The January declutter and tidy frenzy is the perfect pairing with “The Year of Brooke”. Taking time to deal with the inside, heart, and home, has proven to be a relaxing task and a joyful one. This quote sheds particular light on what happens when the outside is getting out of control and what it says about the inside.
“When you are filled with inner clutter, the chaos reflects in your personality as obsessiveness, confusion, disorganization, broken speech patterns, insomnia, indecisiveness, and lack of direction. When your home and world are in disarray, you can’t relax. It takes more energy to be in chaos because you have to keep track of all the junk. Eventually exhaustion sets in. When you honestly look at clutter and ask if it’s necessary for your life, buried emotions come to the surface… Toss what’s unnecessary so that you can finally relax, and your remaining possessions will have a clear place to land.”
Thanks to Marie Kondo, I’ve learned the key ingredient to success with tidying and letting things go. Does the item spark joy and does it still serve a purpose at this moment now? These questions break down the process and hugely simplify it.
This was the process and what we found in our multipurpose room.
Lots and lots of files and there were four more piles! Years of tax files filled to the brim with unnecessary items. For over a year, at least, the intention was to look through the paperwork and discard any items that we didn’t need essentially for a tax audit. A printout had been sitting with the files for that long that included information on what to keep and discard. Why do we resist these projects? For me it was a lack of prioritizing my time and resistance to what I thought was going to be arduous paperwork. I had built a mountain out of this molehill!
In the first episode of Marie Kondo’s show she recommended getting your kids involved in the tidying process. So we did just that! My youngest daughter received a life lesson in tidying!
We found all kinds of unused coloring books, craft supplies, paintbrushes, several sets of markers. To my surprise other areas that I had created a system for, had stayed better organized than I thought. So we focused on the areas that had gotten out of control.
This is our command center for our weekly and monthly planning. I just tidied up the boards and made our meal plan for the first part of the week. The top is an inspirational poem to keep us focused on growing. The pictures are fun memories. This is also the charging station where all of our electronics go during certain hours. More on that later! The calendar serves as a family planning center. Keys hang here, mail goes here when first brought into the house and the other slot is for current family/home “to do’s”, like school projects that involve parent oversight, etc. Love this organizational system because you can customize the individual sections according to your needs and the size of the location. We purchased this years ago at Pottery Barn. You can find similar ones here.
All of our home manuals go in one cabinet on a shelf together. I go through them every time I add something new and discard things we’ve gotten rid of something. This is also where we keep notebooks for my kid’s special moments in school, business cards, printer paper, labels, computer dusting tools, and phone cords, and chargers. Inside the basket labeled chargers are zip lock bags labeled with the particular kinds of chords and chargers, keeping them all categorized and separated. It’s great to keep them from tangling. And of course, our home binder lives here with the pertinent childcare information, internet passwords, and school rosters.
Drawers are labeled and organized by the type of item.
I use a combination of baskets, bags, and boxes, and labels to keep things tidy.
Ultimately it took a day to get most of it done and over the next couple of days the details were buttoned up. My husband and I scheduled one meeting to do the files that lasted less than an hour. We can all do anything for a short duration, right?
Here are my tips for overall decluttering your home:
Back to the files….ultimately, my husband and I spent an hour with the files. Our system is now in place. Here is what we got rid of credit card statements (after reviewing for accuracy), pay stubs, miscellaneous receipts. We keep only receipts that pertain to improving the value of our home and furniture/artwork-large purchase items that we may want to declare the value of at some point. We set a new system in place to review credit card statements and then shred them immediately after checking them for accuracy. According to Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” When tidying up papers you have to divide them into three types: still in use, should be stored indefinitely, and needed for now. ” It is also encouraged to keep all papers in one place in the home. Freedom Filer is a file system we use and now that it’s purged and we have a system to keep less stuff. It works great!
In our gift wrap station, baskets serve to organize the different supplies we need to wrap gifts. I always keep one roll of brown paper ( I left it off the rod so you can see how these work) with fun ribbon and two rolls of thematic papers for different occasions (my kids feel the minimalist paper is a bit boring). Someday I will only have all organic, brown paper with ribbon for all occasions, but I don’t mind having a couple on hand for them!
The laundry area also has baskets with labels to easily find what we need. I keep all like things together with a couple additional of everything. When I get down to one or two left I reorder. I love Melaleuca for laundry supplies. More on that later!
Before the organization process, there were way too many unused books taking up shelf space and a little too much clutter from years of kids’ projects. I moved a couple to the kids’ keepsake boxes and shared many of the books with others. I let go of anything that didn’t spark joy. My bookshelves now look tidy and still reflect our family with photos and the favorite art pieces the kids gave me!
The desk area feels lighter. I took some things off of the desk, a broken tape dispenser, and tidied up the cords to my computer. We had been having a lot of internet connective issues so I installed a Google Mesh network in the home and the unit is much smaller than my Apple one so it takes up less area and works much better. I keep a binder next to my desk with all school phone numbers, childcare providers, and emergency information and also inside is a piece of paper with all of the internet passwords on it so when we have guests and someone needs information, it’s all right there!
Finally, I found things I didn’t even know I had like gift certificates, stickers for my water bottle, notebooks, and supplies that I can use for my current class. All things I would have most likely bought more of when I didn’t need to. Now we have less stuff and saving money too!
I could go on for days about tidying and organizing! It really frees you up to do the things you truly want to focus on instead of picking up extra clutter all the time. Next week I’ll share the Multipurpose Room decor with you in all of its tidy glory. Next, up is the kitchen pantry and the upstairs linen closet. Stay tuned for more tips and ideas!