Monday, February 1, 2016

Organize Your Office, Home, and Life!

I'm messy. Unorganized. The Queen of Clutter and shit pile-ups. In college, my roommate gave tours of the jungle that made up my half of our domain. Needless to say, we never bonded or kept in touch. 

Check out my system of office organization from last year:

Yeah, it's a wonder my tidy French husband has stuck with me for 16 years. Must be my vegan cooking. ;)

I hate cleaning. Hate it! But...

I LOVE a clean home and tidy spaces. Last year I decided it was time to replace the Costco metal shelving unit and plastic table for a more ascetically pleasing look:

From there, I've been delving in deeper to how to keep my spaces tidy because somehow crap ends up covering every counter space around me.

Luckily, I came across the life-changing magic of tidying up by NY Times Bestselling author Marie Kondo, which is the best book on tidying EVER!

The KonMari Method is not about decluttering your house or making it look neat on the spur of the moment for visitors. Rather, it's about tidying up in a way that will spark joy in your life and change it forever.

There are six basic rules to tidying:

1. Commit yourself to tidying up
2. Imagine your ideal lifestyle
3. Finish discarding first
4. Tidy by category, not by location
5. Follow the right order
6. Ask yourself if it sparks joy

If you start your big tidy by pulling out the photo albums and boxes of memorabilia, you’re not going to get very far. That’s why the KonMari Method starts with items that are easier to make decisions about.

Start with CLOTHES. Recommend dividing this into subcategories (tops, bottoms, undergarments, socks, shoes, bags).
It seemed fun at the time. ;-)

Gather everything up (remembering we are cleaning by category, not room – so if you have tops in the dresser in the bedroom, in the closet in a spare room, and boxed up in the garage, grab those as well) and place it all in one heap on your bed. This allows you to see exactly how much you have. It’s very important to get an accurate grasp of the sheer volume of each category.

Now, let the tidying festival begin. Take every article in your hand, one-by-one, and ask yourself, “Does this spark joy?”

This is all you need to ask yourself. Do you want to see it again? If the answer is, “Well, not necessarily…” Thank it for all it’s done, then put it in the donate pile.

The other benefit of laying everything out is that you can see if you have similar items and keep the one you love best.

*Remember rule#3 -finish discarding first. Do not put anything away until you have gone through everything you’ve piled on the floor or on your bed. This is the key to success.

BOOKS Once you have finished sorting and storing your clothes, it’s time to move onto books. As with the clothes, you’re going to gather up all your books and pile them on the floor. (Do not skip this step.) If ask yourself “Does it spark joy?” looking at the spines on the shelf, it won’t mean much. To truly decide whether you want to keep or dispose of something, you have to handle each title. The criterion to keep it, of course, being whether or not it gives you a thrill of pleasure when you touch it.

The most common reason for not discarding a book is “I might read it again.” Take a moment to count the number of favorite books you have actually read more than once. Unless you’re a scholar or author ... or avid reader (YES!), there are very few books you’ll read again. You read books for the experience of reading. Books you have read already been experienced and their content is inside you, even if you don’t remember everything.

What about books you have not yet read? Unread books accumulate. The problem with books we intend to read is that they are sometimes harder to part with than ones we’ve already read.

If you missed a chance to read a particular book, even if it was recommended to you or is one you have intending to read for ages, this is your chance to let it go. This also goes for books you only got halfway through with the intention of finishing one day. It will be far better to read books that really grab you right now than ones that you left to gather dust for years.

PAPERS – The KonMari Method recommends disposing of anything that does not fall into one of three categories: 

1) currently in use, 
2) needed for a limited period of time, or 
3) must be saved

The best policy is to discard papers. Are you really going to reread all those lecture notes and handouts you’ve been holding onto? Or that warranty on your electrical appliance? The great thing about the internet is you can look up just about anything without having to shuffle through papers.

Komono (miscellaneous items) CDs, DVDs, Makeup, Accessories, Valuables (passports, ccs), Electrical Appliances, Household Equipment (writing materials, sewing kits, etc.), Household Supplies, Kitchen Goods, Food Supplies, Other (spare change, figurines)

This is a huge category that I’m going to mention briefly. Too many people live surrounded by things they don’t need “just because.” Take stock of your komono and save only those that bring you joy.

The same principle should be applied to the final category: Sentimental Items

Me & Mom in Vancouver B.C. last year. No souvenirs needed. :)

Truly precious memories will never vanish even if you discard the objects associated with them.

No matter how wonderful things used to be, we cannot live in the past. The joy and excitement we feel here and now are more important. So, once again, the way to decide what to keep is to pick up each item and ask yourself, “Does this spark joy?”

It is extremely encouraging to realize how little we really need to live a fulfilling life. By putting our house in order, we clear the path to a life filled with joy and purpose.


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