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Why Decluttering Is Essential to Staying Organized

If you've been living under a rock, you may have missed the Japanese phenomenon, Marie Kondo. Her tagline to the KonMari Method is, "Do this spark joy?". If the answer is "no", then it goes. You thank the item for past service and let it go. She first released her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing (2014) which was an immediate bestseller. A few years later, Netflix would launch a series where Marie Kondo helped folks to learn her method and transform their homes called Tidying Up with Marie Kondo (2019). This series propelled her and her business to super fandom.

A quick year later, Netflix took the cue that people have a lot of stuff and don't know what to do with it. This time, they worked with The Home Edit and their celebrity clients and the show was another instant success. Similarly, they also previously published a book, The Home Edit Life: The No-Guilt Guide to Owning What You Want and Organizing Everything (2020).

So here's the deal, everyone is different and everyone declutters successfully in different ways. It is a trial by trial basis until you find what feels good to you and is effective. The Japanese way of decluttering is about getting your house in order, which propels you to let things go. The Home Edit way to make everything aesthetic by putting items into matching bins (in the simplest summary). The basic idea behind decluttering is that you should only keep things that serve a purpose and bring pleasure. Keep what you need, love, and what adds value to your life.

Figuring out what is causing the clutter in your home can help you prevent future clutter, which is your ultimate goal. Unless I am working on a maintenance project (as in I have already organized the space), my work is boiled down to: 70% decluttering, 20% optimizing and designing, and 10% as styling. My top three tricks for kicking clutter to the curb are:

1. One In, One Out - This is my go to "Golden Rule" that makes decluttering more tangible. It helps to prevent clutter, which is for many folks a leading cause to fights and stress. If you buy something, no prob., now let something go in that same category. Immediately give your new item a home.

2. Find a Home - At some point during your day (AM or PM), there shouldn't be anything on the floor. This means setting a daily time to do a quick clean-up. If something doesn't "have a home", it either needs to get one, or it's time to let it go. If it has a home, put it there in the moment. A home means that your scarf doesn't end up on the kitchen chairs for a week, which of course leads to your purse, the kids' homework, and the dog toy. Avoid the line of dominoes and put your scarf in its' designated home (perhaps a bin, a coat rack, or drawer).

3. Set a Timer - This is my favorite strategy because it reminds me of being in the classroom (as a former teacher). Using a timer is such a motivator for folks. It doesn't matter how much time you have, one minute or an hour. Set the timer and DO NOT STOP, go through a specified area and let go of what doesn't serve you. A junk drawer would be a great place to start, a cabinet, or a pantry depending on how much dedicated time you have to declutter.

Now that you've built up your toolbox with five new strategies, it's time to get started. Figure out which is best for you and get going. Remember, clutter begets more clutter.

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