If you are anything like us, Mari Kondo was one of the first shows we binged watched on Netflix to start the New Year. Along with our usual resolutions, like finally giving up soda or keeping in touch better with friends, organizing and decluttering our home now figures on top of our aspirations more than ever. After all, what better way to start 2019 than with a bright and airy house where you treasure every item you see (ok, maybe not the phone bill)?
1. Declutter first, organize later
Although it might be tempting to buy all the cute boxes and organization tools you can put your hands on (who doesn’t like a bit of motivational retail therapy?), stay away from your favorite stores until you are done with the decluttering part of the process. You need to clear your mind on what to keep and what to let go first.
You don’t want to be tempted to keep unnecessary items just because you have a place to put them: chances are that they will find their way back to the clutter in no time or sit forgotten in their pretty flowery baskets forever. Besides, until you are done with decluttering, all these woven hampers will do nothing but to add up to the already present clutter.
2. Give everything a "home"
Once you have decluttered all that there was to declutter, now is time to put your organization skills at work.
Find a place for every item, and make sure that each member of your household, including your children, is aware of it too. Now is a good time to take out that labeler you have been saving for a special occasion, at least until you all know where everything belongs.
Get into the habit of doing a quick rundown at the end of the day to catch up any stray and bring them back to their home to start the next day on a good note. Establishing a routine will not be an overnight miracle but be persistent and maybe do a little nagging in the early days. It will soon become second nature.
Don’t hesitate to keep track of your progress, in your bullet journal if you have one or with a reward chart for the younger crowd for example.
3. Don't Procrastinate
Procrastination is an open door to clutter: it is so easy to push back until later tasks that are not the most enticing, like sorting the mail or getting rid of unworn items in your closet. Don’t put back until later the chores that you should be doing now.
Get rid of these spots where things tend to accumulate like your catch-all drawer or that all-to-convenient box in your entryway.
If you go through purging your closet of items that you will never fit in again, drive them straight to the donation center. Create a filing system where you keep your papers organized and get to town as soon as you get your hands on the mail. As hard as it is, try to always finish a task before letting yourself get distracted.
4. Choose Furniture that Makes a Statement
You are a lot less likely to let your house get overrun if you choose statement pieces that you value. From a stylistic point of view, having a few focal points like an art piece or an eye-catching piece of furniture can make a house appear bigger. The lack of clutter will help too!
Bookshelves like this Marmo Display Shelf will not display some of your treasured belongings, but can also help define and divide a room without weighing down the space.
5. Edit Yourself
Purging is only the first step: clutter tends to make its way back into your home whenever given the chance. Don’t make the mistake of filling back all that empty space with more “stuff” as soon as you are done.
Keep a running list of the things you think you want but may not need immediately and sleep on it to see if it sticks. Keep a policy of “one in, one out” when comes time to replace an item that has seen better days.
Finally, keep in mind that decluttering is a life long process. Chances are that, once you have gone through your belongings a first time and lived with it for a while, you will realize that there is still more you can declutter. And it’s okay!