The Only 2 Tips You’ll Ever Need to Keep Your Home Tidy

chandelier

For those of us who hope to keep both our house and our sanity.

Every year I become more of a Cozy Minimalist. I want to have a homey, pretty house using the least amount of stuff to get the style I love.

cleared counter

Two quotes have guided me as I continue to work through my own home and really, they are the only two truths I need when it comes to trying to attack clutter…

 

 

 “There is more joy to be found in owning less than can ever be found in organizing more.”

–Joshua Becker, Clutterfree with Kids

My job isn’t so much of an organizer of clutter, but a curator of things we need and love and a getter-ridder of things that no longer serve us.

You don’t have to be a good organizer to have an organized home–it’s much better to be a good declutter-er.

How?….

  “Sort by category not by location.”

–Marie Kondo, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

I’ve been decluttering wrong my entire life. In the past, I’d time myself for 10 minutes and try to organize the junk drawer. The problem was, I couldn’t truly decide what to keep and what to get rid of because I was only looking at the contents in that one drawer.

If I would have instead focused on a category–pens for example, and gathered EVERY single pen and writing utensil in our home, then I would have the information I need to decide what I should keep, what to get rid of and how best to store it.

Eureka!

a tidy home

 

 

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Comments

  1. Just read the book before Christmas and while some of it seems a bit ‘off the wall’ I totally get it. I won’t be talking to my socks but I will be appreciating the service the items in my home have given me even if I’m saying goodbye to them. I too long for the cozy minimalism. I keep in mind the William Morris quote ‘have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.’

  2. Cindy in Oklahoma says:

    I expected the two things to do to keep your home tidy would be 1) Don’t get married and 2) Don’t have children.

    Seriously, good tips. You don’t use what you have if you don’t know you have it and if you do know you have it you save money by not having to buy it because you can’t find it. And if you can follow that sentence I have an award around here somewhere I’d like to send to you… if I could just find it.

  3. I think getting started is the hard part. I was complaining to my husband yesterday about the kids rooms getting dirty within hours or me cleaning and he so rationally said they need less stuff. It’ so obvious really just hard to get started.

  4. Baileywife @ Irishman acres says:

    “A curator of things…” I’m stealing that to use on my family! Love this post, lady! ~Kim

  5. I love this attitude and I’m trying to shift myself more towards it in my own home as well. I was just telling my husband this weekend that I want to get rid of most of the decorative “stuff” we have and start collecting only things we truly love – most of the stuff that’s out in my house is just there out of habit!

  6. My problem category? Toys. Or make that paper scraps. My enthusiastic “artists” are at war with the tidy part of my psyche. It’s neverending. Meanwhile, I can get a grip on the pens. Baby steps!

    • Have you tried taking pictures of their art and then putting them in a Shutterfly book (or other company)? My girls love it now when I take pictures of their things because they know they will have a record of it, but it’s SOO much easier to “keep” in this format.

  7. Yes!! Thank you! I am no good at organizing, but surely I can declutter.

  8. Love the second tip!

  9. Nester, I love the term you used—“getter ridder” — how funny. I read Marie’s book last Spring and found it encouraging in some ways and extreme in other ways (I don’t think I will empty my purse every evening). I’m anxious to try rolling my shirts, socks, etc. to see exactly how they will fit into drawers. I’ve always decluttered by location rather than category….but won’t knock it until I try it. Thanks for the post.

    • Whilst I haven’t done a lot yet I have found new ways to fold my clothes so they ‘stand’ in my drawers. I can now see everything without having to move or lift a thing, it’s fantastic. It does take longer to sort after the laundry but it I find a surprising calmness getting dressed in the morning. I’ve even started folding my socks and more and more of them are coming out of the laundry flat, ready to fold! Even my hubby commented on how easy it was to pack a bag for a couple of days away!

    • I thought the same thing about my purse although you have no idea how this helps. I travel frequently as in once every two weeks and so much easier to pack a bag. Hooked on this regimen. I don’t think I will ever be cluttered again. The folding is awesome I agree.

  10. Cindy from Oklahoma….good ideas!!! Good laugh!! I read Marie’s book and her companion book. She is quirky, but I love her ideas. I folded the underwear and socks in my husband’s dresser and Stood them up in rows like she said. Crazy idea, I thought!! Well, it works and everything is visible and it takes up less room rather than stacks. Who knew???

    The category thing is smart, too!

  11. Lisa Mothersead says:

    Keeping an organized, less stuff home has always been a strength of mine but downsizing (less square footage/more custom) really sealed the deal for me. There simply isn’t room and with pretty architectural details you don’t want stuff to be the focus, anyway. Also, love outdoor items for decor and lots of windows with lil’ if any window treatments. Love this post!

    • I am at this point right now with our house … we live in a 1920 Victorian and even though I do not like that style of decorating … I love all the character and architectural details in our home. We have so many windows and doorways in our home that there is very little wall space. We also just got done {almost} with a renovation, and I don’t think we need a lot of stuff to decorate because there is so much character already. I am loving this … less to declutter or organize and clean. I am on board with the cozy minimalist philosophy too!

  12. I too have the book but haven’t finished it yet. I’m terrified of folding clothes…I have a mental hurdle thinking of all the wrinkles if I do it wrong. I have been struggling for a year trying to clear the things in my home. Marie’s book completely opened my eyes and I must say it is the best book on “organizing” I have ever started reading and I’ve started reading so many.

  13. Love this book! A must read and I have kept up the organization life style since before Christmas. My daughter sixteen has also read and followed the ways couldn’t speak higher of an organizational book. Still waiting to attack my garage in the spring. I have never been so inspired to make things useful and love them rather than just possessions.

  14. I am feeling a decor swap party coming in my future. Only I am not keeping ANYTHING.

  15. Nester! Love this post! I struggle with the day to day items that you want to look organized and pretty but also usable….such as the pantry, kitchen, craft supplies. Also, the kids toys!!! Ay!!! What did you do with your kids’ toys so that they were pretty to look at, easy for them to get out and play with but also just as easy to put back up when they were finished? Help!

    • With each added child, I got better at paring down and storing the toys well. Toyboxes were too messy. We store our toys on bookshelves in clear bins or sitting neatly on shelves. The fact is, we still have too much; so now we’re making a list of the absolute favorites, getting rid of the least favorites, and having fewer toys out at a time. This is going to be tough because after all these years, we’ve curated a treasure trove of quality toys and games, and we have another toddler now. However, he is so overwhelmed by all the options that he doesn’t play with any of them long unless we take one set to another room. I can’t figure out where to store extra toys when we pare down, but having a smaller assortment out and saving some to rotate will be good. Just moving toys around on the shelves brings them into focus more. But the main thing I am learning is that there really are the favorites that children of many ages enjoy, and that can be played with for days and days. Lego, Playmobil, blocks, and plenty of games (or just a deck of cards and some dice!) and art supplies. Thanks for helping me think out loud! :>

  16. Nester, here’s a great quote that offers guidance.
    “Don’t own so much clutter that you will be relieved to see your house catch fire.”
    ― Wendell Berry, Farming: a hand book

  17. I am downsizing as we speak. I hate clutter and live in tiny house, so it magnifies clutter. Stop on by my Blog and Check out my new dressing room makeover from a spare bedroom.
    http://itsapinterestingworld.blogspot.com

  18. We definitely try to minimize clutter and the amount of things in our home – especially on our main level.

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