No one needs strategies on how to acquire stuff but we are always looking for help on how to organize and get rid of stuff. The minimalism trend has strongly influenced the most popular methods that you may have tried or heard of. Some are more practical than others. There are probably one or two that you find “natural” for your personality and lifestyle. Here are three of the most famous ones.
Acclaimed organizing consultant Marie Marie Kondo and author of the book: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up has made a great impact on professional organizers and the public. Here’s a point form version of her approach.
Apply a category method in which you focus on one category of items at a time.
Focus what to keep, not what to get rid of. Once you have identified the keepers, get rid of everything else.
- Gather ALL items in your home by category (or subcategory: sweaters) and put them all in the same spot)
- Inspect each item separately
- Engage your senses. For each item, look at it, touch it, smell it, wear it
- Ask yourself “Does this item spark joy in my heart?”
- For the “keepers”, prepare them for storage then store them in an organized way using Marie’s storage methods
- Get rid of the remaining items.
- Decision making is simplified since you only choose what to keep.
- You get a good handle on how much you own because you inspect everything of the same type. It is all in the same room or place.
- This method allows you to find and get rid of duplicates or older items more easily.
- Takes time to find all items of the same type, gather them and review them.
- Takes much effort since you are inspecting every item of the same type.
- Creates temporary disorganization while the items are gathered together and placed in one room or location.
2. The 30-Day Minimalism Game
Popular bloggers, Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus of TheMinimalists.com came to the conclusion that that consumption isn’t our problem—compulsory consumption is the problem. They created a game called The 30-Day Minimalism Game.
Strategy: The game is based on an increasing number of items to eliminate each day.
Process: The is an addition game since you add to the number of items to eliminate by one every day.
You get rid of:
1 item on day 1
2 items on day 2
3 items on day 3, etc.
Fortunately, it is not exponential, which would be 1, 2, 4, 9, 16!
Whoever can keep it going the longest wins the game. You both win if you can make it to the end of the month.
- There is a degree of accountability and competition since the game is played with at least one other partner. They are playing the game with you with the same goal.
- You get rid of a lot of stuff in 1 month: (496 items in a 31-day-month)
- The game ramps up quickly. By the end of the first week, you are getting rid of 7 items in one day.
- The game builds confidence since your decluttering performance increases every day.
- The game is very hard if you fall behind, especially mid-month or later. If you miss day 15, you will need to get rid of 31 items on day 16. (15 + 16 = 31).
- The number of items to sort and review builds up rapidly making it onerous towards the end of the month.
3. Four Box Method
This is probably the default system for most people because it is easy to understand is something they would come up with on their own. This method is closely related to the “Salami Approach” as described in a recent post.
Set up four boxes to hold items for each of four destinations:
- Put away
- Give away
- Throw away/recycle
- Review items in one room or area at a time, deciding which box to use for each item. If a box is too small, create a defined area that represents the box. (Example: throw away/recycle)
- After you have dealt with one area or room, take the contents of the boxes to their appropriate destination and start over in the next room.
- Simple to understand
- Easy to categorize almost anything in your home
- Efficient (if you don’t know what to do with something, put it in the undecided box and move on)
- You may not have boxes that match the size of the items you want to place in them. In that case, consider a colour coding system using labels or coloured paper.
- The undecided box can be a crutch and can fill up quickly. This can encourage procrastination and be counterproductive.
If you could apply one method to a given set of clutter, rewind, then start over again with the same clutter using the next method, do you think the result be the same? Do you think one method would be better than the others?
What’s your natural declutter method that gets you through a pile of clutter?
* You may notice some Canadian spelling in these posts. The words may look odd but that’s how we spell them. We’re used to it.
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Unless otherwise credited, all posts are happily authored with a quill pen …
Paul Ferri, Broker, ASA (Accredited Senior Agent)
RE/MAX Unique Inc. Brokerage*, Toronto, Canada
*Each office independently owned and operated.