Tidy. A Four Letter Word You Can Learn to Love.

How to Keep Your New Home Tidy & Enjoy the Process

Discover the Joy of Tidy the Marie Kondo Way

When you think of things that bring you joy, dealing with clutter is probably down there with having a root canal and paying income taxes. Yes, you could just scoop it all up and toss it in the bonus room of your new home in Austin or sacrifice the garage of your new Bay Area townhome. But Marie Kondo advocates a more permanent approach to clutter. The world-famous tidying expert has taken decluttering to a new level, one she says will bring joy. Even better, Kondo says that with her KonMari Method™ you’ll never have to declutter again. One and done? Hey, we are definitely all for that!

A New Attitude

Although the traditional room-by-room, little-by-little approach will work, Kondo says the problem is it won’t last. Sooner or later, new clutter will replace the old clutter and you’ll be back to square one. The New York Time bestselling author of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” says you need to develop a whole new attitude. On her website she tells us to “keep only those things that speak to heart, and discard items that no longer spark joy.” It’s a pretty safe bet that your cupboards, closets and spare spaces are crammed full of things that no longer spark joy. Some sad stuff may even still have the price tags attached. Time to get started.

Six Rules to Joyful, Clutter-Free Living

Kondo’s method is built on six rules:

  1. Commit to Tidying Up — Don’t just give it lip service. Embrace it the way Prince Harry embraces Meghan.
  2. Imagine Your Ideal Lifestyle — In other words, picture the way your home would be if you could wave a magic wand. That’s what you’re aiming for. While you’re at it, also give serious thought to your reasons for tidying up. Envision how it will improve the quality of your life.
  3. Finish Discarding First — Dump it and move on…like you should have done with that loser you thought you couldn’t live without. It will lessen the temptation to let it hang around your life and your closet another moment.
  4. Tidy by Category Instead of by Location — More on this revolutionary concept in a minute.
  5. Follow the Right Order — Think of the KonMari Method™ like making a souffle: success depends on following the recipe step by step. This is not a place to improvise.
  6. Ask Yourself If It Sparks Joy — This core principal of the method is totally personal, and Kondo goes into detail in her book and on her website. For now suffice it to say that the decision requires you to be brutally honest with yourself and not let guilt stand between you and the dumpster. Great Aunt Aggie is not frowning from heaven as you chuck the awful landscape she painted. Keep only that which you genuinely treasure. If it makes you smile or gives you a warm fuzzy feeling, it’s probably a keeper.

How to Sort Your Stuff

Kondo suggests that you divvy your personal possessions into five categories, each with subcategories. The rule of order also applies here. Start with the easiest category and build up to the toughest. For each item, objectively ask and honestly answer “does this spark joy?” The end game is to have everything organized so you can find it at a glance.

1. Clothing

Subdivided into tops, bottoms, stuff that needs to be hung up, socks/tights, undies, purses, accessories (jewelry, scarves, hats, belts, etc.), specialty clothing (swimsuits, uniforms), and shoes. Oh, no. Not shoes! Dump everything in a pile on the floor and start sorting. Kondo provides specific directions for folding and hanging what you keep.

2. Books

There’s something about books that makes them hard to toss. Get over it (and get an e-reader). Dump all the books in a pile and sub-sort them into stuff you read for pleasure, manuals/cookbooks/how-to books, picture books, and periodicals. If you’re never going to read it again (and you probably aren’t) donate or dump it. In the case of magazines, you could always go through and tear out the pages you want (recipes, craft directions) and store them in a three-ring binder (or even better, scan them and store digitally).

3. Papers

There are just three subcategories here: Papers that need to be dealt with (so deal with them, already); papers you need for a limited time (bills, schoolwork); and papers you need to keep for an indefinite time like legal documents and tax receipts. Shred or burn everything else. Or call a service that will take it away and guarantee security.

4. Miscellaneous

This includes cosmetics, audio and video media, electrical items, household supplies and equipment, kitchen tools, food, hobby-related items, and everything else that doesn’t fit readily into the other five categories or support your ideal lifestyle goal.

5. Sentimental Stuff

This is the hard one for most people, and the source of an awful lot of clutter. The “does it spark joy” criterion is the lifesaver here. Kondo recommends holding each item in your hands and asking the question. She wisely advises that the memories in your heart count more than the physical stuff. Here again, digitizing can help you let go. Take a picture and store it on your computer. Obviously, if something has monetary value but doesn’t spark joy, sell it, donate it to charity or give it to someone who will find joy in it.

Overcoming the Objections

Admittedly, this is a radical remedy akin to cutting off your finger because you have a hangnail. Family members need to be included and encouraged to do their own decluttering surgery. Some things are downright essential to life but clearly not joy-inducing. Microwave ovens, ironing boards and toothpicks are just a few of the zillion exceptions you’ve probably been thinking of since you started reading this article. Maybe the best way to approach it is to apply the advice from the Pirates of the Caribbean code: they’re more like guidelines than actual rules.

The Simplest Solution

Why not just start with a clean slate in a new Taylor Morrison home? You can begin your search here. Try not to let all that storage space America’s Most Trusted® Home Builder includes dissuade you from your mission to be rid of unjoyful junk. Remember, the less you pack, the less you’ll have to unpack and put away. And do take advantage of the Design Studio where you can personalize your new home with signature touches instead of dust-magnet tchotchkes and knick-knacks.

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