Do you feel stressed when you get home? Do you sometimes feel that the space you live in is too small? That your collected items invade you and make you feel like you are suffocating? If you feel that you have too many things that take too much space, then it’s time to clean up your home… and your life. It is high time to tidy up before moving so as not to carry unnecessary things. Here are all our tips
It’s obvious: you need to recharge your batteries when at home. And to do so, your space should be bright, clean, tidy, with a fresh and pleasant smell. A welcoming home, where everything is in order, will influence your mood and your vitality.
To tidy is to make space, to order, to structure what surrounds us according to who we are… and that can be learned. You don’t have the time; the energy, or you don’t know where to start? Here are some thoughts, techniques and behaviors that, little by little, will become automatisms.
Living better with less
Hoarding is often a way to feel safe, as we often fear to forget something. But the more you get attached, the more you become a slave to your possessions. It may be the right time to ask yourself this essential question: “How could my life be better with less?” Gaining space, saving money, simplifying one’s routine, saving time with household chores… the reasons to reduce your daily tasks are multiple. Freeing up space in your home means making more room in your life.
Detach from the future, and to go forward
According to Feng Shui expert Caroline Gleizes*, “We surround ourselves with things for two reasons: an attachment to the past, or a fear of the future. When we become aware of this, we put ourselves back in the center, and we focus on our current need and on living in the present. ”
For example, we might keep a puzzle with three missing pieces, or toys that are no longer used and dusty… it is time to ask yourself the question of attachment to the object, of its usefulness. Decluttering allows us to look to the future rather than to stay in the past: we collect items to reassure ourselves. If we are able to let go, we get closer to the feeling of freedom.
The Marie Kondo Method
The Japanese queen of declutteringproposes the concept “home detox”, which has been proven successful since 2012 with several bestsellers’ books and a TV show on Netflix. Her idea is to do a selective sorting in order to rediscover a new “spark of joy” in the things that we want to keep.
Her technique does not recommend sorting out room by room, but more by categories. We start with clothes, then books, administrative papers, “komonos” (all the everyday objects), before finishing with sentimental objects, family photos, letters, all the memories that create a certain emotion. This precise order aims to refine our approach to what “inspires joy”.
Three types of storage
The basics of tidying up
It is essential to proceed methodically and step by step, room by room, no more than one room per day.
First step: take stock of your belongings, then take it all out. Gather all similar objects (e.g. all coats, including those in other rooms or in the basement). Once you have everything in front of you: sort it all out. Ask yourself: do I still like this coat, do I wear it often, do I look good with it, is it still in perfect condition, etc.?
Second step: I give, I throw away, I label. I organize by category, I classify it in a reasoned, practical and logical way. If needed, I also prepare adapted and specific storage spaces.
Do a deep sorting out on a regular basis. At each change of season, for example, dedicate a day to your apartment. Sort everything out, clean it, pamper it from floor to ceiling. Making your place “like new” does not only make your space feel better, it also “refreshes” its spirit.
The daily cleaning, inevitable moment
Once you’ve basically tidied up everything, you must immediately set up a new routine: everything has its place and must go back to it. Every time you use or move an object, you will have to put it back in place, immediately and automatically. These daily actions will free up your space and your mind.
The type of cleaning that irritates you, makes you sigh
This is often the type of mess that you are not responsible for, especially if you share your home with a partner, family, or roommates. In the long run, it can be very annoying and create tension if everyone leaves their stuff lying around. It’s always the same people who are tidying up – at least it seems that way. So, it’s a good time to distribute the tasks again.
To ensure that your efforts are not in vain and that the mess does not come back because of others’ laziness, set the rules. The idea is for everyone to play the game. Explain, watch, encourage and praise, until everyone is on the same page. I set the example. I set the rules. I explain, encourage, lead and congratulate.
A recognized technique is the 12 minutes of shared cleaning per day, no more: each person puts away anything; the mess that belongs to the other person or their own. Everyone is responsible for the entire space.
Three tricks to avoid being overwhelmed
“One in, one out”
The important thing, once the cleaning has been done, is not to be overwhelmed again by objects that are not needed. To avoid this, we can apply the “one-in, one-out” method: when we buy something new, we throw away or give away another object.
90/90 (or 6 months)
“Have I used this item in the last 90 days? If not, will I use it in the next 90 days?” If the answer is no for both, you can get rid of it without any remorse.
Another version, for clothing: everything that I haven’t worn in the last six months can disappear.
No more “just in case”
These are probably the three most dangerous words in your journey for simplicity. In case the heating breaks down; in case I meet a collector of old game consoles, in case I have about 30 guests for dinner in my studio… It’s up to you to identify your “just in case” things and say goodbye to them.
* I stop living in disorder !, by Caroline Gleizes-Chevallier, Editions Eyrolles