps to begin decluttering your life, count on this being a six month life plan to commit to this year. You’ll need the extra month to truly put this plan into effect.
For those who have a rather large entertainment collection (videos, CDs, records, games, books, etc.), today we’re going to focus on how you can downsize your collection.
We are fortunate that we live in an age where we can get rid of our clutter and go digital with almost all of our entertainment needs. For those who have BluRay players, Smart TVs, XBox Ones and PS4s, (i.e. technology you can connect to the internet) utilize what these devices offer by putting everything up online to access your content through streaming and cloud services.
Take Advantage of Cloud Services – Movies
PART ONE. You know those pieces of paper you get inside your DVDs and BluRay Discs with a special digital code? Go online and enter in the codes. Most use services like Flixster or Ultraviolet. Those are the two movie cloud services you want to have an account with. It’s FREE.
What’s great about getting an account with both of these services is that they interlink with each other, so no matter which service you use based on the movie company’s choice provider(s), you can luckily interlink all of the accounts together. You can do that through the settings on both accounts.
On your Smart TV, Xbox, etc., download a movie app that allows you to access your movie collection. For me, that app is Cinema Now.
Using that app, link all of your upload libraries (Flixster and Ultraviolet) to the movie app (you can also do this online). You should be able to access your library of all digital content you entered in codes for through the various upload services. Movie companies usually decide which service they will use as a digital content service. You just have to enter in the code, pick which account you have from the list, and then it automatically is added to your cloud library.
When you open up your movie app on your TV, all of the digital content through the various services will be all in one spot to access no matter which TV or device you use.
Going Forward. Resolve to only purchase all future movies through the streaming service. You don’t need the actual physical copy to clutter up your home. By purchasing through the streaming service, you will have access to that movie on any of your devices. It also saves you a trip to the store or wait time to get it in the mail.
PART TWO. If you use streaming services like Netflix or Amazon Prime, consider matching your current library with theirs. If it’s part of their service, consider ditching your actual copy of the movie.
Most people don’t know that part of their Amazon Prime service is a streaming movie service just like Netflix. It’s part of the Prime membership. You don’t have to pay extra for it. All of the videos you order (or have ordered over the years prior to Prime) are available in the Amazon Cloud for you to access, too. They also have their own shows like Netflix does.
Netflix and Amazon Prime have a lot of the same movies and TV shows. The only major difference is their own original content like Orange is the New Black (Netflix) and The Man in the High Castle (Amazon Prime).
For your Smart TVs, video consoles and BluRay players…just download the Netflix and Amazon Prime apps to your TV to access the streaming services.
After you’ve completed PART ONE and PART TWO, you can get rid of the physical DVD/BluRay discs. They are available to you digitally. You can make a few bucks off that collection by going to a local retailer that buys used DVDs/BluRays.
PART THREE. After you have entered in all of the codes you found, matched your collection to Netflix or Amazon Prime, sold your collection (or donated it), now you need to focus on maintenance.
Check every now and again to see if there are any movies popping up on Netflix or Amazon Prime that you already own. If it’s new to their catalog, you can let go of your copy. Netflix makes it easy by showing what new movies they’ve added. Amazon Prime is a bit more laborious to check. Netflix is the easiest to go through and search. It’s much faster if you search the collection via your computer.
For the new movies you want to purchase, instead of buying a physical copy of it, you can now buy a digital copy through the movie app (Cinema Now) or even through Amazon. You can even rent movies if you don’t feel like buying. The prices to purchase are comparable to the actual physical copy. What’s also nice is that when you purchase, it downloads immediately. You don’t have to go to the store or wait for it to be delivered. It saves time and shipping costs.
Keep in mind that if you rent, check the prices between your cable provider, Amazon and the movie app. One may be cheaper than the other. Also, if you can wait, most of the popular movies are out on the movie channels a month after it’s released on DVD. I DVR it if I want to keep it. It saves from purchasing the movie itself.
Take Advantage of Streaming Services – Music
I use two streaming music services: Amazon Prime and Google Play. Of the two, I prefer Google Play. Amazon Prime Music is part of the Amazon Prime membership. You don’t pay extra for it. Google Play is a little less than $11 per month (depending on your state taxes).
I prefer Google Play because I am able to access their extremely large music library. The selling point for me is the classical collection. There are certain albums I like and Google Play has it. Amazon Prime does not. Not everything on Prime is part of the service. You have to pay for some of the music. Google Play, on the other hand, has everything. To me, that’s worth the $10+ each month: access to unlimited music and stations.
I don’t own any CDs thanks to streaming services. I can download every single album or song I’ve loved throughout my entire life and not pay anything extra beyond that monthly fee.
Keep in mind though that some artists will force you to purchase their music. If that’s the case, you’ll need Amazon Prime or iTunes to get their music. They won’t always be available on streaming services.
Either way, it keeps it digital. It’s less stuff you have to physically take care of.
Less clutter and less stuff to take care of is our mission!
Take Advantage of Reading Apps – Books
There is an ongoing debate among book lovers. Hard copy or digital? Most book lovers do both. For advanced copies of books, I have to have the physical copies. They don’t send digital copies (although they should…it would save so much in shipping costs).
PART ONE. For books I have to have now, or something to read while I’m traveling, I order it through my Nook app or Amazon Kindle app. I try to order all new books that are available digitally through one of the two apps, depending on who is selling the book cheaper or if I want narration added to it.
One service I do love is Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited. It’s a monthly service ($9.99/month). If you think about how much you pay per month for one book…and you read a lot…this service may be best for you. What I love the most about this service is that most of the books have narration. If I have to stop reading and walk somewhere, then I switch to narration so I can continue the book while I’m walking. It’s also great if you’re at work and need something to listen to. I listen to books while I’m working to help kick out my New Year’s Resolution of reading 52+ Books a year.
There is also the Audible service, but for the same price, you get one credit per month for an audio book. You also can’t switch back and forth between reading and listening to the narration. I prefer the Kindle Unlimited because like it says…unlimited books from their library. That includes the books you can switch back and forth between reading and narration.
So for those times you find that incredible book you just can’t put down but you have to because you have to go from point A to B or you are at work…consider the Kindle Unlimited service. You can listen to the book when you can’t read it. The narration picks up right where you left off reading. That’s why I love this service so much.
PART TWO. For those who have libraries at home…finding a way to declutter your books (when you are a bibliophile) is just impossible. So I want to focus on storage. If you’re looking for the perfect library system, try the Billy cases from Ikea. They are pretty high and can accommodate a rather large book collection.
I keep all of my books in the library. Unless I am reading that book, it’s the only time a book is allowed out of that room. People go on and on about styling their bookcases to look pretty. All of my books are alphabetized by author. They are all standing up, none are on its side (a KonMari must, everything must be standing up). If there are more books than shelf space, that means I have to weed out books to get rid of.
For the books I’ve already read, I only keep the books that were so good that I know I may need a passage from it later. These are the type of books that moved me. All the rest are either donated or sold at a resale bookstore.
Because I receive a lot of advanced copies, I have to weed every year to make room for the new review copies. Out of the advanced copies group, I only keep the books that were personally autographed to me. All the rest are donated after I review them. You can’t really resell advanced copies of books.
The key thing about having a library is that all of the books be in ONE PLACE. Do not scatter them throughout your home (with the exception of coffee table books). Have them all in one place so that when you are looking for a particular book, you will find it in that one room sitting on the shelf where it is supposed to be. Come up with a system that works for you. Alphabetizing by author works for me.
I also keep the review copies separate from the main books in the library. They have their own book shelf so I know which books I’m supposed to review.
The KonMari method teaches that we should stand everything up on its side (folded clothing, books, etc.). Keep that in mind as you place the books in an order that works for you.
The method of going through the collection and asking yourself if the book ‘sparks joy’ is a bit fruitless to ask of bibliophiles. All of the books spark joy.
In order to declutter from an overflowing collection, start with the books you’ve already read. If you have no intention of reading or referencing it again…let it go. If there are books that were given to you that you have no intention of ever reading because it’s not something that interests you…let it go. Books that are too damaged to read, recycle them. College books…come on, you are never going to read them again…let it go.
The most important thing in this process is to make sure you have the correct storage space for your library. If it’s overflowing, or you can’t stand all the books up on the shelves, you need to pare down or get a book shelf that will work for your budding collection. Start paring down the groups I mentioned above. Give those books another chance to let someone else enjoy them. It served its purpose in your life. By letting it go, it’s one less thing you have to take care of.
PART THREE. Maintaining order in your reading apps is very important. You can order up a storm of books and they will all sit there in your queue waiting to be read. This is where YOU STOP doing that. In a way, you are overwhelming yourself by creating a clutter of books you need to read on an app. Resolve from here on out to buy the book when you plan on reading it.
For books you’ve read, make sure you archive it, return it (Amazon Kindle), or remove it from your active library. You can always recall the book whenever you need it (if you purchased it). This clears up your visual library when you open up the device/app. Your goal is to be a minimalist in this decluttering journey.
If you really want to start decluttering your devices/apps, consider putting most of the books into the archive and leaving only the next 3-5 books you want to read in the queue. As you finish and archive each book, you can go through the archive and add the next book to the queue or purchase a new book.
Your goal is to declutter your reading apps. Maybe someday they’ll create reading lists (like they do music playlists) where you can easily drop and categorize your books. So if you’re in the mood to read a teen book, you can just go to your TEEN BOOKS list you created and pick one from your archived list. I guess I should email them and request this?
For the Gamers
Gamers technically already know that if they have an internet based game console, they can just order the new game through the console and it is uploaded immediately. No need to purchase the physical copy.
Buying a physical copy means you have to use that disc each time you want to play the game. It’s better to just download the game. This is great especially if you’re at someone else’s house and want to play a game you downloaded. Just switch to your profile on the other person’s game console and you can play.
You can take games/consoles you no longer want to places like Game Stop to resell.
When you pare down your games, you want to ask yourself if this game brings you joy or not. If it doesn’t, let it go. If you are not going to play it again, let it go. If you beat the game already, let it go. If you have the next version of the game (like most sports games) and it’s better than the older version, let the older version go.
I know there are collectors out there, so with the older game consoles and games, if they still function properly, keep and maintain them. I know how it feels to be nostalgic and want to play Atari or Nintendo 64.
For current and new games, consider downloading the games from here on out. Or use a game renting service like Gamefly.
Keep in mind that the less stuff you have, the less things you have to take care of. Your goal here is to declutter and get rid of everything that does not bring you joy. The only things you want to keep in your home are the things that bring you joy.
Does it Spark Joy?
Remember that throughout this whole process of decluttering your entertainment, your first question is “Does this spark joy?” If it doesn’t, let it go. The whole purpose of decluttering the KonMari way is to only keep the things in your home that brings you joy. You only want to surround yourself with the things that bring you joy.
After you have used this method to pare down everything (sometimes it can take a few tries to declutter one category), what you want to have left from your collection are ‘just enough.’ In other words, you have enough and you don’t need anymore. You’ve minimized your collection down to where things are not overflowing. You are content with the amount you have. For some people it may be nothing. For others 25, 75, 100, or 500. Just as long as you have adequate storage and things are not overflowing, you can have as many as you want…but the whole idea to decluttering is to have less things so you can do the things you’d rather be doing without being burdened down by stuff that will suck the energy out of you.
As part of a new series this year, I wanted to share with you how I am decluttering my life. This is a five month series. For those who want to take the steps to begin decluttering your life, count on this being a six month life plan to commit to this year. You’ll need the extra month to truly put this plan into effect.
One of my resolutions is to be more of a minimalist. To have fewer, but better things. I started to embrace this change back in November. So where does one begin?
I decided I needed a change after realizing that the reason why I was not able to do the things I wanted to do was because I found myself so overwhelmed at home doing project after project, cleaning one room after the other with no end in sight, that I was spending most of my time cleaning rather than doing the things I wanted to do. I made excuses on why I couldn’t do X, Y and Z because I just felt so overwhelmed. I was drowning and I needed to find a way out of it.
My closet was overflowing. Clothes were piled up sky high on the dresser. I was running out of space to put my clothes, so I ordered a new wardrobe unit, thinking that would get a handle on things. I ordered storage boxes, thinking I could get some sort of handle on the off-season clothing.
No matter what I did, I couldn’t get a handle on my wardrobe.
I ordered Marie Kondo’s book and absorbed it within a couple of days. I set forth and started to put her methods to work.
So it begins…
As you read through the book, make sure you have a journal.
Ask yourself how you envision your perfect home. Is it light and airy? Is it calm and peaceful? Feminine? Modern? Clutter-free? Everything in its place?
When you answer this question, make sure you are very descriptive with your vision.
Now that you have an ideal of what you ultimately want, let’s start decluttering by going through your wardrobe. Have trash bags and boxes handy. For the items you are tossing, you’re going to need three categories: TRASH, TO DONATE, and TO SELL.
Marie Kondo suggests that you go through each item by category. Tops are all in one pile. Pants in another pile. Coats in another pile. And so on.
After you have separated each item into their respective categories, go through each pile by touching each item, looking at each item and deciding if this item brings you joy. If not, throw it into either one of the three toss piles. It’s easy to decipher if an item brings you joy or not. If it does not bring you joy, it goes. If it doesn’t fit well, it goes. If it’s too tight, toss it. If it’s too big, toss it. If it’s got a hole in it or it’s pilling, toss it. If you don’t feel good wearing it, toss it. Only keep the items that make you feel confident in yourself when you wear it.
When you toss, items like underwear, seriously damaged clothing, etc. should be thrown in the trash. Items that someone can use again, but are not re-sellable, should go in the donate pile. For those that you can resell, place in the sell pile.
These are the basic rules to decluttering your wardrobe.
Does it bring you joy? Keep only the things that fit well. Keep only the things that make you feel amazing. Get rid of the stuff that doesn’t make you feel great when you wear it. Underwear that rides up, make sure you toss it. Do not downgrade items to your ‘lazy days’ pile. Nothing should be downgraded to keep.
I have been guilty of downgrading clothing to the lazy days pile. Those drawers couldn’t hold all of the downgraded tshirts, tank tops and pants anymore. One thing Marie Kondo said in her book that really stuck with me is that in our well-groomed dream homes, we should also be well-groomed to show respect to ourselves. We shouldn’t downgrade ourselves to wearing tossed clothing that wasn’t good enough to wear out. We should upgrade our lounge wear so that we still look amazing when we answer the surprise knock at the door.
That doesn’t mean sacrificing your comfort. There’s plenty of lounge wear out there that will not only look amazing on you, but you will feel completely comfortable in.
Since going through your entire wardrobe might be a little daunting at first, give yourself a week to go through each category of your wardrobe. Start with the off-season clothing first. That, in itself, can be a category.
If you are short on time, and you separate your clothing by drawers already, make it a point to go through one drawer at a time. I started off by going through my main closet first, then each night after that for a month, I went through each drawer, box, cabinet, etc. by category.
I ended up donating five large bags of clothing, two large bags went into the trash. Another 3 boxes were for resale.
If you are like most fashionistas, you may have a certain type of collection, whether they be purses, shoes, belts, sunglasses, etc. Leave going through your collection for the last category to declutter in your wardrobe. You want to start with items that you are not 100% attached to.
For me, I have a purse collection. I have 2 large bookshelves, along with another two three cubby cases filled with handbags. I saved this collection for the very last when I decluttered my wardrobe for one simple reason…it’s difficult to part with a collection you take pride in.
I went through every single bag and tried to decide whether they gave me joy or not. By the time I was done, I had pared my collection down to 75 hand bags. This may seem like a lot, but to me, it isn’t. This is a collection, after all. Kondo says that you need to keep paring down until you get to that point where you feel like what you have is exactly the amount you feel happy with. After all, the whole point in the Japanese art of decluttering is to surround yourself with the things that bring you joy. Handbags bring me joy. 75 bags were the right amount. 76 bags was too much. 75 is the right fit for me.
I ended up donating two garbage bags worth of handbags. I ended up having one trash bag of handbags that I could resell.
By the time I was done, I was happy with the amount I kept and with the ones I decided to keep. I did buy two new handbags after I decluttered. I asked myself what was missing from this collection. I was missing Chanel from the collection, so I ordered two new Chanel handbags (one for the evening, one for the day) to complete the collection. I have a few bags designed like the Celine Luggage bags. I decided that this year, I would make it a goal tied in with my resolution to read 52+ books this year, the reward would be a Celine Luggage bag. I wanted to make it a goal instead of just going out and buying it. I wanted to earn that bag this year, because I’m trying to rid myself of a bad habit of buying what I want when I want it. That mentality is what got me buried underneath so much stuff I was drowning in it. This was my first step in creating change.
After I complete my goal, I’ll buy the bag and then part with all the other bags that are similar to the Luggage. It will be an upgrade of a design I love, so there’s no reason to keep the downgraded versions. It will also help keep me under that 75 bag maximum.
The reason why I mention how I’m adding to the colleciton is because in the art of decluttering and using Marie Kondo’s method called “KonMari” (a play on her name), you are trying to minimize everything. You’re not trying to declutter and then go back to those bad habits again. I know that in the past when I decluttered my wardrobe, I’d end up looking at it and going, “Oh, I’m missing X.” So I’d go out and buy three times more stuff than what I just got rid of. It’s a dangerous cycle. KonMari has been the only thing I’ve come across that doesn’t just declutter but it stops you from falling back into those traps again.
When I decluttered my wardrobe there are a few things that happened that I didn’t expect. I had pared everything down to only those items that were perfect. They fit perfectly, looked great, and made me feel amazing when I wore them. I thought…ok, this is great. I decluttered.
What I didn’t expect is that I would finally discover my wardrobe. I now know everything that is in it. I can now play around with so many different looks based on what I kept. I actually have fun with everything knowing that no matter what I pull out of my closet, it fits perfectly. I don’t have to wear a tunic with these pants because they are too tight in the leg. I don’t have to wear a long shirt because the pants made my middle look funny. I don’t have to fix or hide the blemish in the outfit I was wearing because there were no blemishes. Every single item was perfect…and it looked perfect on me.
I found my style after sifting through so many articles of clothing. I discovered that I prefer wide leg trousers to regular trousers. I realized that I preferred to keep blouses instead of just random tops. I ended up curating a wardrobe from all of the mismatches mixed in with the rest of the wardrobe. I found my own true style.
I have a lot of things that I do that require different types of garments. From red carpet premieres to hockey games to hockey practice to the office to the opera. I need something different for each event I go to. Because of that, I know I need a wardrobe from casual wear to formal wear and everything in between. I was able to cut my wardrobe down to those items that fit perfectly every time, no matter what I had to attend. I can now find exactly what I’m looking for instead of freaking out when I have a red carpet event and need to find the perfect outfit. I own every single item I could possibly need for any life event that comes up. That’s what I was able to create…a curated wardrobe for my life and everything that happens in it.
It took Marie Kondo’s book to help me find my own style by getting rid of all the wrong things and keeping only the right things. I am not buried under my closet anymore. Everything is in its place.
I have to say that it is fun knowing what you have and trying to invent so many different looks based on the items you keep. This is the kind of wardrobe that should last a very long time. There’s no need to add anymore of the wrong things to it. Knowing what it is that you want out of your wardrobe also helps in deciding what to add and what not to add. You’re not going to want to go on a shopping spree anymore. Why? Because in this process you’ll learn that the less things you have, the less things you have to take care of. That’s the kind of life you want to live. You want to have fewer, but better things.
You’ll only keep the things that bring you joy. If it doesn’t fit right, that won’t bring you joy. If it doesn’t look good on you, it’s not going to bring you joy. If the handbag is a fake, it’s not going to bring you joy because you know the real thing would make you feel better. If the shoes hurt your feet, how is that bringing you joy? Resolve to only wear the shoes you love that actually feel good on your feet.
When you go to put things back in your closet/drawers:
Learn to fold. When you put things away in the drawer, everything should be standing up. There are plenty of Youtube videos that can show you how to fold.
Use all of the same kind of hangers. Upgrade and buy thin hangers all in the same color. You can get a set of 50 for $19.99 at Kohl’s all in the same color. I bought 4 boxes over the years. Since I started decluttering, I’m only using 2 boxes.
When you put things back, the longest items should go on the left, the shortest items to the right. Also, have the darkest items to lightest items going from left (dark) to right (light). This actually makes your closet look clean and neat. (i.e. PERFECT)
For those who are new to taking care of your clothes, I learned how to do things the Martha Stewart way a long time ago. It’s 15 years later and I’ve adopted a new method. I outsource. What I mean by that is that I have a local laundromat pick up, wash, fold, hang, and deliver my clothes. This costs me about $30-$40 every two weeks, but I find that it’s worthwhile for a few reasons: 1) I get 4-6 hours back in my life to do what I want on the weekends, 2) when they return the clothes, it’s already folded exactly the way they need to be folded in the KonMari fashion, 3) they actually wash the clothes better than I ever could, and 4) they actually iron a lot of my clothes.
Sure, there are those items that are dry cleaned and mended. Those go out to the dry cleaners to take care of for me.
The reason why I don’t mind outsourcing like this is because I’m not buying clothes anymore. I’d rather professionals take care to launder, clean and iron them (I hate ironing, I’d rather wear it wrinkled) so I don’t have to. It gives me back so much precious time I was wasting on taking care of my things. Now I have someone else doing it for me. All I have to do is just put the items away when they arrive.
This is a wardrobe I’ve curated and invested in. I don’t want to throw out anymore clothes just because I don’t like them or because they don’t fit. I want to take care of the items that fit perfectly. If someone can do a better job than I can in its care, I’d rather they do it for me. Outsourcing has given me back so much of my life to do the things I want to do, instead of wasting all this time trying to take care of them.
Decluttering your wardrobe is the first step in getting out from under the life that you are drowning in. It helps you not only find and keep the things that bring you joy, but it also helps you discover your own style. Do you know how much time you save each morning knowing that every single item you pull out of your closet will fit perfectly? Do you know how much time and money you save when you know what exactly is in your closet? If you know you already have the perfect white blouse, why do you need to buy another?
The KonMari method has helped me curate the PERFECT wardrobe for myself. I find that I don’t need to buy any new clothes because I have everything I need and it is perfect. If I add anything to it, I know exactly what would complement it to make it even better. Gone are the days of buying a lot of different things only to find a few things that would bring me joy (if any). Now that I know what my style is and what I love, I know exactly what to buy when I buy. I know what the right thing is to add. I don’t need 10 different things of the same item. I know exactly what I’m looking for and will only buy that item.
If it wasn’t for the KonMari method, I never would have discovered my own style. I now have a wardrobe that brings me joy. I’ve scaled it down to a place where I’m happy with what I have. I don’t feel like I’m drowning or overwhelmed. I have exactly what I need. Sure, I still go through and question if I can make the wardrobe better. If I can reduce the wardrobe even more, I will. I want to make sure this is exactly the wardrobe I want.
I have a goal of calling the donation center once a month to do a pickup of all of the items I’m getting rid of. I make sure that each week, I throw out the things I don’t need. Recyclables are thrown out weekly instead of monthly. I make sure to always declutter one spot in the house each day.
The KonMari process isn’t a one weekend thing. It takes six months to complete this project, no matter what size home you live in. Keep that journal handy, because the one thing I never expected were the emotions you go through when you declutter. I found that when I’d take a resale item to the post office or take a bag of items in to sell, I had some emotional conflict. It’s good to write down what’s going on in your journal so that you can better understand how you got to be so bogged down with so much stuff.
Writing things down in the journal will help you work through why you are cluttering up your life. Writing it down is a way to see the monster hidden within you so that you can face it, and then make the decision you’d rather be happy. Happiness isn’t in the accumulation of things. Happiness is having fewer, but better things…the things that bring you joy. Your goal is to surround yourself in the things that bring you joy. You have to work through each and every object to discover what brings you joy. Once you discover what brings you joy, you’re only going to want to keep that joy in your life.