You walk in the door from work and are greeted with a cluttered scene, where stacks of mail take over the counters and things just seem to be everywhere, with no proper place to go. You try to look past it as you walk to the closet, but the closet is a mess—clothes scattered across the floor or draped haphazardly over the sides of hampers, shirts hanging askew on hangers, collateral damage from the rush of getting ready in the morning. You’re so tired from a long day of work, yet instead of feeling refreshed and ready to relax when you get home, you just feel even more overwhelmed and defeated.
Clutter can really take a toll on how you experience your home and whether it “sparks joy,” as Marie Kondo would say. If you haven’t heard of Marie Kondo or the KonMari method, never fear. Her “tidying up” method is sweeping the nation, and there is a lot we can learn from her in making our homes more comfortable and organized.
Being in a disorganized space has proven to have a negative impact on our health and well-being. Having an excess of things in your surroundings can inhibit your ability to focus and process information because it forces our brains to multitask as all the stuff competes for attention, resulting in less energy for performance and a lot more stress.
More than that, clutter can also affect our mood and self-esteem. People with cluttered homes have reported feeling more depressed and fatigued and have higher levels of cortisol (the stress hormone), than those who have neat and restful homes, according to a study from Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.
Although having a well-organized space looks great, decluttering is critical in living your best and healthiest life—and Taylor Morrison is all about living an inspired life.
Most organizing advice takes on single rooms at a time. You finally get the office organized but realize the rest of the house has exploded with clutter, and while you’re decluttering those rooms, piles of paper slowly and subtly creep back in the office. Before you know it, you have to declutter the office again. The cycle goes on and on and on until you feel like there’s no way out of all the mess.
The extremely popular KonMari method does things a little differently so you only have to declutter once. The central tenet is not in organizing tons of items or using organizational storage solutions, but simply narrowing down to only the items that bring value to your life—then having a designated space in your home for each and every one of those things.
Here are a few of the top decluttering tips, inspired by the KonMari method.
Before you begin the decluttering process, take a few minutes to visualize what you hope to gain by having a neater, organized home. Maybe it’s more time to focus on your hobby instead of taking care of everyday clutter, or maybe it’s in preparation to add a new four-legged family member. Whatever it is, having a “why” for your decluttering mission can help you achieve your goal by giving it a deeper meaning. Then, letting go of things to clear room for things that truly matter to you will be a lot easier.
“The KonMari Method is to tidy all at once and in the right order. Always start with clothes, then books, followed by documents, miscellaneous (e.g. kitchen), and then finally sentimental items. If you tidy room by room instead, you’ll spend the rest of your life tidying.”
Instead of organizing by room, the KonMari method suggests organizing by category. That way, you’re not just rearranging the same clutter every time, but actually cleaning the space. Because people typically have the least emotional attachment to clothing, you should start by decluttering your clothes. In the KonMari method, it’s all about reducing the items down to only those that “spark joy.” If an item makes you happy and you want to move forward with it in your life, you keep it. Everything else should be respectfully discarded—either to the trash or to a consignment shop or donation center.
To properly declutter your clothes, you must first take every single article of clothing you own and pile it in one place. This allows you to truly see how much you have and makes it easier to go through all at once. Then it’s just a matter of deciding what items make you feel good and you want to keep.
One of the distinctions of this way of organizing is that you decide what you want to stay rather than deciding what you want to leave. It doesn’t make a big difference in what actually leaves your home but gives the process a more positive perspective. Decluttering can be a very emotional experience, and viewing the process as simply keeping items you love makes it feel refreshing and joyous.
Once you’ve “tidied up” your clothes, you move on to the next category: books, then documents/paper, miscellaneous (all the other items, like kitchen items), and lastly, sentimental items. The process is the same for each category, but it builds up your tolerance for letting go of items and saves the harder, sentimental pieces for last. By then, you’ll understand what kinds of things make your heart and your home happy.
One of the refreshing aspects of decluttering by this method is that you don’t need a lot of organizing equipment or storage solutions—just a few smaller boxes to help add sections to drawers. And these boxes can simply be shoeboxes or smaller boxes you already have around your home.
After your home has gone through the KonMari process, you’ll be able to store or display all your well-loved items with ease. For clothes, Marie Kondo recommends folding most items into a small rectangle and storing them upright in a drawer where they are clearly visible. No more digging through drawers or unstacking piles of clothes to find the sweater you’re looking for.
For sentimental items like family photos or special mementos, organize them neatly into albums or store them in pretty boxes. Or better yet, give each a display in your home. If it’s something that truly sparks joy for you, you’ll love seeing it and being reminded of it every day.
After transforming your home with a large-scale decluttering, you’ll come home to a different experience. Now, you walk in the door from work and are greeted with a neat and tidy space. There’s even a candle burning, lending the space a warmth and coziness you’ve been hankering for all day. It’s calming and relaxing. In fact, you’re feeling pretty refreshed as you walk to the closet, and when you get there to change out of your work clothes, you’re met with a pristine environment where everything is neatly hung or folded in its place, and you feel recharged and ready to enjoy the evening.