10 Small Changes To Tidy Up Inspired By Marie Kondo

10 Small Steps Towards Feeling Better About Your Environment

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

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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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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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No, David, We Should Not All Be Progressives

The Founding Fathers may have been progressive FOR THEIR TIME, but the progressives of today are not the same

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I was scrolling through Facebook when a David Pakman video showed up on my timeline. The video's title was "The Founding Fathers were Progressive, and You Should Be Too" and let me just say this: It actually wasn't a bad video.

But you just said we shouldn't all be progressives. Why are you contradicting yourself?

The reality is that while the video itself is informative (although I do wish the sources were linked in the description instead of just shilling his social media, I digress) there are some serious problems.

The biggest problem with this argument (among others) is that Pakman is relying on what Progressivism would have meant during the 18th century. Keep in mind, many of the big European powers were, at the very least, constitutional monarchies. To be a conservative in colonial America would have meant staying under the oppressive tyranny of the British Empire. The founding fathers established a government system that would have promoted liberty, property ownership, capitalism, etc.

It is also important to remember that the Founding Fathers also held a wide array of beliefs in how government should be run. Some were even willing to uphold the institution of slavery (which is not very progressive at all) in the name of ensuring that a central government would not rule in the same tyrannical way the British did. Others were fiscally conservative. Others still were social conservatives, and so on and so forth.

The bottom line is that, in the sense of the word during the 18th century, any form of liberalism would have been considered progressive. And all of the Founding Fathers were liberals. So yes, at that time, they would have been considered progressives.

Of course, definitions change. Movements change. As time goes on, the Progressive movement began to reject the founding principles more and more.

At the turn of the century, a time that became known as the Progressive Era, the likes of Woodrow Wilson declared that the Declaration of Independence was "irrelevant", and many in his camp began to reject natural law as arrogant. These rejections spurred the massive government expansion under Franklin Roosevelt and his New Deal.

Progressives today want to take this rejection of natural law even further. They openly embrace socialism, a system that has killed over 100 million people in the span of a century, and has caused countries like Venezuela to become absolute dung holes.

Progressives today are calling for censorship on college campuses on social media. They conflate legitimate criticism with bigotry, calling anyone who disagrees with them racist, sexist, or homophobic. They use the terms "white nationalist" or "white supremacist" or "Nazi" just to shut down any arguments before they can even begin. They are sowing division to keep us distracted from their failings

The progressive media peddles fake news and propaganda. They will bury news stories that go against their narrative. They are keeping information from the general public. Does any of this sound like a society changing for the better?

The founders would be appalled if they saw what was happening today. So no, David, I'm not going to be a Progressive.

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