Ultimate Guide to Tidy Your Home
Are you about to tidy up your home? This is the ultimate guide to support you to declutter, tidy and organize your home by the principles of the effective KonMari Method™.
It is not without reason that the KonMari Method™ is so popular and the Netflix home-organizing show is so appealing. Everyone seems to feel more comfortable and happy in a tidy home that sparks joy. It is a misconception that a tidy home is a home with as little possessions as possible. This is not what the KonMari Method™ is about. It is about a home that sparks joy to you! A home filled with loving and positive energy. Also remember that tidying is not the ultimate goal but a means to create space for a life you love.
To inspire you on your journey, I have created an ultimate tidying and declutter guide, so that you can get started yourself. In this guide we will go through all categories of the KonMari Method™ and I will give tips on how you can tidy and organize with the best and long-lasting results.
Tidying is an intensive process and can be very confronting. It takes time, energy and persistence. While tidying and organizing your wardrobe leads to a beautiful result that you enjoy every day, to declutter your basement is often not so joyful. It is therefore not unusual that people drop out halfway through.
A KonMari Tidying journey starts with clear intentions and objectives. Why do you want to tidy, what does your ideal daily life look like and what would you like to see different in your home? Defining your ideal lifestyle and living environment is a crucial step in the KonMari Method™. A clear vision guides you in your decision making and helps to stay motivated and focused in the process.
photo by @ruxi.photo
There are three important steps that are repeated over and over for each category and characterizes the KonMari Method™. Collect. Choose. Store.
Before we discuss each category separately, I will tell you more about these steps.
Collect. This means collect everything! Including things that are stored elsewhere in your home and belong to the (sub)category you are working on. So, check your basement, your attic, hallway storage and ‘junk’ drawers and collect it all in one place. This way you get a clear grasp of how much you have. This is called this the power of the pile, because it can be so confronting and powerful to see all your belongings in one place. And that is exactly the intention. You are confronted with your things, and with that… you are confronted with yourself. Sense what is going on in your body and mind when you look at the pile, this may just be your shifting point.
Choose. One by one you take your belongings in your hand and ask yourself if it sparks joy. Concentrate on the things you want to keep, not the things you want to get rid of. If you are not sure yet you can make a 'maybe' stack and go through it again at the end. By then you will know exactly what you already have and what makes you happy, this makes it easier to make a definite choice. If you still cannot make a choice, don’t stress…. this specific item may be considered a sentimental item, you can set it aside until you get to the sentimental category. Let go of the things you don't like in a respectful way. All your belongings have served a purpose and taught you a lesson. Express your appreciation and gratitude for this, say thank you and let go.
Store. After it is clear which items you keep, you can store everything. Create simple and easily accessible storage solutions for long-lasting results and ease of use. The most important aspect of storing is to designate a home for each and every item! A place where your item always returns to, to rest and recharge until you use it again. Store the different categories together as much as possible and use Marie Kondo's signature folding and vertical storage method. This saves a lot of space and ensures that your items are organized in a convenient, accessible and clear way.
Now that your closets, cupboards and shelves are empty you have the opportunity to rearrange your belongings more efficiently and optimize your storage space. Use boxes and baskets, but don't buy anything new. Probably, you have boxes that you can use. In addition, it is important to know that until you have tidied up your entire house, all storage space is temporary. So, you can always optimize your storage, rearrange and replace items if necessary.
Key for maintaining your tidy home is to always return your items where they belong. Create simple and easily accessible storage solutions to keep mess in check!
Let’s get started!
Clothing is the first category. You wear your clothes every day, and in general we know quite well which clothes make us feel happy and in what pieces we don’t feel comfortable. Yet our wardrobes are often full of unworn pieces, clothes that do not fit or items that have simply served their purpose.
Collect. Gather all your clothes from all corners of your house and make a big pile on your bed. You can divide the clothing into subcategories such as pants, tops, jackets and underwear. Take a good look at the pile and feel what this does to you. Do you feel anxiety about having to let go, do you feel overwhelmed by the amount of clothes you own or are you simply excited to get started?
Choose. Take each item of clothing in your hands and ask yourself if it sparks joy. It can be useful to make a top 5 of your favorite pieces. You can now compare every other item of clothing with these favorites. Also feel how your body responds to the fabric and color. Some pieces may have sentimental value and special memories. Make a conscious choice and keep with confidence or let go with gratitude.
Store. Now that your wardrobe is empty, this is a chance to rearrange it optimally. Arrange clothes that you want to hang from the left (long items) to the right (shorter item). Make sure your clothes can breathe by not hanging them too close together. Also, color code from dark to light for a calming effect. Anything that can be folded needs to be folded and can be stored vertically in a box or basket in your closet. This saves space and looks neat. You can also fold your socks and your underwear deserves a special place in your closet, add a scented sachet for extra joy.
photo by @simplyserene.ch
Books are perceived as one of the most difficult categories to tidy. People often associate stages of life with books. Your childhood, study time, work careers, interests that come and go. All our books contain information that we have ever gained when we read it, or information we want or think we should acquire. It may feels like losing of this knowledge, when you let go of the book. A full bookcase is also often seen as a status symbol. However, the information that you really want to maintain is already anchored and integrated in you, so you do not have to physically keep the books. And the information in your old study books may be outdated by now. With this in mind, let's start.
Collect. Collect all your books from all over the house in one place, including cookbooks, art books, novels, readers of courses and table books. Divide the books into subcategories. Hold them and tap on your books to wake them up. Books generally stand in the bookcase for years on end without being touched. This makes the books sleep, which is basically dead energy. Bring them alive!
Choose. The danger now is that you are start browsing and reading your books. Don't do this, it will cloud your judgment, overwhelm you and you will lose focus. Hold each book and ask yourself if it makes you happy. Did you read it? If not, do you think you ever will? Would you buy it again? Think carefully about which books add value to your ideal lifestyle?
Store. Store the books in your bookcase or on a bookshelf. The only rule for storing books is that you don’t stack them, they stand upright! You can arrange your books the way it sparks most joy to you; by theme, writer, color or size. Cookbooks may also be stored in the kitchen.
photo by @jenniferscholl.ceramics
This category evokes quite a bit of resistance among many people, but there is a lot of benefit to be gained when you have minimalized and organized your papers. Approach this category with commitment and you will be so relieved when you’re done.
Collect. Collect all your papers in one place, make sure to check drawers, bags, cupboards, office area, hallway, anywhere you may keep paperwork. If you keep administration in boxes in the attic, find them and bring them down. Sit down at a table and get comfortable.
Choose. You can now look at your papers one by one and decide whether or not to keep it. Don't throw anything away that you are unsure about, check first or search online if these papers need to be kept. This is different for every country.
The basic rule is that almost all papers can be discarded. There are three categories of papers that need to be kept:
- Pending (documents that require action).
- Papers needed for a limited period of time (warranties, current course material)
- Papers to keep indefinitely (diplomas, rent or buying contracts for a home, your mortgage papers, insurance policies, pension statements)
Store. The idea when storing your papers is that you have the simplest possible storage system. Use the three categories as described above to store your papers. Create a box for pending papers that is easily accessible. Store your papers upright in the box. Check this box weekly on a fixed day and act upon your paperwork, then let go. Use files for the papers that need to be kept for a limited period of time, and for those that need to be kept indefinitely.
Photo by @simplyserene.ch
The next category is Komono (miscellaneous) and includes many different subcategories.
In this guide I will talk about the sub-category’s bathroom and kitchen.
The bathroom is the ultimate space to surround yourself with all the products you love, that will make you feel beautiful and improve your self-esteem. We accumulate a lot of lotions, soaps and all kinds of beauty supplies in the bathroom. Time to review everything critically for optimal bathroom comfort and joy.
Collect. Collect all your items from the bathroom cupboards, drawers, shelves and surfaces. Check the rest of your home for beauty & care-products and don't forget any appliances, hand cream, lip balm, nail clippers, hair dryers, styling tools, shavers, electrical toothbrushes. Sort everything into categories and pile them in front of you.
Choose. Hold each item, ask yourself if it sparks joy and be critical, especially when you have multiple variants of a product. Which products are your absolute favorite, and which ones are not being used? Don’t forget to check the expiry date.
Store. Remove all products from the packaging. Packages often look garish with texts and colors and make a messy impression. Store all products by category and store them vertically in boxes and baskets you like. Make sure that the baskets are not too full and easily accessible. Storing this way saves space, and it looks calming, pretty and tidy. Keep the bathroom surfaces such as the sink and the bath rim empty for easy cleaning. Keep in mind that makeup is a different type of product. Lotions, shampoo’s and creams are moist and watery, whereas makeup is dry and powdery. Store these products separately. Makeup can be stored in a makeup box or bag, and perfumes delight in open displays. A (scented) candle and essential oil will enhance the feeling of luxury and comfort in your bathroom.
photo by @simplyserene.ch
Tidying your kitchen is perhaps the most work. But a workable, clean and clear kitchen is inspiring and sparks a lot of joy. So, let's get started.
Collect. Remove all kitchen supplies and foods from your kitchen and pantry. You may feel overwhelmed, but if you immediately create subcategories it will give you a clear overview. The three main categories are eating implements, cooking tools and food. You can break them down into even smaller categories. If you don't have a lot of time, it might be better to get the things out per category.
Choose. Hold all your kitchen items one by one and ask yourself if you really use it, love it and how much of it you really need. Do you really need 15 mugs and knives in all sizes? We are constantly subjected to so-called handy kitchen appliances, and you may have been bought some of them. In reality they take up a lot of space and are not so practical at all.
Don't underestimate a simple and beautiful cutting board and good kitchen knife.
Store. Now that you've simplified your kitchen stuff, it's time to put it back in the cupboards. Use trays and baskets to store your belongings vertically and well visibly and stow per category as much as possible. Do not stock up, your home and kitchen are not a storage space. You can buy new products when you have almost finished the old. Keep your countertop empty, this is your workplace, and it is very handy when it is quick and easy to keep clean. You can put your cleaning supplies in a container under the sink, and yes also your sponge, washing-up brush and washing-up liquid. Take them out whenever you need them and store them again afterwards. A clean kitchen is important, but the kitchen must also invite you to cook. Display your cookbooks on a shelve and fill up a bowl with fruits and vegetables.
photo by @jenniferscholl.ceramics
Tidying Sentimental items.
The last category is sentimental possessions. This has been saved till last because during the tidying process you have increased your capacity and sensitivity to determine what makes you happy.
We all have belongings that remind us of moments in our life, beautiful moments and difficult or sad moments. Childhood memories, photos from travels, adventures and ex-lovers, an heirloom or gifts received. We are now going to make a choice about all these precious possessions. Remember that only you decide what you keep and what you let go.
Collect. Collect all your sentimental items and again you can divide everything into subcategories (photos, postcards, letters, drawings etc.) and make piles. You have probably set aside some items during the process that have sentimental value to you and that you have not been able to make a decision about until now. Your wedding dress, a book or a souvenir. Now is the time to make that decision.
Choose. The question is, what do you want to bring with you in your future? Making decisions about sentimental possessions can be challenging. I believe there are two important reasons for this: the feeling of guilt and the fear of loss of precious memories. It's good to realize that saying goodbye to stuff doesn't make you say goodbye to a person or momentum. These people and moments are in your heart. So ask your heart to help you choose joy. When it comes to photo albums or collections, I like to keep one or two items that represents a collection or period of time. You can also let go of gifts that don’t spark joy, gifts are expressions of love and kindness. It is the moment of exchange that counts.
With love and appreciation, reminisce and cherish your memories, then release with gratitude and respect. The KonMari Method™ emphasizes the importance of letting go respectfully, it gives closure to the relationship you had with that object. For a respectful send-off of sentimental items, like photos and letters, you can use a salt purification ritual. Place the photos or letters in an envelope, add some salt and express gratitude for what people and life experiences have taught you. This ritual is a beautifully humble and worthy way to let go.
Store. How much do we really honor and take care of our mementos when they are collecting dust, tucked away in drawers or stored, hidden and forgotten in cardboard boxes? Find a nice place in your home for your sentimental items, add some to your bookshelf or even in your closet. Create a gallery wall or a beautiful memory box for those items that cannot be displayed, take out this box once in a while and enjoy it.
photo by @jenniferscholl.ceramics
Checklists of all categories can be downloaded from my website www.simplyserene.ch.
Would you like some support in your tidying journey? Contact me for a free phone consultation.