10 Small Changes To Tidy Up Inspired By Marie Kondo
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10 Small Steps Towards Feeling Better About Your Environment

I've been closely following the KonMari method and movement.

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10 Small Steps Towards Feeling Better About Your Environment

I have been obsessed with Marie Kondo's "Tidying Up with Marie Kondo." I watched the show and have also been trying to follow elements of the KonMari method. What I appreciate the most is the idea that she does not diminish the importance of the sentimental value we assign to inanimate objects.

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I recently saw a post expressively admonishing those who paint Marie in a way that makes her seem villainous and hell-bent on reducing people's belongings to nothing. I completely agreed with the post on the fact that Marie celebrates ownership of and attachment to objects. In fact, she highlights the importance of keeping what matters most to you, and really, getting rid of what doesn't bring that famous 'joy.'

I have been taking on the monstrous task of de-cluttering and redesigning my own room and workspace in the past few months. I felt stuck because of the sheer amount of things and stuff that I own. These objects aren't all of value. In fact, most aren't. And, they even reduce the overall value of the rest of the room because of the mess they create and space they take up.

I recently have been given my own classroom in a new school and I am equally excited to work on it, as well. The entire space is close to a blank canvas and I have students who are enthusiastic and want to make their own decorations.

Although all the tips below don't come from Marie, they are all the ideas that I have put together from both her advice and my experience that have helped me with "Tidying Up."

1. Does it spark 'joy'?

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Although this phrase has become more of a meme, I truly appreciate the sentiment behind it. The purpose of the mantra is to only have those belongings in our lives that add to the overall value of our environments. I see absolutely nothing wrong or exhausting about that.

2. Build one piece of furniture that you're proud of

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For me, this was a beautiful IKEA bookshelf that I put together one evening. I am a major book nerd and a collector of books. Not having a place that highlights and preserves my favorite belongings placed a damper on my mood, especially when looking around my room. Now, I have a focal point that when I look towards, I feel a strong sense of pride and love.

3. Start with your purse or pack

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If tackling a mess that looks something like the gif above, start with the small things. Regularly (if not nighty) emptying and re-packing purses, bags, and backpacks can help with a clean slate for the next day. By doing this, I am more likely to file my receipts from the day (preventing a crumpled up mess at the bottom) and tend to throw out all the wrappers and crumbs that accumulate.

4. Use post-it notes to create categories

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I am a big fan of the Post-It note and other variations of it. Spinning 360-degrees around my room and my desk-space at work, you will find a note somewhere on every major surface of furniture and wall. I also love the fact that I can easily remove notes and recycle them so that I can physically feel the effects of finishing a task.

5. Start with one corner of the home

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Even just your top desk drawer that contains all the horrors of five years of casual dumping efforts. This can seem the most intimidating, but at the end of the day, these drawers mostly have broken paper clips, hardened rubber bands, and random ideas scratched out onto paper that you can translate onto your phone. (Also, pro-tip: write out your creative ideas on paper if it's handy, but always remember to get it onto your phone later.)

6. Have a mini fashion show

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This is my favorite part of any room clean-up. I sometimes clean my closet and drawers as a relaxation method. But, then again, that might make me a bit weird. I even cleaned my best friends' and my roommates' closets (after asking, of course) and took a lot of joy in it. I get to try on my clothes and see what fits and what doesn't, and if my roommates and I did it together, then we'd have a little apartment fashion show. If you are interested in donating, I have a great pro-tip a few points below.

7. Collect storage containers as you find them

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This is definitely a KonMarie method tip that I have taken on for myself. I have decided to not buy any new storage or sorting containers until I have finished tidying up everything first. This might seem counter-intuitive, but really it ends up being super helpful and prevents over-buying.

8. Check out Instagram for ideas

I have a few Instagram accounts that I follow for interior decorating and storage ideas. The one of the best (in my humble opinion) is Bobby Berk's since he posts both about the places that he renovates and also his own home that he redecorates.

9. Donate, sell, and hand-down

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Throwing away should not be the first option. If something is in relatively nice condition, pop it online and try to sell it. I have only used Facebook to sell through the UCLA Free and For Sale group. However, I know that Facebook marketplace, eBay and Depop are also relatively well-known selling platforms.

If the item isn't sellable or you aren't interested, then I highly recommend donating. For clothes, you can donate to thrift stores or charity shops, donate in those large receptacles for Clothes and Shoes, or even donate back to a store. I usually donate to H&M as they both donate and recycle clothing at all levels of quality and newness.

Also, pro-tip: H&M gives out 10% coupons for every bag of clothing that you donate.

Recycling electronics, plastics, and paper can be done at private recycling plants or even your local recycling center.

10. Be honest with yourself

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This process of tidying will be inspiring, relieving, and a kind of awakening for your mind and soul. However, it will be equal parts frustrating, trying, and heartbreaking. Cut yourself some slack, but stay honest with yourself. You do not need that sweater that felt soft years ago and that has remained only as a ghost of comfort so many years later. You do not need every single photo from every single event that you attended in the last 15 years. Sometimes the memories along are enough and you do not need the physical object to weigh you down.

But, at the same time, keep all those things that being you that 'joy' that you always want to have around you.

I am still making progress on my own room and classroom, but these tips keep the process straightforward and simple. My biggest problem is getting stuck in the minor details while missing out on the bigger picture.

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But, I am sure that with close monitoring and comfort brought from watching Marie Kondo I will be sure to have a room I am even more proud of soon.

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