There's been a lot of buzz online, especially in the organizing communities about the “KonMari” method of decluttering. If you aren't familiar with Marie Kondo's book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying“, the author focuses on living a more minimalist lifestyle by tackling a total home makeover all at once. She firmly believes that if you tidy (declutter) your entire home, in the correct order, just once- you'll never have clutter again. I read (most of) her book, and while I appreciate some of her techniques and ideas- I find many of them to be unrealistic for a busy Mom raising her family and living a busy life!
Personally- I think that breaking tasks down into smaller more manageable pieces allows us to actually make progress, celebrate a small success, and that leads to further progress. I think it is far more realistic to find and dedicate just 20 minutes a day to a project and over the course of a few days, and actually complete a decluttering project. Let me show you my example on how to declutter your home in just 20 minutes per day!
A week or so ago I showed you one of my fall organizing challenges- our bathroom storage had gotten out of control. Now in fairness, it has been one tough summer for me, and one that caused me to acquire lots of medicines to deal with side effects I was experiencing from chemo and radiation. I would try a medication, usually decide it wasn't working for me- and then would just stuff it into one of these storage boxes because I didn't want to just throw it away.
On top of that, these boxes were already fairly full with cosmetics and lotions that I had picked up at conferences I attended. I wasn't using any of these things, but they seemed “too good” to just throw away.
But as a dedicated declutterer- I know that if you aren't using it…. there is no reason to keep it!
Step 1: Set a Reasonable Goal
In just 20 minutes, I knew I wouldn't be able to clean out the entire shelving unit. So I set my sights on tackling just two shelves- one at a time.
Step 2: Empty a Small Area Completely
Since we are tackling just a portion of the unit, it wouldn't make sense to take everything off of all of the shelves- that would leave me with too large of a mess on the floor. So I emptied one shelf. I wiped that empty shelf with a clean cloth, and then I set to work sorting through what had once resided there.
Step 3: Sort Your Stuff- Decide What to Keep, Relocate, Recycle, Trash
Once everything was off of the shelf, I picked up each item individually and decided what to do with it. If it was a “keeper' because it was something I truly needed, used, or loved, then I set it aside (but I didn't start organizing it yet). For items that I didn't need, want or love- it was time to get rid of them- either by recycling them or tossing them into the trash.
Once everything was sorted, it was time to re-organize. I had created labels for most of my containers back when I first set up this storage unit in our bathroom, so it was pretty easy for me to put things away into their proper place. But there were still a fair amount of items that needed to be relocated to their correct homes, so those things just hung out on the floor (sometimes for a day or two) until I got to the shelf where they belonged.
Step 4: Put Things Away in Their Proper Place and Move On
In just 10 minutes, I had the top shelf looking so nice and neat- and I love knowing that I will be able to find what I need so easily again! I took 10 more more minutes to do the 2nd shelf…
And over the course of the next two days, I tackled two shelves at a time until the entire storage unit was decluttered and organized.
So much better!
So what do you think? Can you find just 20 minutes a day to tackle one area of your home? A closet, a bookshelf, a chest of drawers, or a kitchen cabinet and get it into a decluttered and organized state? Tell me what one area you can commit to tackling this week!