That incredibly satisfied, almost elated feeling you get after a decluttering session in your home? You can replicate those exact emotions when you apply the same methods to your life, too.
Decluttering does wonders for the way you feel in the space you call home. With a little bit of tidying and organising, you can shake off negative emotions and begin to enjoy your surroundings a lot more. You know what they say: Clear home, clear mind.
Maintaining a comforting and organised home has perhaps never been more important as much of the world continues to move towards a more ongoing WFH arrangement. Studies have found reducing clutter and mess to improve productivity, plus a clean and tidy zone can reduce stress and even improve your eating and exercise habits.
“An organised home can help in so many ways. Less clutter is proven to reduce stress, improve sleep, helps us manage our time and even save us money,” Australia’s first Marie Kondo-trained method organiser and wellness coach, Sally Flower, tells The Latch.
“2020 has caused a lot of stress and sleepless nights, and many of us have taken a financial hit. Anything we can do to bring us back into balance is important, and keeping our homes organised can help us rebalance.”
Under legend Marie Kondo‘s training, Flower learned the ins and outs of the KonMari Method, which despite its sharp rise in popularity in 2018, is still regarded today as a successful and meaningful tool for organisation.
Letting go of sentimental items
A big part of the KonMari Method is parting ways with once-loved items by thanking them verbally. As Flower points out, this can be a particularly difficult task with sentimental items.
“It can be hard to know when to let go of a sentimental item. However, key signs are; if an item stops giving as much joy that used, it’s starting to annoy you on your home, feel like a burden or if you’re keeping it out of guilt or to pleasing someone else,” she says.
“Your home is your space, you should only be keeping things in there that bring you joy in this current stage of your life.”
Flower says thanking your possessions is a great way to let go of highly-emotive items. “It helps to close its lifecycle with you — it is like saying goodbye to an old friend,” she says.
“Some people choose to hold discarding ceremonies taking the time to shred, burn or cut up sentimental items — this it works really well for things like diaries and photos. Another good option is to place the sentimental item in a paper bag or box and then put it in the bin. This is much nicer than throwing away items you have loved into a dirty smelly bin — it is similar to a burial in many ways.”
Consider the new items you buy
Decluttering does not work if the items are to be instantly replaced by possessions you have not thought through. Applying the same critical thinking to those items you pass on, Flower suggests questioning whether any new purchase is really right for your home.
“Before accepting or buying items, ask yourself: ‘Is this item truly aligned with how I want my home to feel and function?’ It can be easy to fall into the trap of buying or accepting something because it is on sale or we see it as a quick fix to a problem, but often ‘more’ doesn’t help.
“More is often just more. Think, think and think again before buying. Lastly, if you want to take on a 2021 home organise, declutter before organising. Don’t start off rearranging the house until you have decided that everything you have you love and want to give real-estate to.”
Declutter your day-to-day life
Just as you’re trying to create space in your home, we must remember the importance of creating space in our lives, and in our minds, too. Organisation is key to achieving an orderly way of life, and it’s as simple as forming a few great habits.
“Writing lists, notes and reminders is a great way to clear the clutter in our heads. Writing is a perfect way to extend the declutter process from just physical items. For 2021, I am recommending people write a big 2020 list of everything they loved, everything they learned and anything they missed due to the pandemic.
“I personally love to keep track of everything in my Collins planner, and then from here, it is easy to take on a life-declutter, let go of activities that don’t bring joy, and add in more of that does.”
For Flower, this can even mean blocking out entire days from extracurricular commitments to use entirely for joy-inducing activities.
“Time in our weeks is the same as space in our home — it is precious, so don’t fill it with clutter. Use days off wisely and discard any activity that doesn’t bring joy. Planning our weeks with journals and diaries can really help us make the best use of our precious time.”
Love your stuff
You can still love the items you’ve collected over the years! The KonMari Method encourages keeping your treasured items, so if you love it, know you’ll find a place for it.
“It’s okay to love your stuff,” Flower says of her biggest learning from Kondo. “Before I met Marie Kondo I was embarrassed by how much I loved my items and how I saw many of my clothes and belongings like friends. I thought it was childish and tried to grow out of it.
“Now I see it is a real blessing, I recognise it as a way to respect the resources used to give me these items, and a reminder to be grateful to be able to own the items I do — we live in a wealthy country, I am grateful we are able to have access to so much.”