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What if tidying up doesn’t really spark joy?

By now, many of us have heard someone in our circle of friends talking about Marie Kondo and her KonMari Method™ of cleaning and organizing a home allowing people to live a life that “sparks joy”. The method is undoubtedly a successful one that has worked wonders for many people who swear by Kondo’s home organization system. A Netflix show launched last year to great online fanfare and the show seems to have enjoyed a bump in viewership since the outset of social distancing due to COVID-19.

It’s important to note that the KonMari Method™ goes beyond simply tidying the house; it’s a top-down approach to home organization that ultimately seeks to change the habits that cause one’s home to accumulate clutter in the first place. While it is certainly effective, for some among us, the laborious process of evaluating the joy-sparking capacity of every item in the home may seem like a little much. If this describes you, read on for ideas about how you can get a handle on tidying up. You may not achieve “life-changing magic” but there is a sense of satisfaction in organizing small messes.

View decluttering as an ongoing process

One of the hallmarks of the KonMari Method™ is to avoid storing unneeded items; a practical idea in a more temperate climate but, in virtually every part of Canada we all have seasonal items. Rather than taking the view that decluttering is a “one and done” event, consider looking at it as an ongoing process. Find a storage solution that makes sense for off-season items and then take care to store only what was actually used the last time it was seasonally appropriate to do so. This might make more sense in a place with our seasonal variability.

Focus on leaving things on the shelf

Shedding unwanted and unneeded items is certainly a worthy goal. However, for long-term success at maintaining a tidy home, not to mention possibly protecting your long-term financial health, the true act of decluttering starts with not bringing excess stuff into the house in the first place. The average American household contains about 300,000 items, nearly three times more than 50 years ago. While we don’t have the same data for Canadian households, it’s a safe bet that our numbers are similar.

Consider this: the average Canadian family spends 7.5% of their monthly income on clothing and discretionary purchases, like entertainment, gaming, and hobbies. If you can reduce the number of purchases on discretionary items, you’ll skip the step of trying to find somewhere to put them before ultimately disposing of the items when the phase passes; and you might just save a lot of money too!

Don’t forget to spend time tidying up outside

As the warmer weather approaches, we’ll be spending a lot more time outside, especially while physical distancing measures are still in place in many parts of the country. Having a clean and uncluttered indoor space for living and working is certainly important, but so is having somewhere outdoors to retreat to when the day is done. Please visit our recent post on home improvement measures that you can still do while maintaining a safe physical distance for ideas to make your outdoor space a place where you can look forward to spending time.

Donating unwanted items during physical distancing

If, in the process of cleaning up, you have uncovered a large number of unwanted items, you may have to find somewhere to (neatly!) store them for a little while longer. A number of charities that offer donation bins have reported that they are overwhelmed by the generosity of homeowners tidying up at home. They have asked the public to pause on dropping off items until sorting centres are able to re-open and manage the volume of donations.

Marie Kondo’s method might not be for everyone, but a clean house, while we’re all spending our time safe at home, is certainly something to value. Follow @hometrustco on social media for more tips and tricks to stay safe and comfortable at home.


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