Minimalizing and decluttering is all the rage these days. Everyone’s hopping on the KonMari Method. It can take a messy abode and turn it into a neat and orderly home practically overnight. Let’s also mention it makes finding anything from a book to a shirt as easy as pie. Heck, it’s also sure to help deliver some peace and quiet to our thoughts. Peace and quiet is definitely better than the constantly stressed-out feeling one gets walking through a perpetually overcrowded, messy house.
Applying the KonMari Method to your storage areas
However, one must resist the temptation to clear out their house by simply transferring everything into storage spaces where no one will see it. If you can relate, this post is just what the doctor ordered — or at least what Miss Marie Kondo ordered. We’re going to take a look at her wildly popular KonMari decluttering and organizing method. Then see how it can help specifically with:
- the basement
- and other storage spaces
What exactly is the KonMari Method?
Marie Kondo’s book The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing (yes, it’s a mouthful!) along with her popular Netflix show have created house-decluttering waves all over the world. The Japanese author has become a massive success and has acquired a huge, diehard following … and a host of well-crafted memes to boot!
Her method tends to eschew traditional organizing approaches, pointing out that they do as much harm as good. Many of the existing practices tend to help with overall damage control. Marie Kondo is more focused on a single, revolutionizing sweep through one’s abode, clearing out anything that doesn’t “spark joy.” It also means making sure everything, and we mean everything, has a purpose.
It implements feng shui principles, which focus on the use of space and the orientation of the items within it. It also works actively against the thought that you’ll “eventually” need to use that something-or-other item at some point in the future. If it’s not being used or sparking joy, don’t keep it.
Hard for hoarders
This can be a hard lesson to learn, as things that truly spark joy can be hard to come by in any hoarder’s abode. That’s where the other side of the KonMari coin comes in. If you want long-term, sustainable results, one of the most important things you’re going to want to change: your mindset. If you can learn to truly maintain a minimalist mindset on a regular basis, the initial purging of your possessions may be the only such apocalyptic event necessary to maintain a tidy and reformed abode.
Once the lesson sinks in, it can seriously transform and elevate not only your physical spaces but your whole view on life. The effects of minimalistic living like this can extend far beyond a well-organized sock drawer! It’ll impact everything from your finances to your inner peace and outlook on life.
While the method can take anywhere from several hours to many months to get through your possessions, depending on where you’re starting from, the goal is to eventually reclaim all of your space with a purpose. Which goes for your storage spaces as much as anything else.
“KonMari-ing” Your Storage
For starters, the very idea of “storage spaces” is already wandering a bit out of the basic principles of the KonMari Method in the first place. Having lots of space to organize your junk doesn’t count here. This is a critical factor to keep in mind when tackling your shed or your garage. Don’t treat them as “overflow” for your extra stuff. Instead, roll up your sleeves, grit your teeth, and try to approach them just as you would your living room or kitchen.
Discard, Then Organize
First thing’s first, make sure you go about things in the right order. The first thing you want to do when you tackle a storage space: go through the contents in order to figure out what you need to discard. The best way to do this is to start by choosing what you want to keep and then getting rid of the rest. Don’t get sucked into the black hole of justifying each item individually. Once you’ve figured out what to discard, organizing the remaining clutter becomes much easier.
Make it a Family Affair
While privacy is an important concept within the KonMari canon, if you’re sharing your space with family it can often be beneficial to take the time to get the kids in on the action. Including the children can be a great way to teach them:
- the value of possessions
- the dangers of hoarding
- how to respect your belongings
Remember, too, you’re going to want to show respect towards others’ belongings throughout the process. This isn’t a witch hunt. Never discard someone else’s item without their approval first.
Don’t Throw Everything Away
Once you’ve got all of your unwanted items gathered together, don’t just start stuffing them into the trash can. Remember, the goal here isn’t to be reckless. Rather, you want to bring a purposeful and respectful attitude towards your belongings. This includes the things you’re getting rid of as well.
The two options to consider before taking things to the trash are donating and recycling. As far as the latter is concerned, by all means, recycle what you can, just make sure it’s something that can actually be recycled in the first place. If an item is worth donating, consider taking it to a location like GoodWill. Often, you can receive in-store coupons in exchange for donations, allowing you to save some cash when you do decide it’s time to get any new clothes for your wardrobe.
Use that Vertical Space
Finally, remember to capitalize on your vertical space. After all, sheds and even garages can be limited in their floor space, especially if you’re parking something like a car or rider mower in there on a regular basis. Hanging things like bikes or wagons from the ceiling or tools along the wall can be the perfect way to declutter, ensuring that everything in your storage is easily accessible and won’t remain buried and useless for who knows how long.
Keep Your Eye on the Prize
As is always the case with the KonMari approach, visualize your goals and the way you want to live, making sure to keep those in view as the endgame. Don’t let yourself be sidetracked by that pesky hoarding mentality.
If you can manage to keep your eye on the prize, you’ll quickly find that even your outdoor storage spaces can be as organized and decluttered as every other area of your life. Then, once you’ve got your own areas all cleared and operating like a well-oiled machine, you can take the lessons you’ve learned and start to spread that KonMari gospel to your friends and relatives so they can experience the magic, too.
About the Writer: Brooke Faulkner is a writer and mom in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. You can check out more of her writing on twitter, @faulknercreek.