Cleaning Once A Year IS Possible….Right?

Day 9:

I’ve made it back home to Syracuse ready to hit the ground running with Day 9. We’ve made it past the first 8 days and now it is time to arm ourselves to attack our sanctuaries (otherwise known as our homes).  A few months ago I had the honor of running into one of my favorite stores in the world, Barnes and Noble. On the very first table as soon as I passed the double doors I ran across this book: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of De-cluttering and Organizing authored by Marie Kondo.

the-life-changing-magic-of-tidying-upIt was a New York Times Best Seller AND it was on sale. As I picked up the book I imagined my home neat and tidy at all times. I immediately grabbed the book and purchased it excited for what was to come.  Fast forward to two years later and much like a lot of other things in my life, I have started reading the book but did not finish it.  After realizing it’s time to plunge in to self love I had to realize that it is not just about focusing on my mental space it is also about my physical space. According to Kondo, “When a room becomes cluttered it’s more than physical. The physical mess distracts us from the source of the disorder.” In other words, a messy house signifies a much bigger problem. While at this time many of us are unable to identify the bigger issue that we might be unintentionally facing, we can begin to chip away at the surface.

Kondo indicates that when it comes to tidying up there are three types of people:

  • 1. Can’t throw it away
  • 2. Can’t put it back
  • 3. Combination of #1 and #2

I am a number three, what about you? Depending on what an item is I will tell myself well I might can use it later. Because of this I still have my 8th grade notebook….  at my parent’s home. I also have a tendency of not being able to put things back. Currently I am typing this the clothes that I folded are still on the couch, my overnight bag that I just took to Albany is on the chair, and my shoes are in the exact position that I walked out of last night. So how do we combat this? Kondo recommends two things. She says if we do these two things we will only have to tidy up once a year. No that was not a typo. Can you imagine a world where you only clean up your home once a year? I can’t believe this is even possible but we are going to give it a go.

So what are the two things we must do. Before we get to the two things she first tells us to get out of our mind the normal way of doing ways. If you want to get different results you must do something different. She said cleaning up a certain area at a time does not lead to long lasting results because often times you have the same items in different rooms. I know for me I have clothes everywhere. So if I clean up by room more than likely I will never know what I really have leading the possibility of having more than one of the same item. It becomes less of tidying and more of organizing. When organizing like this at some point we will run out of room because we are always adding and never taking away. Because of this, she recommends organizing all of one category at one time. After we break up the thought of “this is how we always clean the house”,  the last thing we must do is determine our why. Why do we want a clean home? Is it so that when we come home you are coming home to order rather than disorder? Is it so that when we come home you can focused on building your own dreams after working a 9-5 building someone else’s? Is it so that we can find an item that you need? Whatever our why is we must identify and hold it near. We’ll need it as we complete our two step process.

Kondo’s two step process of clean requires:

  • Step # 1 :Discard items
  • Step #2: Decide where the remaining items are to go

In order to complete Step #1 Kondo asks that you gather one category at a time (for example: gather all of your shoes on one day ) and place them in the middle of your floor. Once you gather all of the items ask yourself the question: Does this item bring me joy? Do I love this item? Does this item make me happy? Kondo is huge on cultivating an environment full of the things you love. Ultimately this motivates you in other areas of your life and inspires you to be better. Once this step of gathering everything is completed you then have to sort through each item and place them in one of three containers labeled: keep, trash, and recycle/donations. After you complete Step #1 you have then graduated to Step #2. When attempting this process Kondo warns against changing  the order of this process because it will not end well and you will find yourself going through this process again and again.

marie-kondo2Kondo recommends the following order to categories items for step 1:

  • -Clothes ( To help she recommends breaking down this category in smaller steps: tops, shirts, sweaters, pants, jeans, skirts, dresses, socks, undergarments,  bags and shoes, etc.)
  • -Books
  • -Papers
  • -Miscellaneous Items (kitchen items, etc.)
  • -Keepsakes

I am excited to begin this journey to once a year cleaning! Aren’t you? Let’s do this! Here’s a guide in case you need a little more help.
Affirmations: Once we surround ourselves with the things we love we will be full of the love we see. Click To Tweet

Challenge: Take 5 minutes and meditate. Clear your mind. Grab your journal and set your timer to 15 minutes.Write what comes to mind with no filter.

Take into account your schedule for the next two weeks and the amount of items in your home. We have 21 days left in our journey together and our goal is to have our home completely tidied by Day 30. Start with the category of your choice and schedule yourself to gather and sort (keep, trash, donate) this category all in one day. For the Seller’s household the clothesline category might take 3 days because of work schedules and various activities. Schedule all 5 categories so that in two weeks this will be a distant memory.

I would love to hear how you’ve attacked tidying in the past? Plan to do anything else differently this time? What do you look forward to in your new tidy home full of thing items that bring you joy?


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Cleaning Once A Year IS Possible….Right?