Jan 22, 2019

Storage Tips for Your Home

Storage Tips for Your Home
Have you ever made these excuses?  My house is too small to have organized storage space.  I have too many weird shaped things to have organized storage.  I need to have a ton of money to get storage containers if I want an organized house. Have you said any of these things? 

I have posted some quotes on storage tips from the book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.  I have put Marie Kondo's quotes in quotation marks, anything outside of quotation marks is my own words.

"I have only two rules: store all items of the same type in the same place and don't scatter storage space.

If you have already been selecting what to keep on the basis of what speaks to your heart, then you will understand what I mean because you have already collected items by category, spread them out in one spot, and held them in your hand to make your decision. The work you have been doing has actually honed your ability to sense what belongs together and to choose appropriate places for storing them."

Marie Kondo goes on to talk about storing based off of frequency of use.

"I use only two categories for frequency of use: things that I use often and things I don't.

Take the contents of a drawer, for example. You will naturally start keeping the things you use less in the back of the drawer and those you use more in the front. There is no need to decide this when you first lay our your storage space. When you are choosing what to keep, ask your heart; when you are choosing where to store something, ask your house. If you remember to do this, you will instinctively know how to proceed with organizing and storing your things."
It doesn't need to be complicated. Like she said it will come naturally.

Let's talk about how its best not to pile things...I mean lets be honest. Who wants to put back something that is on the bottom of the pile. No one!  Clutter will start to form if things are too hard to put back.  So let's see what Marie Kondo has to say about vertical storage. 
"I store every item vertically if possible, including clothes, which I fold and stand on edge in my drawers, and stockings, which I roll up and stand in a box. The same is true for stationary and writing tools: whether boxes of staples, measuring tapes, or erasers, I stand them on edge. I even store my laptop in the bookcase as if it were indeed a notebook. If you have storage space that should be sufficient yet falls short, try standing things vertically. You'll find that this solves most problems.
I store things vertically for two reasons. First, if you stack things, you end up with what seems like inexhaustible storage space. Things can be stacked forever and endlessly on top, which makes it harder to notice the increasing volume. In contrast, when things are stored vertically, any increase takes up space and you will eventually run out of storage area. When you do, you'll notice, 'Ah, I'm starting to accumulate stuff again.'
The other reason is this: STACKING IS VERY HARD ON THE THINGS ON BOTTOM. When things are piled on top of one another, the things underneath get squished. Stacking weakens and exhausts the things that bear the weight of the pile. Just imagine how you would feel if you were forced to carry a heavy load for hours. Not only that, but the things in the pile virtually disappear because we forget that they even exist."

Storage Tips for Your Home
This is my playroom in the closet.  Nothing fancy, but my girls have changed toys 3 times since I did the challenge so buying bins specifically for certain toys just doesn't make sense.  Use what you have.
I am really passionate about this next thing. I have talked to so many people who say that getting organized is expensive. They worry about spending $100s on storage containers. I am HUGE on looking around my house and seeing what works first. No it might not be AS pretty, but it is functional and FREE.
I especially like doing this with kid toys, because those are rotated as kids grow and want different toys. That way you can change up the containers easily.
The number one container I use are shoe boxes. I use these in my girls' playroom ALL THE TIME.

Uses for various containers:

Shoe box:
-Store shampoo bottles, conditioner bottles, detergents, or other house hold cleaning products
-Garbage bags

Lid of shoe box:
-Cooking oils

Extra plastic food containers:
-Small items in kitchen
-Bath toys-I have 3 in my bathroom for this purpose

"Large cardboard boxes or electrical appliance boxes, however, are too big for storage dividers, inconvenient for other types of storage, and just plain ugly. Please get rid of them. Whenever you come across likely storage boxes while you are cleaning and sorting your belongings, set them aside and in one spot until you are ready to start storing. Be sure to discard or recycle any that are left once your house is in order. NEVER HANG ON TO THEM IN THE BELIEF THAT YOU MIGHT USE THEM SOMEDAY.
I don't recommend using round, heart-shaped, or irregularly shaped containers as dividers because they usually waste space. However if a particular box gives you a thrill when you hold it, that's different....Hair accessories, cotton swabs, or sewing supplies might work in them."

Let's see what she says about bags...I love this storage idea.
"The best way to store purses, handbags, and other bags is to make sets according to the material, size, and frequency of use and to store them one inside the other, like nested boxes. All straps and handles should be left in plain view. If the handbag used for storage came in a bag, you can store the set in that. Line up these sets in your closet or wardrobe where you can see them."

If you are like me and like to label everything to easily find things and put things back then I have a bunch of blog posts for you.  You can get all these labels for free on my blog.  Check out which ones I have below. 

This is just a reminder that when we get rid of things then we can have more joy. BUT remember to take care of the things you have. If you do they will last longer and your home will also be less cluttered. Win-Win!

Don't make organization hard by over complicating the storing process.  Check out these easy storage tips for your home.

Some of these links contain affiliate links which means if you purchase after clicking on the link I will receive a very small commission. I wholeheartedly recommend these items and commission would never sway me to recommend something I could not stand behind.

Other posts in this series

Helpful quotes from the book

Some other links you will find helpful

Decluttering Tips for a Clutter Free Home

Decluttering Tips for a Clutter Free Home
When I read the book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up I was so intrigued with the idea of never having a rebound.  The thing that bothered me the most with decluttering was that it was constant.  Once you decluttered your house you started over with where you started.  I felt like it was very defeating.

So when Marie Kondo promised that if you tidied in the way she said you wouldn't have a rebound I was all ears.  I then planned on my decluttering challenge to be a life changing thing.  It was going to be habit forming. 

However, I also knew that I would get sick in my life, my kids would get sick, life would have it's crazy times. So I planned on keeping my decluttering sessions in place (it is something I have been doing for about 5-6 years now).  If I have nothing to declutter then I won't have to do anything, but if I do then I can get on top of it right away.

I currently have 3 15-minute sessions a week. I set the timer and I attack my clutter piles and put things away. This doesn't include my paper clutter session that I mentioned in this post.  It is under the section titled "Paper Clutter". 

I really haven't had to have any marathon decluttering sessions.  I do declutter my kids' playroom 3 times a year and because I like them involved sometimes that can be more lengthy, but I feel it is worth it in the end because I am teaching them the value of only keeping things you love. 
Decluttering Tips for a Clutter Free Home
Another real life picture.  This drawer used to stress me out every time I opened it.  I haven't had even a slight relapse with this drawer.  Everything has a home. 
Another tip that I swear by is: If something takes 2 minutes or less to do or put away then do it right then. I promise that your clutter piles will be lessened if you do this.

In the book Marie Kondo talks about emptying your purse/bag daily. (if you have the book then this is a must read...I find it entertaining)
I don't have the time to do it daily. However, it is in my weekly cleaning schedule to clean out my car, wallet, purse, and diaper bag. So make sure you find a routine that works for you. This will keep it from getting out of control, but not just that it will help you find things more easily.  I have found that as I am getting gas I will quickly go through my car and purse and get rid of all the garbage.  For some reason garbage just piles up.  I also keep a plastic bag in my car and if I have time while waiting for my gas tank to fill I will put anything that needs to be carried into the house in that bag.  It saves me time on my weekly car cleaning day. 

This next tip might seem silly to you, but try it if it is something you don't do already. Take off the labels of anything you don't need to label.
Our brains register every written word. So when you open a closet full of containers and each of those containers has a label from the store on them then your mind sees all the busyness of it and can't settle. So be very sure when you add words that it isn't too excessive to a space and will cause your mind to not rest when you open the storage space. Does that make sense?

Check out these very easy and simple decluttering tips for a clutter free home.

Some of these links contain affiliate links which means if you purchase after clicking on the link I will receive a very small commission. I wholeheartedly recommend these items and commission would never sway me to recommend something I could not stand behind.

Other posts in this series

Storage tips

Some other links you will find helpful

How to Declutter Your Home

How to Declutter Your Home
Should I declutter room by room?  Should I declutter a little drawer each day?  How should I begin? 

I was at a loss on how to declutter and feel good about what I did.  I would find ways to declutter, but then in 3 months, 6 months, or even 1 year later I would find myself needing to declutter that same area again.  It was quite defeating. 

I can say that after doing this challenge for myself and my readers last year that this way works.  It transforms your way of thinking and you won't go back to more clutter.  It is amazing and I have been so happy that I took the time to do this.  

As I mentioned in the first post about the challenge, you will do it by categories.  This helps you start with the easiest things and then work towards the harder things.  That way when you get the the hardest category (sentimental) you will have had lots of practice before hand.  

I want to give you some tips I learned along the way for each of these categories.  I mention a book and when I do it is always the book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.  I wrote a whole blog post about why you need to read it!

How to Declutter Your Home

My biggest thing with clothing is to make sure you love what you keep.  Even if that means getting rid of something you only wore once.  Even if it means you get rid of a gift.  Things like that will just sit there and collect dust and take up space.  

You will feel so much better and confident with a closet full of clothes you like and want to wear.  I have had a 36 piece wardrobe for about 3.5 years now.  It has been amazing to me to see how much I love my closet now and I have A LOT LESS STUFF than I used to have. 

How to Declutter Your Home

This is from the book: "Books are usually arranged in rows in bookcases so that their titles are clearly visible, so it does seem to make more sense to weed out those you don't want when you can see them. Not only that, but books are heavy. Taking them all off the shelf only to put them back on again seems like a waste of effort. Even so, do not skip this step. Remove all the books from your bookcases. You cannot judge whether or not a book really grabs you when it's still on the shelf."

She goes on to say, "Once you have piled your books, take them in your hand one by one and decide whether you want to keep or discard each one. The criterion is, of course, whether or not it gives you a thrill of pleasure when you touch it. Remember I said when you TOUCH it. Make sure you don't start reading it. Reading clouds your judgment."

Then once you are done and only have books that you LOVE it will feel SO GOOD!  She says, "For someone who loves books, what greater happiness could there be?"

Here are some quotes from the book about books.  I loved them and wanted to share them.  Anything that isn't in quotations is my own thoughts:

"The most common reason for not discarding a book is "I might read it again.'"

"Books you have read have already been experienced and their content is inside you, even if you don't remember. So when deciding which books to keep, forget about whether you think you'll read it again or whether you've mastered what's inside. Instead, take each book in your hand and decide whether it moves you or not. Keep only the books that make you happy just to see them on your shelves, the ones that you really love. That includes this book, too. If you don't feel any joy when you hold it in your hand, I would rather you discard it."

"The problem with books that we intend to read sometime is that they are far harder to part with than ones we have already read."

"If you missed your chance to read a particular book, even if it was recommended to you or is one you have been intending to read for ages, this is your chance to let it go. You may have wanted to read it when you bought it, to teach you that you didn't need it. There's no need to finish reading books that you only got halfway through. Their purpose was to be read halfway. So get rid of all those unread books. It will be far better for you to read the book that really grabs you right now than one that you left to gather dust for years." 

Talking about old text books, notebooks, and qualification books she says...
"So if, like many of my clients, you have any books that fall into this category, I urge you to stop insisting that you will use them someday. Get rid of them today. Why? because the odds are very low that you'll ever read them. Of all my clients, less than 15 percent put such books to use......If you haven't done what you intended to do yet, donate or recycle that book. Only by discarding it will you be able to test how passionate you are about that subject. If your feelings don't change after discarding it, then you're fine as is. If you want the book so badly after getting rid of it that you're willing to buy another copy, then buy one-and this time read and study it."  I followed this advice when cleaning out my books.

She went on to say keep the books that are in your personal "Hall of Fame" category.  These are those books that you know you will read again and just by looking at them you can't help but smile. 

Then the next category of books to keep but didn't make the "Hall of Fame" are books that inspired you. These books will change as life changes. So you need to keep tabs on these books and discard when necessary.

The last quote I want to share and completely think this is true is "I have noticed that having fewer books actually increases the impact of the information I read."

Magazines can be one of those things that can build. I like to keep my cleaning to a minimum on Sundays. It's the one day a week that I give myself rest. However, I always take 10 minutes to look through a magazine. I might take longer if I have a bigger pile of magazines. That way I make sure to get through one or two magazines. If I see something that I HAVE to reference later then I usually tear out the page that I need to reference or take a picture of it and file it in a folder to look back on. I always make sure that this is something that is worth keeping. I don't want clutter in my home or even on my computer/phone if it will never be referenced again.

Once I am done with the magazine I recycle it and move on. If I didn't do this then my house would be swimming in magazines.

How to Declutter Your Home

Lecture/talk/seminar materials: 
The reason we go to a lecture or seminar is to learn and grow in that area of expertise. Now I am going to say something that might seem harsh, but I don't mean it that way. THE ONLY WAY YOU WILL GET RESULTS FROM A SEMINAR IS TO PUT IT INTO PRACTICE.

I say this because if you keep the notes for years, more than likely you won't ever look at those notes and they will clutter your home. If you do then you might not remember what was meant by your notes after years of sitting in storage and you will probably want to take another class on the same thing to freshen your memory.

Think about it! How many past notes do you reference all the time? Probably not many. If you do then you are putting it into place and pretty soon you will have a great routine and know what the notes say just by practicing what the notes say. Therefore you won't need the notes anyways.  (Wow I said the word notes a lot there!)

If you REALLY can't part with something then get it converted electronically. I like to take stock of my electronic files yearly just to stay on top of them as well.

Credit Card & Bank Statements: 
My number one piece of advice is to immediately go (like right when you start decluttering this type of paper) and get these put online. There are paperless options. Please use them. If you can't do that then take this advice:  Once you get these statements then check the content to confirm everything is correct and record it where necessary. Then get rid of it. At that point it has fulfilled its purpose.

Pay Stubs & Greeting Cards:
Pay Stubs first...The main reason you should keep these is to check what is on there and that it is correct. Most times at that point it is a good idea to get rid of it. If you are applying for a loan then maybe keep a few months worth. No more than a year!

Greeting cards: When I get a thank you card or any card for that matter I read it and cherish it in the moment and then get rid of it. I will say I keep some that are more life changing.  Basically really special ones only.  The purpose of the card was to let you know that you were thought of. If you took that positive vibe in then its purpose is over. I do keep Christmas cards. These bring me TONS of joy so I punch holes in them (only the ones with pictures) and then bind them with book rings. My family and I love to look back over all the years and see how much everyone changes. It brings us lots of joy so it makes sense for us to do this. I also store them with my Christmas stuff.

Medical documents (this includes insurance documents and HSA docs):
Here is my thing. The ONLY reason you should keep something is for reference or to provide information for yourself or others. Here is what I do with these kinds of papers:
1. I keep them if I have a print out of what was paid for tax purposes. Then I keep it with my tax documents for 7 years. If it is provided online then I don't print it out.

2. If I have a large bill that hasn't been paid (babies anyone?) then I keep all the supporting documents until it has been paid. Once it is paid the only thing I keep is the record of what was paid for (again for tax purposes).

Warranties and manuals:
Manuals-Only keep ones that you continually reference. If you are going to stick it in a file then get rid of it. Utilize it when you first get the item and then toss it. Most of these manuals can be found online anyways.
Warranties- Keep them as long as they are not expired. Keep them all in one file together. Then either each time you have to pull one out OR once a year go through them and get rid of the expired ones.

How to Declutter Your Home
Real picture of what I did to my closet outside of our main bathroom.

Let's talk about the the things around the house that we don't notice all the time because they have become part of our house.

Unused gifts - I'm talking about party or wedding favors, souvenirs from friends/family, gifts given to you on your birthday, and so on. Now I am not talking about things that are your taste or that you love. I am talking about the ones that you have used once, if at all. They are the items in your house that cause you guilt every time you look at them because you wish you liked it or could use it, but you just can't. They are either put in the back of a closet, on top of a shelf, or in a drawer.

Now I want you to hold that gift and think about the person that gave it to you and remember that they gave it to you because they love you and thought of you. They would HATE to know that it is causing you guilt or is going unused. You will do so much better getting rid of it and letting someone else actually ENJOY it!

Cosmetic samples saved for trips: If you do not use them within a year please throw them out. Reason is that when the quantity is very small (like samples) the quality deteriorates faster. You don't want to be on a trip trying to relax and realize that the lotion, shampoo, or conditioner is all dried up or bad. Then you are driving around trying to find these items or paying an arm and a leg for them.
Just make it a habit to toss them yearly. Set a reminder on your calendar if you have to. Just do it!

Electronics Packages: I have to tell you that this is what my husband kept the most of. I have broke his error of judgement (haha), but it has taken years.
Boxes take up SO MUCH ROOM! So get rid of that box your cell phone came in as soon as you get it out of the box. My husband kept them because he thought the electronics would be easier to sell if he had the box, but he has sold so many without the boxes since I had him get rid of them right away.
You also don't need them for moving...unless you are moving in the very near future. Don't save them for a "someday" move. Get the boxes for moving at that time of moving.

Unidentified cords
HAHAHAHAHAHA.  WE ALL HAVE THESE! 99.9999999% of the time you can toss it and you won't even know the difference. However, if you get nervous then keep the pile of them and make sure after you are done decluttering that each of your electronic devices has a cord. Then toss the pile (it is probably a pile of cords for already disposed of electronics).

Honestly, if you find that you need a cord later on then go buy one. It will take you less time to do that then to try and find it in the mess of cords.

Broken Appliances: Get rid of them. Unless you have a hobby and ENJOY fixing these things, then get rid of them. The only exception is if you can't live without it and you need it repaired right away. However, if you don't NEED it or it's going to sit for months or years to "someday be fixed" then please get rid of it.

"Bedding for the guest who never comes": Don't keep tons of bedding for guests that you never have. It is such a waste of space. I am not talking to anyone who has regular guests.

Products from the latest trends: This can be any kind of trend. It is the trend that you went all in and got so many things to do it...health trends, hobby trends, kitchen trends, etc.

If you are no longer passionate about it then get rid of it. I know it cost a lot of money, but it made you happy while you did it. It is no longer making you happy. So let it go!

Spare buttons: My mom had a Tupperware full of them and they were RARELY used. Many times if you lose a button on a clothing you will either wear it without the button, be done with the piece of clothing anyways, or let it sit until the article of clothing becomes faded because it has been sitting too long. Don't keep the buttons if you aren't going to use them. If you have suits or coats that you KNOW you will replace the buttons to then sew the extra buttons to the inside of the article of clothing. They do that now with a lot of coats anyways.

Free "Swag" items:
This one is my favorite category.  Phone cleaners, notepads, pens, fans, plastic cups/water bottles, glasses, Post-It notes, folder, calendars, balls, whistles, the list goes on and on. You didn't buy any of these things because they don't bring you joy. So get rid of them!  Only keep the things that bring you joy! 

Any guesses on what Marie Kondo finds the most of laying around all over the house?
Coins....I found it interesting and I can totally see this. Her advice is to put coins IMMEDIATELY in your wallet. Coins are not junk. They are money. So make sure to use them! Don't just think they are worthless because they aren't paper. We have an allowance system in our home. So we have a bank with coins to give our girls, but they aren't all over the place. They are either in the "bank" or in our wallets.
Key point to take from it....use your coins.

Marie has a part in her book about stock piles. Do you want to hear some of her records for stock piles?
Toothbrushes = 60 (this person sounded like they lived alone)
Plastic kitchen wrap = 30-20 meter rolls
Toilet Paper = 80 (from the sound of it this woman lived alone)
The ultimate record she writes of was cotton swabs = 20,000 (again it sounds like this woman lived alone)

She goes on to say, "Unlike a shop, if you run out of something at home, it's not a big deal. It may cause you temporary stress, but it does no irreparable damage."

"Give it away to friends who need it, recycle it, or take it to a donation shop. You may think this is a waste of money, but reducing your stock and relieving yourself of the burden of excess is the quickest and most effective way to put your things in order.
Once you've experienced the freedom of a life without surplus stock, you won't want to give it up and will naturally stop stockpiling. My clients tell me that now life is more fun because when they run out of something they enjoy seeing how long they can last without it or trying to substitute other things. It's important to assess what you have on hand now and eliminate excess."

I have one extra toothbrush on hand for my girls at a time. You know just in case they drop their's in the toilet...or something. I always take stock of my plastic wrap when I put together my grocery list. Same goes for cotton swabs. Toilet paper I check monthly because I buy a big package when I need to at Sam's Club. I get the feeling of not wanting to run out! I hate running out of something, but I don't want my stockpile to consume my life either. This part was interesting to me.

Sentimental things
How to Declutter Your Home

Here are some quotes I loved from the first section on sentimental things.

REMEMBER: Keep the stuff that still brings you joy. There isn't a limit on what you can keep, but really think about each item.

"No matter how wonderful things used to be, we cannot live in the past. The joy and excitement we feel here and now are more important."

I love this quote and everything she says here: "By handling each sentimental item and deciding what to discard, you process your past. If you just stow these things away in a drawer or cardboard box, before you realize it, your past will become a weight that holds you back and keeps you from living in the here and now."

A piece of advice she gives is DO NOT SEND YOUR SENTIMENTAL THINGS TO YOUR PARENT'S HOUSE. That is just prolonging this process. At one point you will have to address it. Do it now!

When it comes to things your kids gave you then really think if it brings you joy. My guess is some of them will and some of them won't. So keep the ones that do.

Letters were hard for me. This is what she said about letters. "The purpose of a letter is fulfilled the moment it is received." So don't hold on to it just because...only hold on to the ones that bring you joy and happiness.  This category was hard, but after months of practice I luckily had become so much better.  So don't stress out now! 

Once again, hold on to the things that you would love to look through over and over again. (The things that bring you joy!)

Let's talk photos. I am going to quote the book again because as I did my decluttering I noticed a lot of truth in these statements.

"Because photos tend to emerge from the most unexpected places when we are sorting other categories, it is much more efficient to put them in a designated spot every time you find one and deal with them all at the very end."

"There is a good reason to leave photos for last. If you start sorting photos before you have honed your intuitive sense of what brings you joy, the whole process will spin out of control and come to a halt. In contrast, once you have followed the correct order for tidying ....sorting will proceed smoothly , and you will be amazed by your capacity to choose on the basis of what gives you pleasure."

She goes on to say that you should pile all your pictures in a big pile. Now....I was a huge scrapbooker back in the day. I did not take my pictures that I spent time and energy on (not to mention hours of journaling) out of the scrapbook just to put them in a pile. I also have many pictures already filed by date. I did not take those and jumble them up and have NO idea what year they are from.

However, I did take pictures one by one and really thought if it is something that my kids, grand kids, or great grand kids would want to see. If it truly brings me joy then I think they will want to see those pictures.

Go through them now. Enjoy them now! Don't keep piling these pictures up until you are gone and then your kids have to go through them and maybe not care what half of them are. I speak from experience in this...my husband's mom passed away 13 years ago. We have gone through picture after picture of not knowing what it was or who was in the picture (we've asked my father in law and we've asked siblings if they knew what the picture was). Many of the pictures were of things or blurry, so we didn't care about them.

However, we still cherish the ones with her and her family and ones where she is smiling. Those are the ones that bring us pure joy!

Find out how to declutter your home by going through categories instead of room by room.

Some of these links contain affiliate links which means if you purchase after clicking on the link I will receive a very small commission. I wholeheartedly recommend these items and commission would never sway me to recommend something I could not stand behind.

Other posts in this series

Storage tips

Some other links you will find helpful

Quotes from Books: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Quotes from Books: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up
I loved almost every single line of the book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.  Has that ever happened to you?  I usually have favorite quotes that I love from a book, but this was hard to come up with my favorites, because I loved so much.  

I did however compile a good list of quotes and added my own thoughts.  I hope this helps you better understand just how amazing this book really is.  It seriously is a must read.  

Anything that is in quotes is coming from the book straight from Marie Kondo.  My comments are not in quotes.

"If you tidy up in one shot, rather than little by little, you can dramatically change your mind-set. A change so profound that it touches your emotions will irresistibly affect your way of thinking and your lifestyle habits.
If you use the right method and concentrate your efforts on eliminating clutter thoroughly and completely within a short span of time, you'll see instant results that will empower you to keep your space in order ever after."
This is why doing the challenge in 6 months or less is so important. 

"What is the first problem that comes to mind when you think of tidying? For many, the answer is storage.... A booby trap lies within the term "storage".... most people leap at storage methods that promise quick and convenient ways to remove visible clutter.
Putting things away creates the illusion that the clutter problem has been solved. But sooner or later, all the storage units are full, the room once again overflows with things, and some new and "easy" storage method becomes necessary, creating a negative spiral. This is why tidying must start with discarding. We need to exercise self-control and resist storing our belongings until we have finished identifying what we really want and need to keep."
This is why it is important to declutter first and then put away. 

"For the best results, I ask that you adhere faithfully to the following rule: TIDY IN THE RIGHT ORDER. As we've seen, there are only two tasks involved--discarding and deciding where to keep things. Just two, but discarding must come first. Be sure to completely finish the first task before starting the next. DO NOT EVEN THINK OF PUTTING YOUR THINGS AWAY UNTIL YOU HAVE FINISHED THE PROCESS OF DISCARDING.Failure to follow this order is one reason many people never make permanent progress. In the middle of discarding, they start thinking about where to put things. As soon as they think, 'I wonder if it will fit in this drawer,' the work of discarding comes to a halt. You can think about where to put things when you've finished getting rid of everything you don't need."

"People have trouble discarding things that they could still use (functional value), that contain helpful information (informational value), and that have sentimental ties (emotional value). When these things are hard to obtain or replace (rarity), they become even harder to part with."
This is exactly why we are saving sentimental things for the end, because they tend to fall in all or some of these categories.

Now this part of the book really spoke to me because of experience. So please follow this advice..." Don't let your family see what is in the pile to discard or donate."
"It's extremely stressful for parents to see what their children discard"
I have experiences with my mom and with my daughter. So just try to get rid of it without them knowing. I am not talking about getting rid of THEIR stuff. That I do not recommend doing, but they have an attachment to even YOUR stuff. Strange I know.

I loved this quote because it tells you why people can't tell you exactly how much to keep. YOU get to choose that.
"The click point differs from one person to another. For a shoe lover, it might be one hundred pairs of shoes, while a book lover might not need anything but books. Some people, like me, have more lounge wear than clothes for going out, while others may prefer to go naked in the home and therefore have no lounge wear at all. (You'd be surprised at how many fall into this latter category.)"

I love this inspiration!
"As you put your house in order and decrease your possessions, you'll see what your true values are, what is really important to you in your life. But don't focus on reducing, or on efficient storage methods, for that matter. Focus instead on choosing the things that inspire joy and on enjoying life according to your own standards. This is the true pleasure of tidying. If you have not yet felt a click, don't worry. You can still reduce. Tackle this job with confidence."

Again...I love this quote.
"When we honestly confront the things we own, they evoke many emotions within us. Those feelings are real. It is these emotions that give us the energy for living. Believe what your heart tells you when you ask, 'Does this spark joy?' If you act on that intuition, you will be amazed at how things will begin to connect in your life and at the dramatic changes that follow. It is as if your life has been touched by magic. Putting your house in order is the magic that creates a vibrant and happy life."

"The point in deciding specific places to keep things is to designate a spot for everything. You may think, 'It would take me forever to do that,' but you don't need to worry. Although it seems like deciding on a place for every item must be complicated, it's far simpler than deciding what to keep and what to discard. Since you have already decided what to keep according to type of item and since those items all belong to the same category, all you need to do is store them near each other."

"What is the perfect amount of possessions? I think that most people don't know. If you have lived in Japan or the United States all your life, you have almost certainly been surrounded by far more than you need. This makes it hard for many people to imagine how much they need to live comfortably. AS YOU REDUCE YOUR BELONGINGS THROUGH THE PROCESS OF TIDYING, YOU WILL COME TO A POINT WHERE YOU SUDDENLY KNOW HOW MUCH IS JUST RIGHT FOR YOU. You will feel it as clearly as if something has clicked inside your head and said, 'Ah! This is just the amount I need to live comfortably. This is all I need to be happy. I don't need anything more.' The satisfaction that envelops your whole being at that point is palpable. I call this the 'just-right click point'. Interestingly, once you have passed this point, you'll find that the amount you own never increases. And that is precisely why you will never rebound."

I have found this to be true as I went through my categories. I hit a point where it felt good and I had just enough, not too little and not too much. I looks good and it feels good.

I'm going to be quite honest now. I started this challenge for me. At the same time I wanted to help others too. I wanted to do it alongside some other people. And thankfully that is what happened!

Another honest moment: I struggle with some pretty intense anxiety. I was sick of living with it. So I have done a lot of research and talked to A LOT of professionals. The bottom line for me is simplifying. And this decluttering challenge was the start of me simplifying my life. It was so freeing.

I hope you all can find that click point so that we can all live our lives happily and function better. So we can share our gifts with the world instead of worrying about all the stuff in our home.

I like this quote, because I can completely relate to it.

"The reason every item must have a designated place is because the existence of an item without a home multiplies the chances that your space will become cluttered again. Let's say, for example, that you have a shelf with nothing on it. What happens if someone leaves an object that has no designated spot on that shelf? That one item will become your downfall. Within no time that space, which had maintained a sense of order, will be covered with objects, as if someone had yelled, 'Gather round, everybody!'"

This is so true. I feel that if you only have stuff you LOVE then you will want to take care of those items...not throw them wherever. AND if it has a designated space then it is simple and easy to put back.

"One of the main reasons for rebound is the failure to designate a spot for each item. Without a designated spot, where are you going to put things when you finish using them? Once you choose a place for your things, you can keep your house in order. So decide where your things belong and when you finish using them, put them there. This is the main requirement for storage."

"Clutter is caused by a failure to return things to where they belong. Therefore, storage should reduce the effort needed to put things away, not the effort needed to get them out."
READ THAT AGAIN!  It is so good! 
"When we use something, we have a clear purpose for getting it out. Unless for some reason it is incredibly hard work, we usually don't mind the effort involved. Clutter has only two possible causes: too much effort is required to put things away or it is unclear where things belong. If we overlook this vital point, we are likely to create a system that results in clutter."
Ahhhh this is so so true. It needs to be so simple to put away. So simple that a child can do it (at least that is what I am telling my husband) haha.

Quotes from Books: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

There is a part in the book titled: Put your house in order and discover what you really want to do

I love that title. Let me break down my favorite parts in that section.


I love this because if you really think about what you liked as a kid usually you still like the same type of things. They might have evolved, but USUALLY they are similar.

She goes on to write about her clients..."For the majority, the experience of tidying causes them to become more passionately involved in their work. Some set up their own companies, others change jobs, and still others take more interest in their current profession. They also become more passionate about their other interests and about their home and family life. Their awareness of what they like naturally increases and, as a result, daily life becomes more exciting."
Doesn't that sound like how we ALL should be living. I started being able to do more with my girls once I got rid of the clutter.

Then the final thought I want to share in regard to this section is..."Although we can get to know ourselves better by sitting down and analyzing our characteristics or by listening to others' perspectives on us, I believe that tidying is the best way. After all, our possessions very accurately relate the history of the decisions we have made in life. Tidying is a way of taking stock that shows us what we really like."
I had a professor during college tell us to look around the room at what others were wearing. He said, "Now think about how what everyone is wearing they loved at one point in time. They might currently still like what they are wearing, but regardless they loved it at some point enough to buy it." It has really stuck out to me to make sure I don't just accumulate something that I don't REALLY care about.

Another part of the book that I recently reread and LOVE:
"Tidying dramatically changes one's life. This is true for everyone, 100 percent. The impact of this effect, which I have dubbed 'the magic of tidying.' is phenomenal. Sometimes I ask my clients how their lives changed after taking the course. Although I have grown accustomed to their answers, in the beginning even I was surprised. THE LIVES THAT TIDY THOROUGHLY AND COMPLETELY, IN A SINGLE SHOT, ARE WITHOUT EXCEPTION DRAMATICALLY ALTERED."

This is a part of the book that I like. The beginning is a quote from one of Marie's clients that considered herself a tidy person.

" 'Previously, I had no confidence. I kept thinking that I needed a change, that I should be different, but now I can believe that I am okay just the way I am. By gaining a clear standard by which I can judge things, I gained a great deal of confidence in myself.' As you can see from her testimony, ONE OF THE MAGICAL EFFECTS OF TIDYING IS CONFIDENCE IN YOUR DECISION-MAKING CAPACITY. Tidying means taking each item in your hand, asking yourself whether it sparks joy, and deciding on this basis whether or not to keep it. By repeating this process hundreds and thousands of times, we naturally hone our decision-making skills. People who lack confidence in their judgement lack confidence in themselves. I, too, once lacked confidence. What saved me was tidying."

First thought about this, I started noticing that I was honing in my decision making skills as early as a week into the challenge.  I could decide when I'm at the store if I actually WANTED something. I no longer buy things that will bring me joy for 2 seconds or 2 months. I buy things that will bring me joy for a long time. No need to try and find a home for something that I won't care about after a short time. That creates clutter.
Second thought, I too have felt my confidence strengthen. I am not as ashamed of my home as I used to be. 

The next quotes are from a part in the book called, "Your living space affects your body". 
"Once the process of tidying is under way, many of my clients remark that they have lost weight or that they have firmed their tummies. IT'S A VERY STRANGE PHENOMENON, BUT WHEN WE REDUCE WHAT WE OWN AND ESSENTIALLY 'DETOX' OUR HOUSE, IT HAS A DETOX EFFECT ON OUR BODIES AS WELL."
I completely believe this. Clutter and an unorganized home causes lots of side effects. Many that we don't want to admit. This is the number 1 reason I decided to declutter.

"I know it sounds like false advertising to claim that you can lose weight by tidying or that it will make your skin clearer, but it is not necessarily untrue. Unfortunately, I can't show you before-and-after pictures of my clients, but I have witnessed with my own eyes how their appearance changes when their rooms are tidied. Their figures are more streamlined, their skin is more radiant, and their eyes shine brighter."
I think a lot of this has to do with the confidence that you gain after tidying your home.

"When I first started this business, I found this fact quite intriguing. But when I thought about it carefully, I realized that it isn't that strange. I think of it like this. When we put our house in order, the air inside becomes fresh and clean. Reducing the amount of stuff in our space also reduces the amount of dust, and we actually clean more often. When we can see the floor, the dirt stands out and we want to clean. Because clutter has been eliminated, it's much easier to clean and therefore we do it more thoroughly. The fresher air in the room must certainly be good for the skin. Cleaning involves energetic movement, which would naturally contribute to losing weight and staying fit. And when our space is completely clean, we don't have to worry about tidying, so we are free to focus on the next issue that is important in our lives. Many people want to be slim and fit, and that becomes their focus. They start to walk longer distances and eat less junk food, and these actions contribute to weight loss without consciously dieting."

Yes. Yes! YES! I think back to all the time I spent doing this challenge.  Now my small nightly tidying ritual keeps me free of clutter.  It has given me more time to take care of my body. 

This is my favorite part of the section titled "Your living space affects your body".

"But I think the main reason tidying has this effect is because through this process people come to know contentment. After tidying, many clients tell me that their worldly desires have decreased. Whereas in the past, no matter how many clothes they had, they were never satisfied and always wanted something new to wear, once they selected and kept only those things that they really loved, they felt that they had everything they needed."

This might be my favorite because I have seen this happen in my own life. I am so happy with where my house is. I have less stuff than I have ever had in my life, but I am so content with it. 

Last part of the section titled, "Your living space affects your body".

"We amass material things for the same reason that we eat - to satisfy a craving. Buying on impulse and eating and drinking to excess are attempts to alleviate stress. From observing my clients, I have noticed that when they part with excess clothing, their tummies tend to slim down, when they discard books and documents, their minds tend to become clearer, when they reduce the number of cosmetics and tidy up the area around the sink and bath, their complexion tends to become clear and their skin smooth. Although I have no scientific basis for this theory, it is very interesting to see that the part of the body responding corresponds closely to the area that is put in order."

I love this quote from the book. It is put very simple and makes complete sense.

"The philosophy of feng shui is really about living in accordance with the rules of nature. The purpose of my approach to tidying is exactly the same. The true purpose of tidying is, I believe, to live in the most natural state possible. Don't you think it is unnatural for us to possess things that don't bring us joy or things that we don't really need? I believe that owning only what we love and what we need is the most natural condition."

"By putting our house in order, we can live in our natural state. We choose those things that bring us joy and cherish what is truly precious in our lives. Nothing can bring greater happiness than to be able to do something as simple and natural as this."

Ahhhh I love this. What a way to live life. Not weighed down by THINGS. Just living life to the fullest.

I love this part of the book where she talks about only keeping the things you love.

"If you can say without a doubt, "I really like this!" no matter what anyone else says, and if you like yourself for having it, then ignore what other people think.

I can think of no greater happiness in life than to be surrounded only by the things I love. How about you? All you need to do is get rid of anything that doesn't touch your heart. There is no simpler way to contentment. What else could this be called but 'the magic of tidying'?"

So simple, but yet so hard. However, so worth it!

This quote is all about why we are tidying in a 6 month span. We are not going to be tidying the rest of our lives.
"Human beings can only truly cherish a limited number of things at one time. As I am both lazy and forgetful, I can't take proper care of too many things. That is why I want to cherish properly the things I love, and that is why I have insisted on tidying for so much of my life. I believe, however, that it is best to tidy up quickly and get it over with. Why? Because tidying is not the purpose of life."
Simple as that.

This is the last paragraph in the book. It is very enlightening. This is how we should live our lives. We all bring something special to this earth so lets share that special something with the world around us.

"If you think that tidying is something that must be done every day, if you think it is something that you will need to do all your life, it is time to wake up. I swear to you that tidying can be done thoroughly and quickly, all in one go. The only tasks that you will need to continue for the rest of your life are those of choosing what to keep and what to discard and of caring for the things you decide to keep. You can put your house in order now, once and forever. The only ones who need to spend their lives, year in and year out, thinking about tidying are people like me who find joy in it and who are passionate about using tidying to make the world a better place. AS FOR YOU, POUR YOUR TIME AND PASSION INTO WHAT BRINGS YOU THE MOST JOY, YOUR MISSION IN LIFE. I am convinced that putting your house in order will help you find the mission that speaks to your heart. Life truly begins after you have put your house in order."

Finding inspiring quotes from books can be powerful.  Check out these amazing quotes from the book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

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Other posts in this series

Storage tips

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