What special equipment do I need to start decluttering and organising?

None.

There, that was a short post.

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Only kidding, I’ll explain….

When we start something new we often get caught up in a whirl of excitement and enthusiasm. We want to start NOW. We want to start well. Best foot forward, as one might say. If we can’t start immediately, because we’re away from home for example (as many of you lovely readers will be right now, lounging on your loungers and sipping cooling beverages), it’s tempting to make any sort of start you can.

Let me give you my Real Life Example:

Recently I took up running again. I ran a few (five) years ago and enjoyed it, though I never got to the stage of feeling like a runner. I always felt like I was playing the part of a runner. Anyway, I took up running to support a friend who was doing a series of races in memory of her darling mum who she’d sadly lost not long before.

However – I couldn’t start immediately. My running shoes with the orthopaedic insole were at my mum’s, and I could injure myself running in unsupportive shoes. Come to think of it, those shoes at my mum’s were five years old and aren’t trainers a bit like bras, mascara, and milk, with a very specific shelf life? My wife convinced me I should treat myself to a new pair and grumpily I agreed, thinking of my knees and ankles.

Oh, and a sports bra. After pregnancy and becoming a mum there was no way I’d fit into my ‘old’ one (I didn’t. I checked. I cried a little) so I’d need to buy a new model. More supportive etc.

And did I even HAVE any running tights or leggings here in Malta? Yes, but patently unsuitable for even Malta’s coolest April days. Luckily I found some suitably aerated ones (i.e. they had little sporty looking holes in the sides) to help me stay chilled.

There. Now I could run.

Realistically I could probably have made do with a Very Supportive bra, my second best very comfortable Nikes and a slightly unflattering pair of LuluLemon shorts (what was I thinking? I don’t have the thighs of a gymnast anymore). But it was like I needed to celebrate getting started.

I’ve noticed that this is a bit of a habit of mine. Whenever any life event happens – travel, sickness, pregnancy, new career, weight loss, weight gain….etc…. my first step is to buy a book. I feel the need to literally prepare myself in some way for the journey ahead, or review the journey I’ve been on.

I never used to have a problem with this habit, and even when I Tidied My Life I was happy and confident with my still-bountiful bookshelf, because it represented my journey through life very visually. People visiting my home could see what sort of person I was. I could use the books as a reference in times when I needed reassurance, comfort or inspiration.

The KonMari method is very clear that there is no specific number of items you ‘should’ have – this is one of the things I love so much about working with it. I may feel that 256 books is my ‘click’ point. My friend Sally, an English and Drama teacher, might have closer to 700 and feel really happy that those 700 are the right amount and selection.

However, I’m finding myself, along with scores of friends, clients and peers, increasingly concerned with the sheer amount of consumption that just being alive seems to generate.

So I’m trying to cut down on Buying A Book for every single event, unless that book is highly recommended or essential for my work. Instead I’m trying to use the library more (and more efficiently – goodbye fines). Instead of leaving books in a sort of purgatory after being read, I’m asking friends if they’re interested and posting them on to them, and asking that the friends repeat the process. I am of course trying not to use the plastic bags for loose fruit and vegetables, and was delighted to hear that Valyou have started a service where you can bring and fill your own containers for certain foods. I’ll keep you updated on all of this.

Where were we?

Oh yes. So although it feels like you might need ‘stuff’ to start your decluttering journey to a more organised life, you really don’t. The only thing I recommend is that you read Marie Kondo’s ‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying’ to understand the method fully. This is essential. It’s a fun and easy read though.

Things you won’t need:

*A roll of garbage bags. Most people have a cupboard filled with supermarket bags. Use most of these first – how many do you actually need to keep?

*Specialised storage boxes, e.g. shoe boxes. Don’t even consider buying any sort of storage until you’ve finished decluttering. You might think ‘but buying a pretty tray to keep my scarves on isn’t going to affect how many pans I keep’. Not directly, but when you have finished organising your Komono (miscellaneous items) you may find that some items previously kept in the kitchen no longer seem to fit there, e.g. the ‘best’ candlesticks that are used once per year. Declutter a category, then organise it temporarily. When all categories are decluttered and temporarily organised, you can go back and tweak a final time. Then you’ll know what storage items you need.

*Cardboard or plastic storage boxes. ‘But if I’m storing items temporarily I need to put them somewhere’. Just put them into the shelves, drawers and cupboards you were using anyway. There’s no need to bring new, pristine plastic and cardboard products into your home for this purpose. Think of the planet, please.

*New, matching hangers. Perhaps later down the line you’ll decide to replace your exisiting ones. Great! But wait until you’ve finished the whole process. Clients often finish the final category, sentimental items, and decide to revisit their clothes with a much more decisive joy check! Buying too early means you’re likely to buy too much, or the wrong type. It’s hard, but wait it out.

*A label maker (unless working with children or your office space, or large numbers of documents). Most people with a ‘normal’ amount of items do not need to label drawers or jars to remember what’s in them. One of the main points of KonMari is that you can see more of your items immediately, so there should be very little hidden away in storage boxes.

TL;DR?

It’s tempting to buy things to prepare to declutter. Resist!

Having a clear vision and the want to begin are the most important things.

Finalise your storage after tidying all categories, and then identify which storage items you now need.

***Beautiful photo courtesy of unsplash.com/maxvdo

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