When you retire or your children move out, it calls for rooms and cupboards to be decluttered. An organising guru provides tips
EXPERT Marie Kondo, founder of the lifestyle brand KonMari
Everyone know the queen of organising, Marie “if it doesn’t bring you joy toss it” Kondo. She gives us insight into organising for different life stages:
Q I’ve never taken the time to be truly tidy, but I will be retiring soon and have lots of time to make a positive change in my environment. What’s a good first step? Should I do a massive decluttering of the entire house or take it one room – or drawer – at a time?
A A good first step is to imagine your ideal life after you retire. Visualise what your house will look like and how you’d like to spend your time in your home. I recommend tidying the entire house in one shot as much as possible. Instead of tidying by room, try tidying by category. For example, tidy clothes one day and books another day. Organising items by category allows you to learn more about yourself because it gives you an opportunity to discover what you’d like to keep in your life and how you’d like to live your life.
Q My children have left home, and I have downsized. I am finding it tough to maintain organisation in a small home. Help.
A The basic rules of the KonMari method can be applied when organising a small house. I used to live in a tidy studio apartment. Before you begin organising or storing things, first consider items in your home that truly spark joy for you. It is important to store together things in the same category. To take full advantage of the storage systems you have – such as the pantry or cupboards – make sure you store everything vertically. This will help save space.
Q What are your best tips for keeping the toddler chaos at bay? Our 15-month-old loves pulling out his books and toys, and isn’t much help at cleaning up yet.
A Rather than fixate on having a perfectly tidy home at all times, I show my children how happy I am while tidying. This helps encourage their interest in tidying.
Q I have tried for years to come up with my vision for my ideal life and home. It just won’t form in my head. Any suggestions?
A Begin by making a habit of writing down what you respond to when looking at interior magazines or when visiting a friend’s house. You might notice particular colours you like or plants that make you happy. When woven together, these elements will create your ideal life and home.
Q My mother died two months ago and while we’ve had no problems cleaning out her stuff, I am now having trouble cleaning out my cupboard. Everything reminds me of her. How do I declutter when everything is tied to a memory of her?
A You do not need to go through sentimental items before you’re ready. If you do feel compelled to tidy, I recommend beginning with items that aren’t sentimental, such as clothing, books and papers. If you encounter any item in one of these categories that brings back a memory of your mother, set it aside as part of the sentimental category.