Spring is almost here and warm weather, blue skies, and longer days are practically beckoning us outdoors. But before we toss off our sweaters and go running outside, it’s important to spend a little extra time taking care of our homes. Spring cleaning is never easy (or fun) but this year get ahead of the mess, start a little early, and do it the Marie Kondo way.
Marie Kondo has been making waves since her first book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing,” and fans of her home organization methods have been touting her virtues of cleanliness since her book was first released.
“We should be choosing what we want to keep, not what we want to get rid of.” ―
Your Home, Your Sanctuary
Yes, your mother’s traditional way of cleaning the house top to bottom is thorough and would get the job done, but Kondo offers a new way to think about the space around you. So we went to work, with some trash bags, incense, and plastic bins in tow.
Kondo always suggests starting off your spring cleaning by thanking your home. It’s a workplace, a school, a playground, and it’s the place where you and your loved ones have built many happy memories. Thank your home (this can be slightly awkward), and get to work with the first step in her five-part series. Cleaning out your closet.
You can burn up to 100 calories an hour while cleaning your house! Who needs a treadmill at the gym when you can lose weight by cleaning!
Goodbye Clothes, Hello Space
Have you ever seen how much clothing you actually own? Per Kondo’s instructions, all clothing from every closet, drawer, and cupboard needs to be pulled out and placed onto the bed. All of it. The mile-high pile is intended to show you the amount of excess in your closet—does anyone need 15 hoodies? Really?
Then the pile needs to be sorted and folded, but not until you physically touch each and every piece. Decide if it’s something that sparks joy or needs to be discarded or donated. If you periodically clean and organize your closet, it might only take an afternoon to go through everything. But if you haven’t gone digging through your walk-in in a couple of years, be prepared to make a day of it.
The average woman cleans for 12,896 hours in her lifetime vs 6,448 hours for men.
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Sort Out Those Piles of Books
Next Kondo suggests moving on to books. This part was easier—I love all of my books and if they don’t bring me joy I don’t keep them in the first place. (Who wants to relive a particularly bad ending?) Take everything out of your shelves and find which books and magazines bring you joy and which are just there to look pretty or take up space on your coffee table.
Moving onto her next category, papers, can be difficult, as this can include letters, cards, and necessities like bills and financial statements. The most important thing here is organization—set aside the paperwork you need from the more sentimental pieces. Sentimental pieces are dealt with last, but if you know you don’t need it—out it goes.
“Go ahead, donate what you don’t need. You and your space will feel infinitely better.” ― Marie Kondo
Declutter Your Living Spaces
For Kondo, komono is all the miscellaneous goods in your home that still need to be organized and cleaned. This can mean kitchen cabinets, bathroom storage, even electronics. The kitchen can be the most difficult to tackle, but again, take everything out and decide what you need, what brings you joy, and what can be donated.
Love your grandmother’s old teapot even if you only use it on holidays? Yes, keep it! Haven’t made muffins since 2008? You can probably toss the muffin tin. Each home will have its own trouble spots. Maybe for some, those house electronics can be the most challenging to tidy up. But those old mousepads, unused headphones, and wires that connect to nothing? Out they go.
“The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past.”
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If It Brings You Joy, Keep It
Finally, Kondo suggests organizing sentimental items or mementos last. By now (hopefully), you’ll have distinguished between what brings joy, what needs to be tossed, and what needs to be kept for necessity’s sake. Keep in mind when you go through these sentimental pieces if you are keeping them purely for the memory, or if it’s something you want going forward in your life.
You may not need your soccer trophies from high school to remember the fun time you had with friends, but a letter your late grandmother wrote to you on your birthday will always be treasured. Spring cleaning isn’t just de-cluttering your home and tossing out a few old sweaters. Find what brings you joy. Surround yourself and your family with pieces and things that will bring you together, make you happy, and give you the space you always dreamed of.
“Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest. By doing this, you can reset your life and embark on a new lifestyle.” ―