Tidy Up!

At this time of Covid-19, while stuck at home and getting tired of binge watching Netflix and hoping someone will text you, consider what this downtime can mean in terms of your peace of mind and care for you and your home.

Wouldn’t it be great to live in the house of your dreams? Whether selling or just wanting a home that looks like those you dream about (counters with minimal belongings on them, beautiful open spaces), taking the time to get rid of items no longer of use to you can be a huge advantage both for the sale of your home as well as for your psyche. Does the clutter and belongings of years living in your house make you afraid of the work it will take to get your house in order? Studies show that getting rid of all the extra items can make us feel more calm and happy.

Netflix has captured our wish for living in an orderly and less chaotic way with their new series “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo”. For those of you who did not pick up her bestseller, “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up”, this show is the best way to see how she works with her clients to get them from a chaotic household to one which makes them happy to be in. Marie comes in to see the stress of too much stuff and how that can impact the family by causing stress between family members. After introducing herself and finding out the family’s idea of what they hope to attain, she then introduces herself and meditates with the home. Afterwards she starts to show how to pare down to what brings joy so that each family member can tackle the job of selection. Each episode tackles a new organizational issue that many of us face and she helps to teach each family easy ways to maintain the peace of a more streamlined household. She is not a minimalist, but someone who believes your home and belongings should bring you joy.

For each episode, she starts with clothing. Each family member piles ALL of their clothes on one bed. With each item, they hold it and determine if it still brings them joy. If your ripped sweats bring you joy as you like to wear them when feeling like you need some down time, then keep them along with the clothes you actually enjoy wearing out of the house. She also shows how to most effectively organize and store your clothes. You can either watch the show or search her out on YouTube to watch her folding videos, like I did.

Below are some takeaways from the first four episodes.

Episode 1: Family with Toddlers — Marie shows them how to eradicate the items that do not bring joy so they can live in more harmony in their household.

• Even little ones can get in the action. Teaching children to help with their laundry is one example. Folding becomes a family event rather than a chore and helps this family of 4 take this chore and make it family time.

Episode 2: Empty Nesters.
Their home had become a storage unit filled with sentimental family items & hobbies after raising a family.

•Ask these questions of yourself: does each sentimental item bring you joy and can you see it being something that should come into your future? Or does it just bog you down?

• With each item, enjoy the memory associated with it, but keep in mind your vision of your final home. This can help you to weed out those items that have served their usefulness to you.

• Similar items should be stored together so you know what you have and can easily find them.

Episode 3 – The Downsizers
Family of 4 moves from a 4 bedroom home to a 2 bedroom apartment when they relocate for work.

• When organizing, each person should be responsible for their own items and what truly is important to them. Once they determine this, then they need to keep it organized.

• Involve family in projects – many hands makes light work and it instills the values and life skills of organization and cleanliness.

• Giving your kids the knowledge that too much doesn’t make you happier, that in fact it does the opposite.

Episode 4 — Sparking Joy After a Loss
A widow who still has all of her husband’s belongings and yet knows she needs to let go to move forward with her life.

• Visualize your future life and home. Just as coaches use this exercise for athletes to visual their success, this will help when dealing with items that are very difficult to let go.

• Start with easier items first, your own personal wardrobe is the item Marie Kondo advises as it usually is the easiest for people to make decisions.

• Going through the difficult items will end up moving you from sadness to catharsis.

If you are planning on selling your home soon, here are lessons for a seller:

• Visualize what you are hoping in the sale of your home

• Start detaching from the house. Acknowledge that you have emotions about the house and they are valid, but that you are ready to move on

• Look at the sale from buyer’s viewpoint and depersonalize the house so they can envision living there

And always remember one important lesson to help ease letting go, thank each item for how it came into your life and the times it shared with you. This will allow you to move on and get to your goal of your vision of the perfect home whether it is the home you are currently own or the next one.