In this transitional time of year when I start pulling sweaters out of storage, making soups, and staying cozy indoors, I always find myself thinking both “Wait, what? Where did the summer go?!” and “Holy crap, I don’t know where it went, but I know that I wasn’t spending it doing housework, that’s for sure….” Then before I know it, holidays are here, friends and family are in town, and I’m shoving piles into closets that are held shut only by a prayer and am digging through weird random basement boxes looking for wrapping paper and extra plates. Agh!
When the weather is nice, I’m just not interested in staying inside my hot little house to clean and organize, and by the time the rain comes, I find myself overwhelmed, trapped in piles of junk to sort and tidy up before I can settle in and start eating fatty foods and knitting nonstop (my favorite winter activities). I don’t want to unpack my camping gear, or fold up my tank tops and summer dresses, or pull out the dead vegetable plants from my garden, or clean out the gutters….but I must, and I need to find a place to start. If you’re anything like me, this is where the real challenge is.
Thankfully, as always, the internet is there to help with tips, tricks, articles, and encouragement from strangers and professionals, though it’s hard not to get stuck in the research rabbit hole; luckily, I’ve fallen in on your behalf and emerged with what I think are some real gems to get you (really, “us”) motivated.
Depending on your personality type, you will either love or hate Marie Kondo, Japanese decluttering goddess whose divisive book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” became a crazy hit a few years ago. The basis of her organizational method is to pare down your belongings based on whether or not they “spark joy” when you hold/use/look at them. That moth eaten sweater that you save for cold weather yardwork or sitting around a smokey bonfire doesn’t make you feel pretty when you wear it? Chuck it. The brand new, uncomfortable shoes that you keep trying on then change out of right before you leave the house? Set them free to be appreciated by someone with a narrower foot. A bit too mystical for some, but I found that her book actually made a lot of sense. When you look at your stuff and are truthful about the way it makes you feel and the reason you hold on to it, it’s much easier to let go of. If you don’t feel like reading a whole book about tidying (understandable), you can find some helpful articles about her methods here and here.
Besides basic house cleaning, organization can definitely extend to technology. Please don’t ask me about my old AOL account with thousands upon thousands of junk and probably some not junk e-mails from 10 years ago, or the drawer full of old cell phones and i-pods that have music and pictures on them that I “might need”. I really liked this short, simple article (with diagrams!) about cleaning up that includes suggestions for tech tidying.
Okay, this one has a title that’s a little risque, but don’t be dissuaded-it is an amazing, realistic resource for horrible housekeepers. “Unf*** Your Habitat” is inspirational and funny- think of writer Rachel Hoffman as Marie Kondo’s tough-loving, swearing, no-nonsense, crude sister that will tell you honestly to get your shiz together, but will help you along the way. Her methods are manageable for even the laziest of the lazy, and her goals are attainable for those that are in need of instant gratification. There’s a book, a great website, an app….etc. All of the things. If you need convincing to go to a website with naughty words, this success story might do the trick…..
So whether have a little, tiny, cute bit of clutter or an overwhelming mountain of junk and yuck, there are ways to get through it and make your house nice to be in, lovely to look at, and easy to navigate.