Organizational Tips from Marie Kondo

Does it spark joy for you? This short phrase, the mantra of organizational master Marie Kondo, went viral when Marie’s show “Tidying Up” made its debut on Netflix.

Marie’s mission, she shares, is to help spark joy in people’s lives by teaching them how to declutter and organize in a way that frees people both spaciously and emotionally.

If your bookshelves, closets, or cabinets could use a little decluttering, check out some of Marie’s best tips for tidying up:

Throw out/give away things BEFORE buying storage containers.
Many people mistakenly start their tidying goal with a big storage container purchase, falsely thinking that having a storage container will magically declutter their closet that is bursting at the seams.

In her book, she writes, “Putting things away creates the illusion that the clutter problem has been solved,” but you know how this goes. Putting clutter into cute organizational cubes is a solution that only works so long. Soon, the clutter overflows out of those nice containers, and you’re back at square one.

Declutter first. Assess what you have, and only then, buy storage containers for the essentials that survived the purge.

Tidy by category, NOT by room.
We’ve all been here. You feel a surge of motivation to declutter, and you rip through an entire room like a hurricane, emptying bookshelves and closets and cupboards with the intention to eliminate waste and reshelf with beautiful simplicity. Inevitably, however, something distracts you or calls you away from your endeavor. Now, where you had organized clutter, you have a disaster zone that could be potentially left untouched for weeks.

Rather than falling into the room trap, start with just one of the five main categories: clothes, books, papers/documents, komono (miscellaneous items), and sentimental items.

Store everything upright.
Marie’s expertise with folding is nothing short of miraculous. Once you’ve mastered the Marie-fold, you will quickly see the benefit of storing everything upright.

When you can see everything you have, you’ll be reminded of what you don’t need. “Out of sight, out of mind” is a dangerous tendency when it comes to clutter. If you can see that you already have four t-shirts in aqua blue, you are more likely to pass up on a fifth shirt of the exact same color when it comes along. Knowing what you have empowers you to say “no” to what you don’t need.

Whittle down piles of paperwork.
For homeschool parents especially, we know this one is tricky. How do you throw away your kindergartener’s sketch of your family and how could you possibly choose which of your 4th grader’s candid essays to recycle?

The good news is that we live in a digital age, so you can easily make scans or take pictures of as many keepsakes or assignments for records as your heart desires. Your task is to consolidate them and, when possible, digitize them.

If you need help limiting the homeschooling paperwork, our Monarch online curriculum is revolutionizing homeschool organization with its effortless digital reports and automated computer grading.

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