We all have them, those household tasks we keep putting off for another day. But with us all spending a lot more time at home, there’s never a better time to clear the clutter and make your home a calming space.
Marie Kondo, star of her Netflix series ‘Tidying Up’ has become an international inspiration in the clutter-cutting movement. Her mantra, “tidy your space, transform your life”, is motivating people around the world to tackle tasks and clear their heads.
While Kondo shows her audience a number of skills, including how to properly sort clothing and fold shirts, the most important lesson she teaches is how to distinguish the items you should keep from those you should let go. To do this, hold an item and ask yourself the simple question: “Does it spark joy?” If not, then thank the item and let it go.
Although it’s a simple process, Kondo highlights these four mistakes that often get in the way of a clutter-free home.
Carrying all the responsibility
It is easy to feel overwhelmed if you are taking responsibility for clutter that doesn’t belong to you. If you live in a home with others, delegate each individual a specific room to keep tidy. This helps to distribute responsibility and holds each person accountable. “You’re living together,” says Kondo, “so it’s important for everyone to maintain their space.”
Treating tidying as a chore
Many people clean reasonably frequently in short and sharp bursts. It might be clearing the dining table or getting the living room in order before guests come to visit. However, this isn’t an efficient way to tackle mess as it only deals with surface-level clutter and often feels like a chore.
Instead, she recommends “special event tidying”. Put on music, open the windows and commit a period of time to cleaning your house. This will help keep you motivated for longer. “It is crucial to tackle this job within a short space of time while your spirits are uplifted,” Kondo writes.
Keeping bags of stuff lying around
Do you have any bags or boxes full of items stuck in limbo? Postponing the decision about whether items should be kept or let go only makes it harder. Hold an item in your hands and ask yourself if it sparks joy. If the answer is no, thank the item before letting it go. If the answer is yes, then find a space for it right away.
Letting go without thanking items
While it may sound a little strange, Kondo teaches all of her clients to thank the items they choose to let go. This instils a respect for our belongings, making us more likely to be considered about which items we allow into our homes in the future.
If you’re reluctant to say goodbye to items, it can also help to donate them. Knowing that these objects may spark joy in someone else, and that you are passing them on to a second life can make it easier.
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