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We all know staying on top of a home’s cleanliness can feel like a full-time job, trying to keep high traffic areas clean when they’re cluttered takes that job from rough to impossible. Let’s get real, half of cleaning IS tidying and organizing, and it sure gets a lot more difficult to clean a space when it’s disorganized. There’s been tidying and cleaning schedules, lists, organizers, books, blogs, and videos for longer than we can remember. Let’s review some current tips and tricks known for helping keep the house feel organized for you and less than scary for guests. Watch out Martha Stewart, we about to be on a tidying spree. Don’t stop us now!

Alright, if you’ve googled the word “tidy” or “clean” in the last few years, you’ve heard of Marie Kondo. “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” is Marie’s mega-seller blending autobiography, life philosophies, genius clothes-folding tricks, and decluttering strategies. The book arrived in America in 2014, between the book and her Netflix show she’s become a household name, and over four million copies of the book have sold worldwide. The particular take-away viewers and readers continue to talk about is the “spark joy” challenge. Family, celebrities, church friends, someone you know will make a reference to this mysterious concept eventually. Kondo’s view on clearing out cluttered homes is both simple and insightful when heard and applied. In an interview with The Guardian, she explains “A lot of people hit a roadblock because they feel they have to throw something away, but that’s not the point. It’s about understanding what needs to go versus what’s important to you.” The catch phrase and tagline, “Does it spark joy?” is a challenge Kondo instructs clients to use when holding any item they are attempting to tidy and put it to the test! What do you feel when you hold it? Does it thrill you? Remind you of beautiful memories? Spark a little happiness? No? Time to let it go.

Disclaimer: Servant Remodeling does not advise the “spark joy” philosophy to be utilized on spouses, children, employers, or visiting relatives.

So, we all have a few busy months and now the neighbors are knocking on the door and you’re running the clutter from the kitchen island into the laundry room to hide in the dryer? Okay, maybe that’s just us, we’re not too proud to admit it. Here’s some common high traffic areas and items known to get overwhelming, let’s see how others tackle them.

Counters and Tables

We know it’s true. Mail? Counter. Newspapers? Counter. Or table. Magazines? Counter or basket. Candles, bottle caps with useful points codes, unfinished projects, borrowed items waiting on their return trip, we could go on forever. Many households’ clutter may be different items, but the places tend to be the same. Here’s a few areas and items that can easily turn us into clutter-bugs:

Magazines, newspapers and mail:

  1. Get it all in front of you in one place.
  2. Come up with a strategy for when you will take in all this material you have saved.
  3. Do you see a few copies you are confident guests may leaf through?  Then the good ones are probably best kept for bathroom or coffee table reading.
  4. Good recipes you KNOW you’re going to use? Clip out or remove your favorite articles or pages and get a nice binder with those plastic page sleeves in it. Keep what you want to reference later and ditch the rest. Boom! Got you a cookbook now.
  5. Keep that “reduce, reuse, recycle” in mind, there are some great places to donate books and magazines that are leaving home.
  6. Have a special bin or folder for important mail, a bit of an “on-deck” area for needed documents, before they’re permanently filed away.
  7. Recycle or shred what you don’t need to keep.
  8. Know you can actually unsubscribe to junk mail? Opt out of prescreened credit card and insurance offers by visiting optoutprescreen.com or calling 1-888-5-OPT-OUT. The “Data and Marketing Association” accounts for most of the junk mail you receive, a program that costs you $2 blocks unwanted DMA mail for 10 years. Consider visiting direct marketing agencies online, unsubscribing, then just printing out coupons you actually intend to use. This is great for ValPak and RetailMeNot.

Closet

Monster in your closet? It could be all your thick denim and sweaters that haven’t been gone through for years. We can narrow it down to just ONE ugly Christmas sweater to save for the holiday party, right? Better get those old 70’s shorts out just to embarrass the kids! Here’s a few ideas.

  1. Declutter by category, get all the blouses out, once complete, start on pants, repeat.
  2. Marie Kondo has her clients take EVERY SINGLE item of clothing they own and pile it on the bed, then begin the “Does it spark joy?” challenge. That sure could be quite a mountain, just another idea on how to tackle the clothes-monster! This one tends to get completed pretty quickly, on account of wanting to sleep in your own bed.
  3. Empty out and give closet a good deep clean.
  4. Design or redesign your ideal closet. Does your current one meet your needs? Does its improvement involve expanding a wall? Changing the layout of the master bedroom? We know just the guy for the job!
  5. Explore the organization tools at your local store or online, keeping certain clothing or important but not frequently used items in small bins or shelves can really. Help transform a closet.
  6. Store, stack or hang clothes by category, even check out having colored hangers coordinate with clothing
  7. Heard of the hanger trick? Hang all clothing with the hanger “pointing” away from the closet wall, when you use and then clean the item, hang it up the natural way, opposite the front-facing hangers. Let a few months go by, you may be surprised at how little you wear of your entire wardrobe. This can definitely help make that donation bin a little easier to fill up!

Dresser Drawers

Okay, so Marie Kondo is on to something. Here’s her tips for dresser drawers:

  1. Empty drawers before you organize.
  2. Fill your drawers with smaller boxes that give you structure when needed, this keeps shirts or pants from mixing around, or hiding smaller items.
  3. Fold using Kon-Mari method (Get her book and learn this, you won’t regret it!)
  4. Place folded items into drawer vertically. Yes, vertically, where that small amount of each article of clothing is showing as you open drawer and prevents the removal and disorganization of all the clothes.

Kitchen Drawers

  1. For kitchen drawers, consider getting rid of multiples you have of cooking utensils that aren’t used much. Take a look at the single-use gadgets that may not need to stay or pull out all the appliances you end up with, see if a few that aren’t used could find new homes. Get the right structure for your drawers to keep tools and items separate.
  2. Don’t forget about the pantry! Get a handle on what’s expired and what can be donated.
  3. Shameless plug: Just hire Servant Remodeling to come in and give you twice the cabinet and storage space you currently have. It’s one of our clients’ most common issues, we just had to say it.

 

Hope some tips and tricks in here could help next time you’re tidying. Sometimes we get in front of the clutter and it just appears to have created itself! Whether it’s holding your items to measure their positive energy, or standing in front of bins labeled donate, trash, store or keep, we wish you the best. Don’t we always hear “surround yourself with uplifting, positive people?”

Take that mindset and tidy with it! Surround yourself with the things you love and ditch the rest.