My husband said to me one night, ‘there’s this woman on Netflix and she’s made a show about tidying up’, which he thought was slightly ridiculous to be honest. He was of course talking about Marie Kondo and the program ‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo’. He went upstairs to play computer games and I decided to watch one of the episodes to see what she had to say about tidying and decluttering the home.
I will be the first to admit that we are constantly battling to keep our house tidy. We have two young children who like to take all their toys out but aren’t so keen to put them away again. We live in quite a small house so storage is in pretty short supply. I often get overwhelmed when it comes to tidying up the house because I know it won’t take long before it’s messy again.
Having a messy house makes me snappy sometimes as I don’t really know where to start with making it better. My husband will say, you just need to throw things away or send them to charity. That is certainly true to a point, but I also felt there was more to it than that. I’ve wanted a system that helps us declutter our home and helps us to keep it tidy.
Watching Marie Kondo share her thoughts on tidying up has really helped me and I wanted to share with you what I learned from watching this show on Netflix. After watching a few episodes it became clear to me that it doesn’t matter how big or small your home is, whether you have small children or they have all left home, you really can declutter your home and reduce your stress levels by following some of Marie’s tips.
The first step thing I took from the show was that it can be helpful to visualise how you want your lifestyle to be and how you want to live in your home. Understanding how you live and what you want to move towards is going to be so helpful in knowing what you need to do next.
7 Reasons you Live in a Messy House
1. You Have Too Much Stuff
I know this sounds super obvious but here me out! I have completely realised that we had far too much stuff in our house. We had too many clothes, too many toys and far too many gadgets. We couldn’t possibly store things properly as we practically didn’t have the space to organise them.
I would always end up with a pile of clean laundry on the floor as there was no room to fit it in the drawers. We don’t have the space to put in extra storage but we can downsize the amount of stuff we have to make decluttering achievable.
2. You Keep Things for the Wrong Reasons
If you have watched Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix or read her book about the KonMari method, you will have already have heard about the concept of ‘sparking joy’. She asks all her clients to think about whether the things they have spark joy for them. This idea or concept doesn’t necessarily inspire me, but it did help me to look at why I was keeping things that were causing clutter in our house.
I realised that despite many clearcuts over the years I wasn’t actually getting anywhere with decluttering our home, but since watching ‘Tidying Up’ I’ve been able to say goodbye to bags full of clothes, toys and other items that make our house messy.
It dawned on me that I was keeping things because I might wear them or use them one day. I also kept things because they were just to good to throw away or put in the charity bag. Using this way of thinking to try and tidy our home wasn’t helping us to move forward at all.
How To Declutter Your Home
Before I started the tidying up process again I completely changed my way of thinking and it’s really helped us to reduce the amount of stuff we have in our house. In the show the homeowners start by putting all the clothes they own on the bed. When it comes to decluttering any part of the house, you need to empty all the wardrobes, drawers and cupboards and really see what you have.
I’ve found by doing this it really has helped me to understand the stuff we actually need in our lives. Clothes is a great place to start to and I think an area where you can make a huge impact. If I had of used my old way of thinking I probably would not have thrown so much away.
Instead I tried thinking about whether I loved it (it sparked joy for me) or whether it was something I used a lot. I stopped thinking about whether it was too good to send to charity, if it still had the price tags on or whether I would fit in it one day!
Once I made that shift to thinking more practically about our day to day lifestyle I was able to fill about 4 charity bags full of items we were never likely to use. It feels so good to let this baggage go as well, the house feels lighter somehow and tidying up feels easier already.
3. You Fold Clothes the Wrong Way
The way Marie Kondo folds clothes is literally going to change me life! I know that sounds dramatic but messy drawers are something I battle with daily. I have spent hours neatly folding laundry and putting it in the drawers for them to become messy again within no time.
The problem is you can’t see what you have and you have to rummage in them to find what you are looking for. Once that happens they are a mess and messy clothes actually take up a lot of room! It turns out the best way to fold clothes is into little rectangles so that you can stand them up in the draw. You can fit so much more in by doing this and you can see everything you have.
My husband was like, ‘but how long are you going to do that for’, and I told him to be honest I have to fold clothes anyway, so changing to this method isn’t actually a big deal and it’s made a huge difference already. The worst start to the day is going to the drawers and not being able to find something, especially when there is a family of 4 to organise in the morning. It’s little changes like this that are actually going to make a huge difference to our day to day lives.
4. Similar Items Aren’t Grouped Together
I have realised over the last couple of weeks of decluttering our home, one of the biggest problems is that similar items aren’t grouped together properly and that this was really contributing to our untidy house.
For example, gadgets and leads are a big problem. I could go looking for a cable or a pair of headphones and it could literally be anywhere.
I have found Christmas decorations in several drawers and cupboards, instead of in the designated Christmas decoration box. The same was true with Halloween decorations and birthday party supplies. I’ve also spent a lot of time grouping the kids toys together so that all the Lego and craft supplies can live together for example. Harry print was an excellent service for boxes and I’ve labelled them to help us stay organised.
5. Things Don’t Have a Specific Home
Following on from number 4, It’s been all to easy to just throw something in a box or drawer without really thinking about whether it should actually live there. If things keep going in the wrong place, it means less room for the items that actually should live there.
Everything you own needs to have a designated place for it to be. It also helps if everyone knows where that specific place is to help with keeping the house tidy. I now have a box for my leads, battery packs and anything else that fits into this category and I’m much more inclined to put them away when I’ve finished with them.
I also know exactly where to find them when I need them again. The kids know which toys belong where and they don’t have to pull out a load of stuff to find what they are looking for. Grouping things together then giving them a specific home will really help with decluttering your home.
6. Things aren’t Stored in a Way That You Can See What You Have
This is a big lesson that I took from Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. She wants you to store all your items in a way that you can see them, not just clothes, and it makes perfect sense. I have used the idea in the bathroom, the kitchen and all over the home really.
If you don’t store things in a away that you can see what you have you may continue to add items to your home you don’t need, you might struggle to find things and you won’t reach the holy grail of feeling that your home is organised.
Where possible store things on their side and stack them sideways so you can easily see what’s in drawers and boxes. Use boxes to stand things up in so you can see from the top what you have. This is really helpful for toiletries and make up for example. You can also use boxes to create compartments in drawers to separate items when you need too.
7. You Haven’t Organised Your Home in a way that Compliments Your Lifestyle
Having watched the entire series of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, the biggest takeaway for me is that the main reason our house was messy was because we had not organised it in a way that complimented our family life.
All of the steps she follows in the show, and that I have talked about above, are designed to make your home easy to live in for you and your family. It means reducing the amount of stuff that you own and really appreciating the things that you have so you don’t add to it needlessly going forward.
To achieve this you really do need to take out everything you own, in stages of course, and think about whether you can see it featuring in your future. I have picked areas of the home, emptied the draws and cupboards and looked at everything with a fresh pair of eyes. If I can see it enhancing our lifestyle in the future I keep it, and if I honestly can’t see that happening it was finally time to say goodbye.
If your house isn’t tidy and organised I would recommend watching the show. I could really relate to some of the families and how they were feeling about being overwhelmed by housework and the struggle to get things done while there’s young children in the house.
Since watching the show I’ve made it a goal of ours to live in a tidy and clutter free house in 2019. We aren’t complete with the journey yet as it does take time to go through everything, but I’m really happy with the results we have experienced so far.
Have you watched Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix?
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