By Ana Rubenstein
At the beginning of 2019, I made the commitment of bringing organization to my life but I had no idea how to start. At first, I was overwhelmed and even afraid of telling people in my life about what I was up to. “What about if I fail again or can’t keep up?” This thought was always in the back of my mind. I finally found the courage to share my 30-Day-Decluttering Challenge with my friends and family, with readers of this blog, and with my followers on social media. As I did it, some of them became my accountability partners by asking me how my project was going, and, most importantly, by sharing how I inspired them to organize and declutter their own houses. Wait? What? Me? My mother would never believe this actually happened. It did and my community keeps encouraging me to become what I always wanted to be but never thought I could: an organized person with a house that sparkles me with joy.
I am happy to announce that, for 21 days in a row (yay, I missed one day of this challenge), I have been decluttering my house, one drawer at the time following Marie Kondo’s home organization method. By the way, I just finished watching her Netflix show – Tidying Up with Marie Kondo – and I could not recommend it more if you are looking for some inspiration to start decluttering your home. My master bedroom has worked as my pilot project and it became my favorite part of our house, an area that literally sparkles me with joy. Everywhere I look now, there is something I like, from the sunset painting on the wall to the winter light that comes through the window. Now, instead of wanting to hide it from guests, I am proud to show it to them. I know, you call me a show-off but honestly, the rest of the of the house is still very disorganized, especially the kids’ playroom, the kitchen, and the garage.
That doesn’t worry me anymore because I am focusing on my daily progress, big or small, instead of what it is still missing. That has been making a big difference for me. And having in mind that, one day at the time, I improve on my habits for an organized house and life. For example, I have been making my bed for 20 days straight. This, mama friends, is big progress for me. If you don’t believe me, ask my husband.
Before I let you go to start your own decluttering, I want to share a few things I learned here and there since I started this challenge and a few commitments I made that will help me to prevent clutter from coming back to my house.
1) Stop buying more stuff
I made a point to stop buying until I finish decluttering at least all the closets (2 more to go) and clothing drawers (2 more to go as well). If I need something in the meantime, I can borrow it from a friend, or even ask for a donation. Something like this: “I am looking for a lamp for my daughter’s room. Do you have one sitting in your garage?” By the way, I just did this and two friends offered to give me lamps they are not using anymore. Why not start this movement of exchanging things in good condition with friends and people in our life?
And the most important piece of unsolicited advice: become more mindful about the things you buy and bring to your house. This is my biggest challenge especially when it comes to toys and things for the kids. It helps me to avoid impulsive buying when I ask myself: do I need this or do I want this? How much use is it going to get? In some cases, it might help to avoid going to Target or to the mall altogether.
2) Find a place for everything and teach your kids to do the same
Growing up, I remember being frustrated many times for not finding my things around the house. My mom was responsible for organizing all our clothes, belongings, documents and papers. Of course, she did it as an act of love, but it didn’t teach me or my brothers to be responsible for the things we owned and develop organizational skills. By the way, last week I called her to thank her for taking care of everything for so many years and apologized for all the complaining my younger self did.
But back to the present, how wonderful it will be when my house becomes a place where we can find everything we are looking for because they all have a designed place? I am already teaching my kids that as I learn myself. I hope that they get the importance of being organized now and bring to their life as they grow-up.
3) When you resist donating
It sounded weird at first, but thank the clothes for being with me in important phases of life or special events, also helped me to let them go.
When I still find myself having a hard time donating something, it helps me to either give to a friend, a relative or somebody that can’t afford it instead of Good Will.
In case of my kids’ belongings, I am just now creating a sentimental box and keeping a couple of clothes, blankets, and books that someday my grandkids might inherit.
4) Folding with Love
As I master Marie Kondo’s folding method, I keep asking myself how I never thought about it before. No doubt that with this method, our drawers are looking very neat and organized. We can actually see all the clothes displayed inside them and have fun picking up the outfit for the day. It feels good for once to know where things are.
I will be back in 10 days sharing about the completion of the 30-Day-Decluttering-Challenge. It is not too late to start if you are feeling compelled to. My commitment for February is to declutter the garage and make space for, at least, one car. Let me know if you want to join me.