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  • Writer's pictureNina Belle

2018 calls for a fresh start

(and why you don’t need to sign up to a declutter program!)

Things piling up around the house? Overwhelmed? Stressed? Have you been feeling like you need a break? It all starts with your surroundings. I am a strong believer that your environment affects your mood and attitude towards life in general.

January is the perfect month to start fresh and get things in order so you can make 2018 an epic and productive year. I’ve seen so many bloggers try to sign up people to their declutter programs. Sure, joining a program can help you be part of a community where you can share each other's progress.

But in all honesty, you don't need to sign up for a program to take charge of your life. It's all about your mindset. You can change your mindset, you just need to learn how to think differently.

Last year I read the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and it completely changed the way I perceive material possessions. There is a reason why this is the #1 New York Times best-selling guide to decluttering your home.

Do you feel like you are constantly always attempting to declutter your home? Papers are always accumulating, and clothes are constantly piling up? I know it’s a battle I always struggle with.

Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo an acclaimed consulting business in Tokyo and takes readers step-by-step through her revolutionary KonMari Method for simplifying, organizing, and storing. She takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organise your home once, you'll never have to do it again! Sounds too good to be true right? Once you read her book you will see how achievable this really is.

There’s a reason why she has a three-month waiting list! This book will help you determine which items "spark joy" (and which don't), and this is the crust of her philosophy.

I am still in the process of organising my home. I started a few months ago, and have taken a bit of a break over the festive season. But I am back into it as soon as I come back from holidays. That seems like a long time you say? Probably! But you’ve got to be realistic. You have to allow a few months, or even six months, to do it properly… ONCE. Be ruthless and throw out everything that doesn’t spark joy.

There is a certain kind of magic a tidy home brings… it inspires a calm, motivated mindset. This book can give you the inspiration to transform your cluttered homes into spaces of serenity and inspiration. I know it did for me!

Here’s my story:

I moved into my brand new house two years ago… so really I shouldn’t have had much to declutter right?… Wrong! I guess you would say I HAD hoarding tendencies… but I am NOT a hoarder. I repeat, NOT a hoarder. I would never accumulate so many boxes I wouldn’t be able to walk through my house like the crazy people on those hoarder tv shows. I do like a clean and relatively minimalist house…

I’ve always loved shopping… I mean I would only shop on the days that end in “y”. If I loved a top a would buy it in every colour, and shoes, well a girl can never have too many. I’ve worked and made my own money since I was 16, so I’ve always been a hard worker, and have always managed to be able to spend that money without guilt.

When I first moved out of home I had a tiny little villa, with a single sliding wardrobe in my room. After there I moved into a larger duplex, and I remember thinking before I moved "I am going to have so much more space!", so what did I do? Before I even started moving into the new place I started shopping, I bought all these new kitchen gadgets and appliances. Then when I actually moved into the new duplex and put everything in the kitchen…. Well, there was no room was there? The kitchen was already full and I’d only been there a few days.

A few years after that we built our dream home, with endless storage. A house can never have enough storage, right? That’s what I said when I was drawing up the plans.

Well if it’s one thing I learnt after moving into my five-bedroom dream house with endless storage is that no matter how much storage you have… it’s never enough! Basically, the more storage space you have the more you end up accumulating! Two years, and one child later, all of a sudden, my house was full of stuff again. STUFF. EVERYWHERE. And I only had one child, imagine if I had a small tribe?

It seemed I was never on top of anything. The laundry was always piling up into a mountain of clothes, and by the time I managed to iron everything and place everything back in the drawers, well the whole process started over again. Even thinking about it would give me anxiety.

Along with all the clutter in the drawers, was the clutter in my head. Brain fog, stress, depression, the inability to concentrate…. I felt like my environment was literally getting into my head and affecting my mood. “This can’t be right? This is no way to live your life!”, I remember thinking to myself.

I heard about the book 'The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up' by Marie Kondo, many years ago, and it sounded pretty drastic to me. I remembered the basic principle was if an item doesn't bring you joy, get rid of it. Well, there are plenty of things that don't bring me joy… the vacuum cleaner, so do I get rid of that? Basically, I was overanalysing it, so I never read it.

I was recently shopping online I came across the book and casually added it to my cart without thinking much. I started reading it, then I couldn't put it down. It was a page-turner and was making me question the way I organised my house. "How did I get this way? I don't know! But I can change!", I vowed to myself. Then I became ruthless. I started with my walk-in robe, and this took me nearly two weeks to sort through. I donated more than 11 large garbage bags from here.

I probably got rid of 70% of my wardrobe and that’s not even an exaggeration. Now I have so much fewer clothes than before. But I couldn’t be happier! Now when I wake up in the morning to get dressed it's a beautiful experience. I can see all my clothes, and I am able to pick my outfit in record time. I feel like I am finally at a point where I am in control of my life, I am no longer anxious about housework, and feel like a big burden has been lifted off my shoulders.

So far, I’ve decluttered my bedroom and wardrobe, linen room, laundry and daughters bedroom. Next, I've got to do the kitchen, garage and spare rooms (one of which is a storage room aka dumping ground). I look forward to sharing with you my before and after photos.

Stay tuned for part two...

Here are some tips to declutter using the Konmari method:

1. Does it spark joy?

The basic principle of the Konmari method is to pick up the item in one’s hand and ask “Does this spark joy?” If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it. The Konmari method believes that when you touch a piece of clothing, your body reacts. So, listen to your heart. You should feel happy wearing clothes that give you pleasure.

2. Tidy once

Yes, do it thoroughly once and then you’ll never need to do it again. Be realistic and allocate six months to do it properly.

3. Tidy in the right order

There is a specific order you must follow! Do not deviate from the order. The book explains this in detail but I’ve made a checklist you can follow to help you along the way.

4. Sort by category not location

In many homes, items from the same category are stored in various locations. No wonder why it can get so difficult to find something! All items should be stored by categories, not places or locations. So, if you have spare boxes of toothpaste in all your bathrooms, gather them and put them in one location. You may have a lot more than you realised!

5. You don’t need fancy storage accessories

You really don’t need to go out and spend a fortune on storage accessories! I know it can be tempting to do, but don’t waste your money! Most storage accessories don’t even help. At first, when I read that she suggests using old shoe boxes I laughed. But then I started using them and they've worked magic.

6. Folding

By neatly folding your clothes you can solve almost every problem relating to storage. The key is to store things standing up instead of flat. This minimises creases in clothing and allows you to see your clothes better when you open the drawer. I've been folding all my clothes this way now. Need some help on how to learn this technique? There are some cool YouTube videos to help you out.

7. Each item has a home

Ensure each item has a spot, and it always goes back to its spot. Seems common sense right? If it doesn’t have a dedicated spot, find where it should live.

So what are you waiting for? Have a read.

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Hey, it's me Nina!

30-something mama living down under in Sydney, Australia.

They call me a clean-fluencer but I'm just an ordinary Aussie mum trying her best to raise a happy and healthy family. 

I'm passionate about doing every day things with joy and gratitude. I am interested in holistic wellness, making a beautiful home, and all things parenting.

Join my community of like-minded women, and subscribe to my blog.

You can also keep up to date by following me on Instagram. 

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