It’s been mandatory for me to general clean our condo before the year ends and just in time to welcome the new year. I’ve been doing this for six years now. It’s that once a year duty where I am really forced to drop everything and clean every nook and cranny of our home.
The usual general cleaning for me is move-all-the-furniture and sweep clean the floor, rearrange & organize decors, and the ever so challenging remove unnecessary items in your home which includes, but not limited to: unused, unused and not working, stored away for no reason, keeping because it has sentimental value, keeping because it was gifted but never used, keeping just because you never had the chance to throw.
This is usually how I end and start my year. I declutter the way I know how. But as each year comes to an end, I always accumulate more stuff than I decluttered the previous year. I guess that is inevitable, because I have two kids and my line of work lets me have things for me to review and use. So how do I form a habit out of decluttering? I take inspiration & advice from no less than decluttering queen herself, Marie Kondo.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo which I got at Fully Booked for P699.
Not only was I inspired to declutter on a regular basis (and by regular, I mean whenever there’s clutter, which happens weekly in our home!) but I was also challenged to shop ONLY when needed because decluttering can be a heartbreaking task, especially if you’re letting go of the things you got on sale or a good deal. But then again buying them just because they’re on sale shouldn’t be the case in the first place –this is totally my weakness!
So a few days before the new year, I started applying some of Marie Kondo’s tips on how to tidy up and declutter.
Effective tidying involves only two essential actions: discarding and deciding where to store things. Of the two, discarding must come first.
This was easy for me since I know I have limited space in our home. One of the advantages of living in a condominium with just the right space for a family of four.
What you don’t need, your family doesn’t need either.
This is one of my criteria when it comes to discarding things. Particularly in our kitchen. As a homemaker, the kitchen is my turf. My husband couldn’t care less how tidy it is as long as he gets to make his coffee or get food from the pantry or fridge. I, on the other hand hate how cluttered our kitchen is.
Our kitchen counter is only an arm’s length long and can only hold a few small appliances, while all the kitchen cabinets (which are only a few) have their designated purpose: pantry, cupboard, medicine cabinet, iron & sewing kit storage, and laundry paraphernalia storage. Our kitchen, just like the rest of our home’s different areas, have limited storage and space.
So I had to sift through what’s in it. A few small appliances that I haven’t opened nor used which were gifted to us when we got married, lots of plastic food containers (don’t you just love hoarding those, even the disposable ones? I know I do!), and kitchen tools that I don’t use because it’s either a. extra ones that I don’t need or b. they’re not something I will
ever use but still in my possession.
After putting everything on the floor, (yes, I like tidying up and decluttering this way even before I read Marie Kondo’s book), it was easy to discard what I don’t need because in my small square kitchen, there’s no room for storing things that aren’t useful.
These racks from my kids’ room have found a new purpose in our kitchen. Kitchen, tidy and clutter-free!
Sort by category not by location
After conquering our kitchen, I was ready to take on the rest of our home, because really, a few more square meters won’t be as hard as having to turn a house upside down right? Well, I was sorta wrong. It’s not how big a space you have to clean up, it’s more of how much you need to tidy up, how much stuff needs to be sorted and how long it would take to decide on discarding things easily. *gulps*
I actually didn’t know where to start next. Should I go for the kids’ room first or our room or the bathrooms? How about what’s first seen when one enters our home – the living and dining rooms? Let’s not forget about the veranda!
My head started to spin as I think about what area to attack next. Until I remember that I should sort by category and not by location. So I made my own category: what I see and what I don’t.
Everything that I need and use are those that I can immediately see and everything I have but I don’t really use nor do I even remember having are those that are stored or hidden.
So I started where there’s obvious clutter. This wasn’t hard because each room in our house has it but what I went for first was my workstation.
Piled up papers, press kits, books, notes, bills and everything else that I usually throw in there. I sat down and began organizing and in less than thirty minutes, I was done. It was easy to know what to discard and what not. I just had to buy a storage where I can put some of the products that are still waiting to be tested and reviewed. Now if only I can find time to list down what’s on each storage to make it easier to find what product I’m looking for… but I’ll save that for another tidying up or should I say, organizing day.
Mess free, finally!
I did the same thing to each room– bathrooms, kids’ room, living and dining room.
Designate a place for each thing.
Our bathroom has a counter top that can only accommodate a few things. But because I try different products ever so often, I tend to just throw everything there until some things get buried under. Since there’s no layers for me to pile them properly, I had to effectively organize everything. So I got a bathroom caddy that lets me organize my skin care and make up products.
Facial care on one basket, lotions and body products on another, make up on the third, nail polish and nail grooming products on the fourth and the last basket are for random personal care products that I need but don’t use on a regular basis.
The right photo is better right?
I did the same method of organizing in the different rooms of our home. I made sure there are designated areas for all things.
Does it spark joy?
Everyone I know who’ve been #Kondofied now uses this line over and over again to decide whether to keep or discard something in their space. So, does it spark joy? 🙂
We all get that joyous feeling whenever we buy something that we really, really like. That’s the spark Kondo is talking about when it comes to deciding whether or not you should keep something. It was at first scary to use this criteria because I know most of my clothes made my heart skip a beat the day I purchased them. So technically, they all spark joy to me. What I thought was pretty or cute last year is now totally not my style. Borrowing a line from The Black Eyed Peas’ Boom, Boom Pow “You so 2000 and late!” . I never felt discarding my clothes as poetic, scary, and liberating all at the same time, until I did it the Kondo way. Heehee.
These are just 1/8 of the bags of clothes I’ve managed to pluck out of my closet. I cannot believe I have so much that I no longer wear! Now I have more clothes to sell on the next Bloggers United or if I can, I’ll post online.
Of course it was heart-breaking to let go of the clothes that I once loved. It’s hard to let go of them especially those that I paid for in full price (not discounted or on sale) and those that I know will make a comeback (fashion always come and go and eventually repeats after a few years or decade). But the thought of having to wait for about 5 to 10 more years before these pieces become “hot” or “trendy” made me want to discard them immediately. Why did I buy too many “seasoned or trendy” pieces to begin with anyway?! Don’t worry, I still kept the staples with me.
As I scatter all my clothes on the floor, I didn’t dare check the brand (because knowing it’s Zara, COS, H&M, Mango, J.Crew would make it more difficult to discard) so that I wouldn’t be tempeted to keep them just for this sake. No spark of joy means off the rack and into the bag it goes. The great thing about discarding was the feeling of relief after a few days, when it all sinks in. I thought I’d miss my old clothes but turns out, the moment I opened my closet, I couldn’t remember the ones I used to have. Marie Kondo was right about how discarding things that don’t spark joy has no adverse effects whatsoever.
Learning that you can do without.
This was a lesson my kids and I had to learn together. After realizing that it was easy to discard and move on with what’s left in my closet, I gave them a challenge to do the same for their toys.
Kids and toys are like women and bags or shoes. They know they have a lot but they just can’t have too many!
So in order to teach my kids responsibility and to help us maintain the cleanliness and orderliness of their new room, we asked them to sort out their toys and keep only what they like. I know “like” is very subjective, so I had to explain to them that they should only keep the toys that they would play again and again and not just once and then get bored with it right away. Every time they’d pick up a toy, I’d ask them “Is this something that you’ll play more than once?”
Get a storage that can help you be more organize. In the case of my kids, I can’t store their toys at the upper cabinets because they won’t be able to get it whenever they want to play with it. So I got them these under-the-bed plastic storage that they can easily pull out should they want to get something from it.
After sorting out their toys and things, this is now how my children’s room looks like. Doesn’t look like a room of a 5 and 3 year olds no? Packing away after every play is really enforced every time they get a toy from the trunk or from the storage box. Clean as you go ang dating. Yes, I’m starting them young.
I am much more happier knowing that our home is more organised and clutter-free. Hoping we can maintain this for the rest of the year.
According to Marie, the moment you have put everything in its place, you have crossed the finish line.
I have yet to master the art of folding clothes and socks the right way as well as vertically storing things instead of piling them up. I have a long way to go when it comes to this but I am so glad that I’m done with my special event (tidying and decluttering once a year) before we welcomed the new year. Thank you Marie for helping me be a bit more happy in our home! 🙂
Do you have any decluttering and tidying tips? I’d love to know!
You can check out Tin’s post of her Kondo situation at www.manilafashionobserver.com/kurrently-kondo-ing.