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How Spring Cleaning & Organizing Can Change The Way Your Home Functions

Making KonMari & Minimalism work in your home to get organized.

organized dishes
Photo Credit: melissa_zeidan

As the sunny days become more frequent for most of us it’s that time of year again where a sudden burst of motivation has us setting aside piles of clothes and housewares to take to Goodwill, tearing down hard to reach cobwebs and dusting every surface in our homes. Isn’t it amazing how natural spring cleaning feels? It’s not a forced chore; instead it signals the change of seasons and creates harmony between our homes and the bright and sunny days to come.

What’s better than a clean house? A clean and organized house. There are few things worse than coming home from work to an unorganized and cluttered home. To me organization means that everything has a place where it belongs and ‘spring cleaning’ is our annual re-organizing event where we get rid of everything that doesn’t have a place in our homes. It’s so easy to accumulate clothes that don’t fit, gifts you don’t need and supplies for home projects that never happen. Luckily there are simple things we can do to maintain a serene environment to start and end our days in.


Minimalism


Minimalism is a lifestyle focused on living with less. This lifestyle is gaining popularity lately as people are seeing a wide range of benefits from living more simply. Minimalism can also go beyond the physical things in your life such as having fewer clothes and fewer pieces of furniture in your home. Many people who adapt to this sort of lifestyle are also seeking to maximize their life experiences in exchange for minimizing the accumulation of ‘things’. Whether they’re trying to minimize their impact on the environment or just their cost of living, by living with less Minimalists have more opportunities, time and money to spend on experiences while also creating a calmer and less stressful living space.

minimalist closet

You may be surprised at how much you don’t need when you begin to learn more about minimalism just by seeing examples of people who live a full and happy life with less! I definitely had to adopt some minimalist habits during the 3 years I lived in 200 sq. ft. with my husband, 2 pets and a shared kitchen. Now with more space I am leaning on ‘Minimalism’ again to guide me towards a clean and organized home that stays that way! Check out Instagram #minimalhome for some inspiring examples.

There are no hard and fast rules of how to live like a Minimalist and you can create a unique definition that suits your life. Common tips on how to achieve a more minimalist lifestyle include:

  1. Writing down your reasons for becoming more minimal
  2. Getting rid of duplicates
  3. Start with one room at a time
  4. Dress with less

These rules are pretty general guidelines that can help to get you started with Minimalism. There are a lot of tips out there but it really comes down to creating rules that fit your life specifically. Take time to clearly define your goals whether they be saving money, time or space. Getting rid of duplicates is important because duplicate items create clutter and often don’t help us live more efficiently. Dressing with less is a wonderful reminder if you have overflowing closets! By setting goals for your wardrobe you can shop smarter and not hold onto items that don’t really fit your lifestyle. If you don’t use it, it won’t hurt to lose it. Baskets, bags and Tupperware can be amazing tools to use when organizing. To have a successful basket/box/jar organization system be specific with what goes in each spot so that you don’t end up with 9 junk drawers.

organized spices in pantry

My favorite tip in the list is to start with one room at a time. Revamping your entire house to be more minimal is a labor intensive, time consuming goal. If you know from the start that you can go slow and start small, it all feels more realistic. At the heart of this simple lifestyle is the idea that memories and experiences are more important than the physical items that we associate with them. Allow yourself to keep all the things that make your home feel like home, but don’t be afraid to detach from those things that no longer serve you.


The KonMari Method


With a new show on Netflix, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, even more people have been exposed to the KonMari method of cleaning. If you’re not familiar with it I definitely recommend the show as well as Kondo’s book that inspired it all The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Kondo’s Japanese organization and decluttering method suggests to only keep those items that bring you joy such as your wedding dress, favorite sweats, family photos and most definitely your Instant Pot! The most difficult part of maintaining an organized space is deciding what stays and what goes. Kondo’s approach turns this difficult decision into a simple question: Does it spark joy?

how to fold shirts to keep drawer organized
Photo Credit: melissa_zeidan

This book guides you through the most effective way to achieve the organized home of your dreams with the goal of long-term sustainable tidiness. The six steps that define KonMari are:

  1. Commit yourself to tidying up
  2. Imagine your ideal life
  3. Finish discarding first
  4. Tidy by category, not by location
  5. Follow the right order
  6. Ask yourself if it sparks joy!

The most challenging thing about the KonMari method is the all or nothing approach. Kondo insists that all discarding must be done in one big event as quickly as possible. I don’t doubt this is the way to achieve the best long term results for tidiness and organization, but I’M BUSY!! I’d love to spend a week emptying every crevice of my house purging and reorganizing but that isn’t realistic. So what are we to do if we can’t afford to give our home the time that KonMari demands? We start with minimalism!

Both Minimalism and the KonMari Method have the same end goal of creating a system where you can enjoy the things in your life more while saving time and money, while avoiding stress. Small changes can make a big difference. The kitchen might be a great starting point. It’s an area that is used throughout the day and is guaranteed to generate a mess if it’s not set up for the various activities that happen there. Ask yourself what dishes you prefer and tend to grab most often then get rid of the rest! Create a designated space for spices, Tupperware and every gadget you have. In your pantry and fridge use clear containers to store pre-chopped vegetables, grains, flours, produce and frozen foods so you can see more clearly what you have available. This will help to avoid buying duplicate groceries and letting your food expire.

Erin's organized pantry

If your kitchen gives you the most stress but you don’t have a vision of where everything is going to then start with something simple like a garage, a closet or a bathroom; somewhere the placement of things is less important and where it’s easier to envision how you’ll organize it. Once you get your little wins with these less complex rooms you will have more ideas of what you want to do to tackle those larger bedroom and kitchen projects.

Don’t get stuck in a system that doesn’t work. After you’ve been living in your newly organized space for a few weeks are you finding yourself annoyed at new messes? Are the same old problems piling up? Keep evolving, purging and improving. Minimalism does not have to be all or nothing; it can just be the inspiration you need to keep pursing the ultimate organized home.

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Symone Maruyama
Customer Service | Erin Baker's

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