Wednesday, January 18, 2017

New Year Organizing


I've already got organizing and decluttering on my mind in preparation for our next move. While we love our little house and the price is right, the neighborhood is a bit fringy and the school for our particular address is not the greatest. So, with Coco starting kindergarten next fall, it seems that a move is in order this upcoming summer.

Moving is the absolute worst. Every single time we move, I think to myself, "We actually don't have that much stuff. We've done such a good job of keeping our clutter down." And every single time, I am completely wrong. You know that phase in the move when you feel like you've packed just about everything and yet the house still feels as full as it did when you started? I would like to avoid that. So I've been reviewing my favorite organization and decluttering books beginning now. Over the next six months, I plan to purge and prep big time and make our lives more minimalist. Hopefully, it will make the move easier.

Organizing for your Lifestyle by Jane Stoller

This book, written by an expat living in Zurich, is perfect for the business traveler. Her approach is maximalist, but with pristine organization and no clutter. Think of a kitchen with all the best appliances and gadgets, but with none of them crowding up the counters. Everything in its (labeled) place is Stoller's approach. It makes packing for trips (and unpacking on the return) an absolute breeze. She has found ways to streamline and maximize efficiency in all tasks, from laundry to bathroom storage to getting dressed every day. Perfect for the meticulous organizer or novice organizer alike. Stoller has basically created a room-by-room guide to total organization.

Time Management from the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern

I first read this book over ten years ago. It focuses a lot on schedules, but really is all about life organization. The follow-up book, Organizing from the Inside Out focuses more on physical objects, but I find that the time management piece can be a game changer over all. Morgenstern starts the book with a little anecdote. The sun comes out and she thinks it would be wonderful to go for a walk with her baby. By the time she finds and gathers everything she needs - or thinks she could possibly need - the baby has fallen asleep on the floor and it's raining again. Her point: if you're organized, you won't miss out on moments like these. She carries the reader through a series of questionnaires and visualization exercises to determine the type of life they want to create and organize for themselves. Super awesome for the planning and strategy phase of your clear out.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

This book has been the gold standard of decluttering books for the past few years, largely because Kondo's approach is so different and whimsical. Rather than focusing on practicality, Kondo is concerned mainly with joy. Does an item give you joy? If so, keep it, and if not, toss it. Toss, of course, can mean recycle or donate etc, but her maxim is that you do not ever keep something because it's valuable or might be useful or you might need it someday. You only keep things you love. This book is great for people who have a hard time letting go of things. Her follow up book, Spark Joy, is a beautifully illustrated guide with step-by-step tips on implementing her organization strategies once you've cleared out.

Because I love the look and feel of a minimalist, tidy, clean and clutter-free home, I really want to pare down our belongings yet again. It makes such a huge difference in my mood and stress levels to have things orderly and neat. But, it's easier said than done, especially with children around. Being calm and present with one's children is all the more reason to do it. And the thought of a less painful move is really getting me motivated! ;)

How do you keep clutter to a minimum? Do you clear out every month? Once a year? Consistently throughout each week? Please share your tips in the comments below!

6 comments:

  1. I hate clutter and well owning much of anything. It kind of contradicts my tidy yet collecting husband. I just never can keep my kitchen island clutter free and its probably because nothing has a home or I am not disciplined enough to return it there. Also I don't want to take the time to buy enough furniture which apparently helps.

    At least once a month I just want to do an extended arm sweep of everything into the trash cans. LOL. I keep things clean (bathrooms, kitchen, laundry, etc.) but not tidy. Does that make sense?

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    1. There's nothing that makes me happier than saying " Lets get rid of this" HA.

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    2. I agree! Getting rid of things is awesome. Sometimes we'll have some dumb half-broken toy lying around that was a party favor or similar freebie from a restaurant or something. Then I'll pick it up and just throw it in the trash and it's gone and I'm like, yeah! That felt so good. Because of that, I absolutely loathe to give out that crap at Coco's parties. But, finally this last year, after two party favor-free parties in the US, I caved and gave out a bunch of crap, which later the parents had to throw away when their kids weren't looking. Sigh. So much waste in having too much stuff, too. ;)

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  2. Love this. We do a lazy ongoing declutter by having a cloth market bag near the front door that we put things in as kids outgrow them or we notice we don't need them. It skims off the top of the clutter easily but doesnt address all those hidden in a drawer things that tend to multiply. I have been dreaming of doing an intense KonMari because I too find myself so much calmer when our space isn't a disaster (rare these days). In the summer I really noticed what a happier more playful Mom I was when we played outside so much. Though I am a homebody at heart, right now being home just means a million undone potential chores staring me in the face (clear the table, sweep the floor, pick up the toys, deal with the paperwork, and laundry, always laundry). I can find it hard to happily sit down and play (or do art and make even more mess) and that is definitely not how I want to be. So I definitely WANT to declutter but I have not figured out when to fit it in effectively given I tend to be totally exhausted by the time the kids are asleep. I'd love to hear what your approach is!

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    1. Allison! It feels like you are reading my mind. I especially loved the line: "I too find myself so much calmer when our space isn't a disaster" Not messy, but a disaster! TOO TRUE. ;) J and I were actually talking this morning about how to carve out time for the deep clearing out and decluttering. We have a box up in the kids' closet that is for too small/out of season clothes. Once it's full, it goes to our storage unit. Now I have many boxes to go through and decide what to keep, donate and sell. YIKES! Not the best system, but at least it's immediately out of our way? I will let you know what I come up with. Definitely the biggest challenge by far is finding the time and space to do the clearing out. And yes, yes, yes to not being able to relax at home despite being a homebody. I am the exact same. In fact, I'm working from a coffee shop today because I know at home, I'll just wind up cleaning and doing laundry and not get my post finished. Thanks for the comment. Loved it. xx

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