Looking to do some spring cleaning? This year, go beyond the general dust, mop and vacuum, and try to declutter for good. The idea of living in a clean and clutter-free space is more popular than ever, thanks in part to Japan’s mistress of mess, Marie Kondo. Her best-selling book The Life-changing Magic of Tidying up, has spawned a Netflix series and she has become a global phenomenon!

Here are some Kondo-style tips to get your place neat and organized.

Learn about Sparking Joy

If you’re a Kondo fan, you know the drill: if you’re contemplating whether you need a certain item (clothes, books, toys, kitchenware, etc.), hold it tight and see if it brings you any feelings of joy. If it doesn’t, question why are you keeping it. Thank them for their service, then let them go. Donating items may help someone else find it, and it could bring them joy!

Aim for Simplicity

Whether it’s your kitchen counters, shower stall or work desk, clutter is not good for any living space. Weed out and discard things that you don’t need. Your surroundings should make you feel happy. This can also carry over to other parts of your life, like your cell phone or computer. Do you have a cluttered email list, unused apps or outdated address book?  Tidy those too!

Stay Minimal

We’ve examined minimalism in a previous blog post, but Kondo has a different twist on it. She believes that it’s hard to keep a place tidy when you have too much stuff, and people cannot tidy up if they attempt to store everything without getting rid of anything. Even an organized home can quickly become messy again if you’re storing and saving unnecessary items. It better to part with things that don’t spark joy.

Keep it Clean

After observing a restaurant kitchen, Kondo noticed an interesting phenomenon. A chef’s kitchen is designed so they can clean as they cook, so they don’t create a massive pile of dirty dishes. Imagine making dinner and not having to face the pile of dirty dishes at the end? Clean as you go. The same holds true for piles of dry-cleaning or dirty laundry. Don’t let it get out of control!

Tidy by Category, Not Location

Do you store the same type of item in more than one place? Maybe you have junk drawers and have to rifle through three different boxes to find an item you need. That’s a no-no according to Kondo. When we disperse storage of a particular item throughout the house, it will never be tidy. To change this practice, tidy by category, not by place. Kondo says that when we tidy each place separately, we fail to see that we’re repeating the same work in many locations and become locked into a vicious circle of tidying.

See if these changes can make a different in your life. And as Marie Kondo says: The best way to find out what we really need is to get rid of what we don’t.

So, what do you think? What changes will you make this year in your home, desk or workspace?

Cara Rosenbloom

Author Cara Rosenbloom

Registered Dietitian Cara Rosenbloom is the president of Words to Eat By, a Toronto-based nutrition communications company specializing in writing, recipe development and nutrition education. Read her blog and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

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