What is the KonMari Method?

How to Organize like Marie Kondo

If you haven’t heard, there’s a new way to tidy up that’s sweeping the nation. The KonMari method, originated by Marie Kondo, is a minimalism-inspired approach to keeping a tidy home by tackling your stuff category-by-category rather than room-by-room. When following the KonMari method, there are a few basic rules for you to follow.

  1. Tidy all at once

When tidying up, we tend to go room-by-room, spanning over a long period of time. Instead, devote an entire day or weekend to tidying. Tidying only one room at a time over an extended period of time will lead to your home just getting messy again quickly.

  1. Know where you want to be

Create concrete goals instead of vague ones. Just telling yourself that you want to live in a clean home is not enough. Instead, visualize what your ideal lifestyle. (FINISH)

  1. Determine if the item “sparks joy”

Having products that you can’t stand only generates negative emotions. You don’t want to look around your house and see things that only bring negativity. While tidying, pick up each item, touch it, and ask yourself if it brings you joy. If not, set it aside to donate or get rid of. It is necessary with the KonMari method to feel each of these items and use your emotions to make the decision about whether you are going to keep the item or not.

  1. Tidy by category, not location

Not everyone keeps the same items in the same location. In fact, most people don’t! For example, you may store clothes in your closet, a dresser, and in bins under your bed. Instead of just cleaning out your closet and then moving on to other areas, take all (yes all!) of your clothing out and go through each piece to decide whether it brings joy and if you’ll still use it.

  1. Tidy in order

Marie Kondo has an ideal order in which you should tidy up. This order is:

  • Clothing
  • Books
  • Papers
  • Miscellaneous items
  • Sentimental items

This whole method is about discarding items that don’t add value to your life. The intention of the KonMari method is to end up with a clutter-free home that brings joy to your life.

How to: Organize Your Living Room

Quick Tips to Keep Your Living Room Organized

Your living room is often the first room that a guest will see and is often where guests will sit. However, as it’s often the place where most people are sitting, it’s not uncommon for it to get cluttered. Clear away the clutter with these helpful tips to keep your living room organized.

  1. Keep flat surfaces clear

Flat surfaces tend to accumulate a lot of stuff, from books, papers, magazines, and mail. To start the clean-up, move all papers into one bin, and then sort through it. What are you going to keep and what needs to be tossed? After you clean up, make a plan on where these items will go in the future so that you can avoid the mess building up again.

  1. Use baskets and furniture with hidden storage

Baskets and hidden storage furniture are great ways to organize your living room. They add to your living room décor and keep you organized at the same time! Furniture with hidden storage is a great way to keep things in your living room that would usually make the room look messy.

  1. Wrangle cords

Having several cords laying around can make your living room look messy, even when it’s clean. A cable caddy can stick onto a desk or behind a TV console. They have several spots for cables to clamp into, making the cords much more organized. You can also consider using a cable zipper, which will enclose all the cables into one tube.

  1. Small spaces and shelves

Do you have small spaces that you can’t figure out what to do with? Use the space and fill it with shelving! It makes good use of space that can’t be filled with furniture and gives you a perfect place to put random items.

  1. Nesting tables

Nesting tables work well for small spaces and work perfectly as end tables. Place the shorter table underneath the main table, then pull them out when needed.

  1. Use a wastebasket

If you notice that trash tends to accumulate in your living room, consider purchasing a wastebasket. Not many living rooms tend to have a trash can, as they’re not very attractive and can smell. However, to counteract this, consider purchasing a wastebasket that matches to décor of your living room and avoid throwing away food in the basket. If this can’t be avoided and you know you will be throwing food away in it, purchase a wastebasket with a lid and deodorizing trash bags.

How to Clean Your Ceiling Fan

Cleaning Your Ceiling Fan

One thing that often gets forgotten about during the home cleaning process is the ceiling fan. Many people are too focused on collecting dust on the ground that they neglect to clean up the dust above their heads! Here are two easy ways to get your ceiling fan cleaned fast.

Using a Vacuum Cleaner

  1. See if your vacuum has a dusting or ceiling fan attachment

Many vacuums come with the attachment that is specifically for dusting. This gets placed over the vacuum’s hose and makes it easier to dust surfaces. If you don’t have one, you should consider getting one. A vacuum attachment typically costs around $10. The attachment you use should be wide and flat.

  1. Extend

Extend the vacuum handle so that it can reach the ceiling fan. If you have high ceilings (or you’re too short!) you may need to get a step stool or ladder to give you the elevation you need. Make sure you can reach the full length of the fan’s blade from where you are standing.

  1. Clean

Run the vacuum cleaner over the blades. The attachment will loosen the settled dust so the vacuum hose can suck it up. Go back over each blade after each swipe to make sure that you’ve picked up all the dust.

  1. Look for stray dust

Look around the surrounding area to see if any dust is on the floor or the furniture. If there is, the dust can be vacuumed up!

Cleaning by hand

  1. Use a cloth or a dusting glove

Dusting gloves slip onto your hand to let you wipe away dust. If you don’t have a dusting glove and don’t want to go out and purchase one, a cloth works just fine! If you’re using a cloth instead of a glove, dampen the cloth slightly before dusting. This will let the cloth hold more dust while cleaning.

  1. Get closer to the fan

Position yourself just under or slightly to the side of the fan. Cleaning your fan by hand makes it easier to stabilize the blades. When cleaning by hand, you will need to get up on a ladder or step stool to get closer to the fan. Be careful when using a ladder. You may want to have someone hold the ladder to prevent it from rocking.

  1. Dusting spray

Using a dusting spray, such as Pledge, will help get the best clean. However, some dusting sprays may contain wax, which isn’t good for certain surfaces. Look into what’s in your dusting spray and make sure that it reacts well with what material your fan is made of.

  1. Wipe clean

Spray the dusting spray and go over each fan blade with the cloth or dusting glove using straight strokes. If there is a lot of dust, you may need to go over the spot more than once.

Five Things to Declutter

What to Declutter

It’s human nature to hold on to stuff. However, this leads to a cluttered and messy household. If you don’t know where to start when clearing clutter, here are few things to get rid of first.

  1. Cell phones

Often, people will hold onto old cell phones that they no longer use. This may be because people don’t want to take the time to wipe the phones clean. Sometimes, people hold onto old phones with the hope that they could be worth something one day. However, these phones are just taking up space. Clear out any phones that don’t work. You can recycle them or sell the parts to a local repair shop.

  1. Cords and charges

Just like phones, people hold onto chargers and cords. These can be from anything, from old phones, tablets, computers, and so on that have been accumulating for years. You can recycle the cords or donate them to someone who can use them.

  1. Old cameras

Unless you are a professional photographer, you probably don’t have any need for old, bulky cameras. Typically, the reason a person holds onto a camera is for the pictures or memories that are associated with it. Instead of holding onto the camera, make a digital or physical photo album, clear out the photos and recycle the camera.

  1. Magazines and/or newspapers

One of the most often kept items, and one that turns into clutter easily is magazines or newspapers. When they come every month, week, or day, it can be hard to keep up with what you want to read and they often pile up. It can be especially difficult getting rid of print publications that don’t exist anymore. Go through your stacks, keep any magazine or clipping that holds nostalgic value, and recycle the rest. If you really don’t want to part with one, consider scanning it to create a digital copy before recycling it.

  1. Clothes

Clothes are another thing that we seem to hold on to frequently. Whether you get new clothes because of the season or because you grew out of them, there seems to be a constant stream of clothes coming into the home. The only problem is that a lot of the time, there isn’t a stream of clothes coming out of the home. Go through your closet and separate out things that don’t fit anymore or that you simply don’t wear anymore. Any high-end clothing that is in good condition can be sold at a consignment shop, on social media, or through an app. Consider donating the rest of the items to a local shelter or youth home.

 

Prepare Your Backyard for Summer Fun

Summer is officially here and its time to enjoy endless sun. Enjoy the warm weather with family and friends. Here are some tips to get ready for the summer season.

backyard summer fun

Tips to Prepare your Backyard for Summer Fun

Landscaping

Invest in some yard work. Spruce up your greenery and garden. Cut the grass and trim any untamed bushes and shrubs. Remove any unwanted weeds. Take care of any brown or yellow spots throughout your yard by planting new grass. Plant new flowers to brighten your backyard.

Clean your deck/patio

After a long winter, it is important to give your deck/patio a good clean. Wipe down furniture and the surface of the deck. Use restoring paint to revitalize worn down wood. Additionally, keep an eye out for any mold or mildew that has collected during the off season.

Clean your grill

Wipe down the exterior, grates, and cook box of the grill. Furthermore, turn your grill on and check the ignition system for future usages.

Lighting

Get creative with light when it gets dark. Hang trendy string lights or place candles inside mason jars for a cozy and intimate look. Light up the walkways and patio with outdoor torches.

How to Organize Your Closet

Are you unable to open your closet doors without clothes spilling out?  Keeping a closet organized may seem like an impossible task. Here are some steps to help eliminate clutter in your closet.

closet organization

Tips to Organize Your Closet

Empty your closet 

While it may seem extreme to remove everything from your closet, it is essential for a good clean. Wipe down the baseboards and vacuum any dust. Removing all your clothes may even result in rediscovering any lost items.

Declutter 

Now its time to declutter. Separate your clothes into three distinct piles: “keep” , “donate”, and “unsure”. Indicate the “unsure” pile with sticky notes. If you wear any clothes in the “unsure” pile in the next six months, remove the sticky note. Any clothing remaining with sticky notes after six months, donate to local organizations such as GoodWill Stores or the American Red Cross. Donating clothing may also qualify you for tax deductions. Find more information about charitable tax deductions here

Organize your Closet into Categories 

Before putting your clothes back into your closet, take time to organize the space. Create easily accessible areas for any favorite clothing. Furthermore, arrange your closet based on weather. During colder months, clothing such as sweaters and jackets should be easily available. Switch it up for warmer months. Transition shorts and t-shirts to the front of your closet in preparation for warmer weather.

 

Easy Ways to Keep Your Home Office Organized

home office organization

Home Office Organization

Working from home appears to be the ideal arrangement. To be able to complete your work day from the comfort of your own home seems cheap, easy, and far less stressful. Although a great deal of people envy those that are able to do their work in their pajamas, it many not be as carefree as it seems, especially if your home office is a chaotic disaster. Keeping a home office organized with no clutter seems almost impossible for many. But don’t worry. Here’s few guidelines to maintain a tidy home office:

Organizing Documents and Papers

Do you have piles of bills, receipts, medical documents, and work papers consuming your home office, making it extremely hard to get any actual work done? One of the biggest difficulties that people have when working from home is keeping their home and work life separate.

The first step in separating these two parts of your life is decluttering. This can be a daunting process, but it’s necessary. Sift through all of your documents and separate them into categories, first broadly into work and non-work, and then more specifically depending on what each paper deals with. During this process, you will also be able to determine what papers are important and will be able to discard what you no longer need. After you have made specific categories for the papers that are cluttering your desk, you can chose the best organizational tactic for you. You may want to organize these papers by using just a couple folders or an accordion folder if there are not that many categories. If you have a lot of documents, a filling cabinet may be your best bet.

Cleaning-Up Drawers 

It is important to not only keep the surface of your desk clean, but also organize the inside of your desk. Having a place for all of your miscellaneous office supplies helps keep clutter at bay. Drawer organizers are the perfect way to keep your work supplies from getting messy and disorganized. Designating a specific section for pens, sticky notes, paperclips, highlighters, butterfly clips, etc. in each segment of the organizer helps keep clutter off your desk and out of your mind.

Wall Storage

Another great way to keep your work space at home from becoming cluttered it to utilize your wall space. Hanging bulletin boards and white boards on the walls of your home office helps in keeping documents and ideas organized while allowing for more work space on your desk. This is the perfect way to keep important, relevant papers that you need on your desk readily available while allowing yourself to have room to work.

Cords

In today’s day and age it is almost impossible to work without technology, and working from home is out of the question without technology. Many people use computers, smart phones, tablets, and so much more throughout their daily work life. Each device requires a way of charging and these chargers can be another source of clutter to your work place. Although it does not seem like much, by designating a specific area for these charging cords your work space will become a lot less overwhelming. A specific drawer or basket for these cords would work just fine.

How to Organize a Playroom on a Budget

Do you find yourself feeling extremely stressed when you walk into your child’s playroom? Are you constantly picking up small toys and cleaning up messes so much that it almost feels like a full time job? You are definitely not alone: keeping a tidy playroom is a daily struggle for most if not all parents.

Play Room Organization

Here’s a few different ideas to help you transform your chaotic and disorderly playroom into an organized and tidy space:

Recycled Cans for Craft Supplies

Cleaning up after a large arts and craft project can be super stressful for parents. Having a place for all arts and crafts supplies is the first step towards reducing this stress. An inexpensive way to store all your art supplies is to recycle and repurpose old cans. Give each can a specific label . A great craft to do with your child when you first use these cans to decorate them and label them in creative ways.

Baby Wipe Containers

Are you always throwing away those empty plastic packages of baby wipes? Before you toss out that next container, listen to some of these ideas. Baby wipe containers can be utilized as the perfect storage unit in your child’s playroom. They are great for separating different toys and the lids are perfect for keeping things from falling out. Decorating and labeling the containers not only brightens the playroom, but also helps your child understand that each toy has a place.

Hanging Basket for Books

Having a place for your children’s books is essential to maintaining an organized playroom. By placing hanging baskets on the walls, your child is able to easily place the books back after using them. It is important to have these baskets located lower on the wall so that your child is able to reach them and put them back neatly. Also, by only having two or three baskets you are able to declutter and throw away some of those books that your child has not read in years. It is also a good idea to keep rotating the books in and out of the baskets so that there is not an overflow of books that are unable to fit. Chicken wire baskets are great for this! They can be purchased for under $10 at Walmart and are durable enough to last a while.

Magnetic Strips to Store Matchbox Cars

Do you find yourself constantly stepping on those sharp, tiny matchbox cars cluttering your playroom? An innovative way to organize these bothersome trinkets is a magnetic strip. Instead of just throwing these small cars in bins that take up a lot of room, place a magnetic strip on your wall. This method gives every car a place to be stored while also brightening up the room. Clean up with magnetic strips is cheap, painless, and easy.

Wired Laundry Basket for Stuffed Animals

Children love to collect countless stuffed animals from stores, carnivals, and arcades. Although these soft toys can really clutter a room, you do not necessarily need to throw them all away or spend a lot of money on storage. Instead, you can buy an inexpensive wired laundry basket, which is large enough to fit a good amount of stuffed animals. Tell your child that they are able to keep all the stuffed animals that fit in the bin, but must get rid of the rest. This teaches them an important lesson in hanging onto clutter all while keeping the room tidy for your sake.

Hanging Board Game Storage

Board games are a great way to keep your child busy for an extended period of time and teach them valuable skills, but somehow they always seem to lose parts and are often carelessly thrown into a closet after playing. A great tool to help with the organization of board games is a hanging closet organizer, usually used for clothing. These organizers can be found at stores like Target for $10-$15. They allow for each board game to have its own place, making clean-up a lot easier.

Cleaning Your Home: Stress-Saving Tips

Cleaning your home can be a tedious and overwhelming task, especially if your home is particularly large or you haven’t cleaned in a while.

cleaning the home

Here’s a few tips to minimize the stresses of cleaning and save yourself time in the future:

1. Come up with a system

Cleaning your house will go much faster if you plan out when and where to start. Making a checklist, for example, can speed things along greatly and keep you on task. Checking items off of your list can also be very rewarding. Another idea is to break your house up into sections that can be cleaned together or with the same tool. Consider washing all of your hardwood or tile floors at once, or dusting all furniture on the first floor before moving on to the second. “Chunking” your house can also be coupled with making a checklist.

2. Keep all of your tools together

Keeping important cleaning items together can simplify your cleaning process and make it easier for you to get started. Having everything in one closet or even one basket can save you from running around the house in search of every item you need to start cleaning. Another idea is to go as portable as possible. When buying cleaning supplies, look for items and tools that can all fit in one carrying case. This will simplify the storage of your supplies and give yourself just one thing to grab before you clean.

3. Think about what you need

When cleaning, its understandable to resist throwing something away for fear that you may need it someday. Although complete certainty is unrealistic, you can make reasonable judgements about whether or not you will actually use something in the future. Have you used it regularly in the past 3 months? Is it something used seasonally? Did you forget you had it until just now? Asking yourself questions like these will help you decide whether to save the item or throw it away. Items of personal significance are a little different, and the value of these items is much more subjective. Reducing clutter is important, but you don’t have to throw away old family photos or your grandmother’s necklace in order to do so.

4. Transition to maintenance cleaning

Cleaning can be especially overwhelming if it’s not something you do regularly. Allowing clutter and grime to build up over a long period of time just makes it harder to clean your house in one day or one weekend. If you have let things accumulate in the past, consider sticking to a regular maintenance schedule (after having cleaned your house entirely, of course). Although it may feel like a burden at first, sticking to a schedule can reduce the total amount of time you spend on cleaning in the long run and overall make your cleaning more effective.

Also, recycle! Use recycling as an outlet for unwanted clutter as opposed to just throwing it away. Learn more about recycling here.

Composting: How to Get Started

Composting is a great way to occupy your time and improve your property, all while reducing your impact on the environment.

composting

How to start your own compost pile:

What You’ll Need

A good compost pile is composed of many layers. These layers are typically categorized as either “brown” or “green.” Brown layers include items such as leaves, dead flowers, newspapers, and cardboard that are rich in carbon. Conversely, green layers include items high in nitrogen content like vegetable scraps, fruit peels, and grass clippings. Gather the materials you wish to compost and separate them into these two categories. You’ll also want to buy some garden soil to mix in with the brown and green materials. Designate an area in your backyard for your new compost pile that is at least 3 feet long by 3 feet wide. If you want to get really serious, consider buying a metal compost bin or even using an old trash can to hold your compost. Otherwise, starting it right on the ground is fine.

How-To

First, lay down a thick layer of brown materials at the compost site. Then, cover this first layer with a coating of green material about 6 inches thick. Spread a thin layer of garden soil over the green layer, making sure to cover the entire area. Top this off with another brown layer and then add water to moisten it. It is best to repeat this process until your pile is about 4 feet high. After you’ve built your compost pile, the next job is to maintain it. The decomposition process is greatly aided by the presence of oxygen, and so it is important to turn your compost pile with a shovel or pitchfork every 2-3 weeks. This will expose the entirety of the pile to oxygen and speed along the decomposition process. When adding new material to your compost, simply mix it into the whole pile. There is no more need for layering at this point.

Using Your Compost

You can use your compost in a variety of ways, from enriching the soil in your garden to keeping your lawn fresh and healthy. You can even just tend to your compost pile as-is, and use it to dispose of your food waste. Having a compost pile is a fun and easy way to cut costs on gardening supplies and keep your food scraps out of a landfill.

No Backyard? No problem!

Don’t have a backyard? You can still compost even without a backyard. One preferred method is vermicomposting, or “worm” composting. This method is fast and incredibly portable, using a well-ventilated bin and the decomposing abilities of worms to get the job done. If you don’t want to compost inside your house, consider looking into compost pick-up services in your area. Your neighborhood may offer this service, but if not, there are plenty of privately-owned services as well.

Happy composting!