In my first two posts on the subject of keeping a home clean and organized I covered my cleaning schedule and how I aim to, at the very least, stick to certain daily habits every day so I don’t fall too far behind in the chore department.
But what if you’re following a cleaning schedule and find yourself struggling just to keep up with the basics? Forget about running the vacuum, you can’t even find enough time to sufficiently tidy up the place!
When I’ve found myself in that position it’s usually due to one of two problems (or both).
You Might Be Struggling to Keep Your House in Order Because of…
…too much stuff.
…insufficient organizational systems.
In my next posts on cleaning and organizing, I’ll be talking about these two roadblocks to a tidy space and how I’m personally working to keep them out of my way for good. We’ll tackle the first problem today: too much stuff.
Let’s Talk About Purging
Yep. It might be time to take a look at those closets and cupboards and do an overhaul on all the stuff you really don’t want or need. Last year I read Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Say what you will about some of Marie’s unconventional methods, she has some pretty good points about cleaning and organizing in that little guidebook of hers. I’m not sure that every single item in my house “sparks joy” like she suggests it should, but the basics of what she describes absolutely helped me to get rid of a TON of things I didn’t really need to be hanging on to and to declutter our home in a major way.
Kondo outlines how to tidy your space for good using categories for decluttering and organizing. You start with all your clothing and go to town bagging up anything you don’t automatically love. I had a LOT OF CLOTHES that I ended up donating and, at first, it was terrifying…but once they were gone it was so liberating that I couldn’t wait to do the rest of the house!
Once you finish purging your clothing you move on to other categories until you’ve gone through every last item you own. It takes a while but it is SO COMPLETELY WORTH IT. I would highly recommend following Kondo’s order for purging. Don’t waste any time getting rid of anything you don’t automatically find to be beautiful or useful.
Here is Kondo’s order for purging, as outlined in the book:
- CLOTHING: tops, bottoms, clothes that should be hung, socks, underwear, bags, accessories, clothes for specific events, shoes
- KOMONO (miscellaneous items): CDs/DVDs, skin care products, makeup, accessories, valuables, electrical equipment/appliances, household equipment, household supplies, kitchen goods/food supplies, other
- SENTIMENTAL ITEMS
Biggest Challenges to Purging
The hardest part of purging tends to be getting rid of sentimental items. That’s why Marie has put it last on her purging to-do list. For me, the added challenge has been in getting rid of:
- Items somebody has gifted me (or–gasp!–MADE FOR ME!)
- Items that I “might use someday”
Gifts: One of my biggest takeaways from Kondo’s book has been learning to appreciate the gesture when someone gives me something out of the goodness of their heart and then, as soon as that moment is over, assessing what to do with that gift. If I don’t love it, I leave it.
These are just material things, after all. You aren’t giving away the love and consideration that went into the giving of the gift, just the object itself. So why hang on to that sweater from Aunt Muriel that is a horrible color for you or the juicer your mother bought you for Christmas that you have NEVER used? I let go of the mindset that I should keep an item just because someone gave it to me, and I can tell you my home is happier and tidier because of it.
The “Someday” Stuff: Some of us are suckers for saving the bows and wrapping paper from gifts we’ve opened, or stacks of binders leftover from high school that we think we just might have a use for someday. Admittedly, this has been a problem for me as it can feel wasteful to throw out perfectly good ribbons or other small items that might come in handy at some point.
But, Marie Kondo says to throw that stuff out (okay, please recycle as much as you can, but you get my point). It’s taking up valuable space in your home and making it twice as difficult to maintain a tidy space.
How to Stop Asking, “Why Can’t I Keep My House in Order?”
When I changed my attitude about purging and focused on only keeping items that I truly find beautiful or simply necessary for survival (I don’t find my ugly silicon spatula particularly beautiful, but cooking eggs would be a whole lot more difficult without it), I really did change my life as the book suggests…at least when it comes to keeping my house relatively tidy.
I swear to you, if you do the same, you won’t regret it for a second. You’ll feel even more successful if you take it to the next level after purging and get organized, as we’ll be discussing in the next post in this series. Guaranteed you will stop asking, “Why can’t I keep my house in order?”
Okay! Go on then and get at it! I highly recommend picking up a copy of Kondo’s book to help you get started. You can get it here, or you could always show your local library some love and go check it out. You can’t beat free! And let me know if you want any help because I seriously enjoy getting rid of things. Like two minutes before finalizing this post I threw a couple vases and a candy dish into my Goodwill box. No, really. I couldn’t be more serious. Weird, right?
Let me know how it goes!
Ciao, for now, babe!