Monday, March 21, 2016

It's Spring so Let's Decrapify!

Yay, spring is here! It was warm for weeks and now we're in coats again! Yay! 

At least the sun has been out, the trees are blooming and the tulips are coming up -- I just hope they survive these cold nights. Even though we have a few more chilly days in the forecast, I'm in full out spring-mode. It's time to decrapify my friends! 

This time of year you'll hear me use that term a lot but I can't take credit for that brilliance. It's so funny because I see it everywhere now (it's an awesome word) but it was a sweet reader about seven years ago or so that first used it in a comment. I emailed her immediately and asked if I could take her word because…brilliant. 

Anyway. It's about that time. I mentioned last fall that I had been reading a little book that has completely changed how I look at decluttering and organization in our home. I haven't even finished it yet but I can honestly say it has changed our lives. 

I was in full "tidying" mode last summer and paused to finish up the kitchen renovation. Then the holidays hit and I wasn't even going to attempt it then. Now I'm ready to complete the process. The book is called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I tell everyone I know to wait until life is quiet to start it -- before the holidays is not a good time. I say that because if you are like most, you will want to tear through your entire house within the first few pages. She speaks to our reasoning for stuff in a way I've never heard before. It's truly eye-opening. 

I didn't go in the order she recommends at first, which goes back to what I just said. You'll just start filling bags with stuff. :) But now I'm starting from scratch and starting with the clothes, per her instructions. The author (Marie Kondo) recommends bringing all like items from all over the house to one spot before you start deciding what you will keep and discard. 

I didn't do that last time because it felt like too much work, but the difference when you do it is staggering. There is one big reason for this -- she believes when you see the sheer volume of similar items you have in one place, it changes the way you look at what you love and really want to keep. She's right. 

I started with the t-shirts. Just MY t-shirts. I think I counted 50-something? I usually only wear t-shirts at home or in bed so why I have so many is beyond me. The reason I love the way Kondo thinks is that her process is simple. It's not about what you've worn in the last six months, it's not about what fits perfectly, it's not about what you want to fit into again…it's purely about what you LOVE. 

Does the shirt with paint stains on it from high school bring you joy? I have one that does. I kept it. Does the shirt that's stretched out and ugly bring you joy because it sparks a happy memory or it's super comfy? Keep it. 

I laid them all out on the bed and this is what I'm talking about -- I don't need this many t-shirts!: 
Konmari method for clothes

I found I loved about half of mine -- not because I was like OMG THIS T-SHIRT IS AMAZING but more because it just made me happy to wear. It is SO much easier to decide what to keep when you look at it that way. I used to think about what I wanted to get rid of. Now I decide what I'm going to keep. It's different, I promise you. 

I did the same for my sweaters, pants, even socks. Then I tackled the biggest section -- the hanging shirts: 

I got rid of about 60 shirts. I went through them on the bed and then hung them all back up, and then went through them again and grabbed at least ten more to discard (when I say discard I mean donate or sell). 

The mantra in your head the whole time should be do you love it? I've added a second question too, and that's is it useful? I mean, we need to be smart about this. You don't adore everything in your house, but if it serves a purpose and you use it -- you keep it. 

As I went through the clothes that's what I asked myself as I touched every item. It works. 

I started with the t-shirts and folded items:

As I waited for a few items to get washed I went through the Bub's closet and dresser: 
Then finally tackled my hanging clothes: 

Konmari clothes decluttering

It is such a good feeling my friends. Your mindset changes over time and now when I'm out shopping I bring a lot less home. It has to be something I LOVE and I have to know what I'll do with it -- when it comes to decor that means I need to be able to bring it in the house and know exactly where it's going to go. 

Kondo talks about a specific method of folding clothes -- she goes so far as to fold underwear and socks but I don't think I'll ever get to that point. But I've actually always used her method for our shirts. I was ahead of the game for once! Ha! 

If you watch a video of how to do this, it seems to take forever. Here are the basic steps: 
Konmari folding how-to

1. Lay the shirt face down towards you. 
2. Fold the sides in (if sleeves are long fold them down the length).
3. Bring the bottom of the shirt up and fold.
4. Fold one more time into thirds.

The Konmari method actually folds it twice after that third picture -- so the shirt is even skinnier. I don't do that because I think it takes up more space in a drawer (folding in in two is less thick and takes up less vertical space). 

Changing the way you fold clothes sounds trivial, I know. But there are two reasons I've always done it this way -- first, you can fit a TON more in your drawers: 
Konmari folding method
I have nearly 30 t-shirts in this drawer and can easily fit another ten. 

The biggest reason I fold and place them in drawers like this is that you can see the shirts. When you fold them and place them in the drawer you have to lift them up to find the one you want, then the pile gets tossed around. This stays so much nicer. I can attest to it. :) 

As I said, her folding method looks tedious when you see it in pictures and videos (ain't nobody got time for that crosses my mind) but I have it down to seconds for each shirt. I use both hands and flip the sleeves and sides back, lay it down either on a surface or my chest, fold it in half, then one more time. It  takes no time at all. 

I will share more about the Konmari process as I go through it -- have you read this book? Did you change the way you folded clothes? Do you fold your socks? (Gotta admit, it does look really nice!) I'm hooked on this book and it has completely changed the way I look at clutter in our house. 

43 comments:

  1. This is on my list. I am constantly looking to get rid of things that I don't love around our house. It is so nice to know that you love all the things that you keep. We also fold our tshirts that same way, which is a HUGE space saver and helps to see what t-shirts are what.

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  2. I love her book and have done a lot in the process, and I just read her new book "Spark Joy" which goes into more details, step by step in each area of the home and all the details like folding

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  3. Looks like you got a lot done & made a bunch of room in your closet. Sounds like a cool approach. :]

    // ▲ itsCarmen.com ▲

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  4. I read the book last year and got rid of about 150 items of clothing! I think it's ridiculous that I was able to get rid of that much and still have a full closet! I do fold my underwear and socks, just like she said. It really is nice to open those drawers and see all the nice folded things and be able to see everything in the drawers. It only takes a few extra minutes when you are putting your clothes away! I helped my daughter go through her clothes and she got rid of 5 kitchen garbage bags full. I think she needs to get rid of more but, as she states in the book, you can't do it for them! I used the method and got rid of a lot of extra cookbooks that I was keeping even though I didn't love them but haven't used it on a whole lot of other things. It's a process!

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  5. Enjoy your blog very much. I am in clean up mode too, however, I am working on declutering my family room shelves. Specifically, organizing our pre-digital age family photos, newspaper clippings, Christmas card photos and newsletters, etc. I am curious to know how others deal with this clutter...as I would very much like to let go of some of the stuff but am having a hard time. Specifally, do others keep or let go of old Christmas photo cards/news letters/funeral cards? How about multiple copies of old school portraits (you know...the extra little photos). All this decision making is taking so much time and making my head hurt! Thanks! Deanna

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    1. I struggled with that as well because my mom saves EVERYTHING and for the longest time, I felt like I needed to keep all of my cards/letters, etc. But then I realized I CAN'T keep everything and thought of the burden (even though I'm young!) that it would create for others if I ever passed away and they had to deal with all my STUFF. I decided to weed through all the paper and pick out the ones with the most important, lengthy messages that were handwritten (I didn't keep any cards that just had a simple "love you" or "happy birthday" written on it) and kept the actual papers that I set aside. For anything else that I really liked or couldn't see myself getting rid of, I decided I should scan it into my computer and then create a memory book of sorts. On Shutterfly or even walmart, you can make your own books. That way, you have a copy of all the paper things you like, but it is organized and takes up SO much less room!

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    2. I struggled with this as well. But when my mother passed away, she left boxes of papers and photos that had no meaning to me or my siblings. I vowed not to repeat with my only child. I have given him a chance to go thru what I have saved. Many items are of no importance to him. But certain things mean a lot. It is hard to let go but it is very freeing.

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    3. I read the book last year but haven't yet done the process. If I am remembering correctly,the author recommends saving the sentimental stuff for the last step of the purge. Start with clothes, beauty/bath products, books, etc. And once you are good at decrapifying and are feeling the benefits of a simpler life,then tackle the personal mementos.

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    4. I read an idea on this a few years ago and it has worked well for me. Have a decorative bowl or basket somewhere in your home that you put cards, letters, thank you notes,etc in throughout the year. At the end of the year, go through it (it should be pretty chronological), reread and relive, keep anything sentimental, and toss the rest. I must say it works well and the kids love going through the pile with me. I find I only keep a few things if any. For some reason I feel guilty if I toss immediately (oh what a nice card from grandma - I can't just throw it away), but not when I do this.

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    5. My sister found a good idea on a blog somewhere (I'd like to give credit but don't know where she got it). The blog recommended that you take a picture of the sentimental item that you'd like to keep, then throw the item away. That way, you still have the memento, but it doesn't clutter your house. We did that to several items when my mom passed away, and it was very liberating.

      I have been following the Marie Kondo book, and it's wonderful! Her method, and the order in which she recommends going through things, is worth following.

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  6. You have the BEST blog ever! I've been following it for YEARS and just want you to know it's the best out there!

    -Kristin

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  7. I'm almost done with the book and just getting started on my purge! I also wondered about bringing all of my clothes out, including the off season garments but now I can see the big picture. I know I will be moving in July so this is perfect timing for me to only take what I love!

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  8. I did this last summer before our little one arrived and it was great then, but now packing to move across the country its great we have 6 boxes that have 85% of our stuff in them! Granted we live in a small one bedroom right now but STILL we got rid of so much before that our place feels light and airy. Plus we arent as stressed about our move because of it.

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  9. It has really helped me a lot. I fall into the category of "I might try this some day" regarding craft items. So I have let a lot of items go. But you really need time for this. No 20 minute decluttering sessions!

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  10. I've been folding shirts this way for years! I love it. I also fold underwear; into thirds, hip to hip, then thirds again, tucking the crotch into the waistband. One of my favorite things about folded underwear is easily differentiating between kids' dirty undies and clean but not put away properly undies! I'm not even a "clean freak", but tidy drawers do make me happy! I haven't read the book yet, but it seems to have made a huge impact on so many! Decrapify is such an awesome word, thank you to the reader who got that word out! Love it. We're having our biggest Decrapify The House ever, storage closets all empty, cleaned, getting painted. Lots donated, dumped. Feels so good!!! Your blog, with your steady progress over years, has regularly been an encouragement that everything doesn't have to be done " right this minute". Thank you for that! It has helped me to calm down, slow down, be happy for small improvements, and enjoy life along the way.

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  11. I have never commented before and I check your blog Every. Single. Day. For. YEARS! LOL! Not sure why this post has encouraged me to do so. That being said, another reader said it, and I agree. Sarah this is absolutely the best blog out there if decor, thrift and diy are your "thing". The way that you write, is probably the same as the way that you talk, and it comes across. I feel like I have a friend that I have never met. Thank you for the gift of a great place to come online and be inspired and learn something new.

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    1. You are wonderful, thank you very much for the kind words. It means a lot.

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    2. I second your post! Well said. :)

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    3. I also agree! I have been reading your blog for years and you are my definite go-to to figure out how to do something as you've tackled so much! I also feel like I know you!

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  12. Yes I have the book and yes I even fold my socks. I am amazed at how much more you can fit in your drawers and also they don't get messed up when you are looking for something. Time for me to revisit the book and do some more cleaning up. I loved the idea of using the Op Shop (or Goodwill) for storage..lol.

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  13. I've been working on KonMari-ing my house for the the last few weeks. Last week I went to town (while on Spring Break) and really got a lot done. The biggest difference has been the toys. We really got rid of so much and it makes cleaning up so much easier. I agree that bringing everything to one spot is key. I even made my husband do this with his clothes-what a difference. So much time to enjoy things rather than cleaning and organizing.

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  14. I started the book today so I was excited to read your post! I am totally scared to start, but I know I will be happy at the end. Keep posting about your progress!

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  15. The thing is, if I want my husband to do laundry, there is no way I can have him fold that way! He honestly does so little around the house (love him, he has other amazing qualities) that it helps that he will do laundry once or twice a week. As for decluttering, I am fairly good about that. My grandma was a hoarder, I actually had no idea her house had a 2nd floor until we moved her out. The 2nd floor was filled to the brim. We had to remove trash bags from the staircase to get upstairs. That has lived with me. I can't stand all the crap that kids get from parties, school fairs, etc. My girls forget about it in a day and I often toss the bags right in the trash. I have always been a person that doesn't hang onto clothes I don't wear. The problem now is that I am having a hard time finding things to get rid of and I love that feeling of putting out donation piles!!

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  16. I read this book last year and right away my closet has stayed organized and so much easier to get dressed every morning!

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  17. My husband and I read Kondo's book last fall after I read your post. It's crazy how much better my closet and kitchen feel after decluttering. I do fold my socks and underwear, and it's wonderful. It may sound silly, but opening my sock drawer makes me happy. I recommend trying it.

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    1. I may try it someday! I have so many little workout socks I think it would drive me a little crazy, but I never say never! :)

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  18. I'm in the midst of reading the book and plan to use some of her techniques when we move into a permanent place and get our stuff out of storage. Some of it seems a little too much for me but I do feel like she has good ideas.

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  19. I've been doing the Konmari process in my home too! I've gotten to the Komono category, and I've been sharing on my blog as well. She was a bit too concerned about the comfort of our socks, in my opinion, but I love her method!

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    1. Haha! Yes, there are some parts that are a little…different. :)

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    2. Yeah, the socks...but then I actually tried it out and I love it! I can't say that I thank each pair before putting it away, but my sock drawer is lovely :)

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  20. My t-shirt, jeans and leggings are all folded the Konmari way and, yes, I get joy every time I pull open the drawers! My husband is so jealous (he uses shelves). Sometimes I just open a drawer and say, "Did I show you my t-shirts, honey?"

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  21. I miss this! I use to do this before till I was busy working and does event have time to fix my cloths. And now my room I kinda messy, by the way I uses shelves.

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  22. These are some great ideas! Love your blog! By the way, where did you purchase your bedroom comforter? Love it!

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  23. I love that book! I haven't done it yet except to start rolling my socks, which is a bit ridiculous...but I love seeing them all tucked away nicely in my drawers. And I actually started folding my underwear years ago before I read the book and am hooked. It just makes the drawer look nice, things are easier to find, and you feel like you're going through a store display instead of digging through a mess. Have you read her new book yet? I just picked it up!

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  24. I've been following you a little pver a year now and I must say hands down my favorite post and I love the technique for folding shirts, I'm an vet so I usually roll mine army style but this allows me to see that I'm grabbing better thanks a lot

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  25. I've been following you a little pver a year now and I must say hands down my favorite post and I love the technique for folding shirts, I'm an vet so I usually roll mine army style but this allows me to see that I'm grabbing better thanks a lot

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  26. Yes! I've been working my KM, and I'm hung up on paper. Urg. Nothing about paper "sparks joy" for me! But the clothes - YES! It's amazing the difference it has made, that everything in my closet or drawer are options to wear. And the folding! To be able to see all your choices, and not forget about items on bottom! Yes, I've even jumped on board with the socks, but I'm a flip-flop-o-holic, so I don't have a ton of them. Love your blog!

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  27. I love this!! I have cleaned out my closet big time and have sent 3 bags to ThredUp! Now it's time to get organized!! Spring is here!!

    Mel | www.thegossipdarling.com

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  28. Never heard of that book before but I've always folded my t-shirts that way. I thought that was the normal way of folding a t-shirt. How else would you fold one? Also, I do fold my socks and underwear. I thought everyone did. Otherwise, they would end up in a big mess in my drawer.

    I'm having a garage sale next month and am planning on selling a lot of the junk I have laying around the house that I don't need/use anymore as well as some like-new clothes that haven't been worn much. After the garage sale, the big stuff will be listed on eBay and the rest will be donated to Good Will. It will be nice to get some of this stuff out of the house plus the extra cash will be used to pay off some debt.

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  29. Wow, I've recently found your blog and I am so excited! Your projects really inspire me and I happen to have most of the tools you use. Your house also feels similar to mine- that's what is so inspiring! When I saw the shots of your kitchen before and after, I could.not.believe.the.transformation. We have that same ugly oven and dark cabinets and a small island. With all the projects you feature, I had to digest all the creativity for a few days...ha! Now I need to figure out what project to start with! We've been living in our home for about 10 years, and we've always loved the way our home is decorated (just like you've mentioned), but now it's really exciting to think about refreshing the decor. The funny thing is that I am super excited to get the decluttering book you mentioned, and just ordered it last week before realizing you are using it too. I noticed you talked about quitting your day job to do this blog and how much you've enjoyed it- how does it transition from starting a smaller blog featuring your projects to being able to do that in the place of your other job? That must be so gratifying. Oh one more thing, it was touching to see your post awhile back about attending a Dave Ramsey workshop and wanting to give back to those interested. We took his class a few years ago, but it was neat to read about your desire to help others as a result and to hear about how the material helped you and your family so much! Thanks for such a great blog with so much helpful information!

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