You’ve decluttered your clothes, books, and papers. You’ve cut your possessions in half. The next question is, where do you store everything that remains? Storage is a key component in the KonMari system outlined in the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. In fact, storing things properly is the key to a permanently clutter-free life. Learning and applying this will eliminate any chance of rebound. (If you haven’t decluttered yet because you are just finding this challenge, don’t worry! Just finish reading this post, then go back to the beginning to find out more about the challenge!)
Here is the key as stated in the book: Designate a spot for every last thing you own.
This may sound daunting, but remember that you have greatly reduced your possessions, so this is not as hard as it seems. There are a few guidelines for doing this. (Note that we have not yet discarded things from shared areas like the kitchen and bathroom, etc. However, I feel it is very helpful to know how to store things so that you can discard and then store in quick succession).
Rule 1: Store all items of the same type in the same space. For example, store all your clothing together, your electronics together, and your papers together.
Rule 2: Don’t scatter storage space. Don’t have books, movies, and other things scattered in different rooms throughout the house. For example, I have three girls, which means there is a lot of hair to brush. We have hairbrushes in random places throughout the house. These hairbrushes are always moving. If we kept them all in one place, we would never have to go searching for one.
Have you ever lost your cell phone? You know it’s somewhere in your house, but you can’t find it anywhere. Finally, you resort to calling yourself to find out where you left your phone. You have just wasted valuable time searching for the one thing you know you can’t live without. (I know this has happened to other people, but never to me. It has especially never happened when I’ve turned the sound off, so calling myself doesn’t work). Since reading the section in the book about storage, I have designated one spot downstairs and one spot upstairs for my phone. Now I always put my phone in one of these two places, and I never have to search for it! It is glorious!
Now it is time to answer the big question that you have probably had all along. What do I do about my messy family? How many times have you rolled your eyes, sighed, lectured, or gotten angry because of the mess your family members always seem to create? “It’s my children and husband who need to learn about this whole KonMari thing–not me.”
Here’s the deal. You cannot decide what to discard for your family members. You don’t know what brings them joy. However, you can store all their items in the same place. That could be their room, a closet, or a box. You don’t need to decide where every last thing goes for your husband and children. That is their job if they wish. But their stuff doesn’t get to clutter up the family space, either. It needs to be in their space. So decide where you will put each family member’s items as you are tidying, and leave it at that. Instead of sighing or muttering under your breath, very calmly deliver their items (clothing, toys, books) to their room, closet, or a box. That’s it. They may catch on if they notice that their backpack consistently shows up in their room instead of on the kitchen floor where they left it. I can’t guarantee that your children will magically decide to tidy up their own things, but the best thing for you to do is simply deliver their things to their pre-determined space. You may even have a box for each person that you throw things in as you clean, and then require them to carry the box to their room.
Simply put, “clutter is a failure to return things to where they belong.” Once you decide where everything goes, it will be easy to put things away.
Much more is covered in the book, including why you should store things vertically if possible, and which containers are the best for easily storing your things. (Hint: Mari is a big fan of shoe boxes and plastic see-through drawers).
This challenge is based on the KonMari method found in the book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. If you are just joining us, be sure to start at the beginning! It’s very important to go in order! You can also visit my Transform Your Home, Transform Your Life page for all the previous posts in this series. Don’t feel like you have to catch up if you are just finding this challenge now! Just make sure to start doing the weekly challenges from the beginning, and you will be fine!
Next week’s challenge: CDs and DVDs