Oktober 07, 2019
I stared at the white shelf in my childhood room. It was empty, cleared clean by ripping off all the things I had stored there before.
I felt a bit lost, but at the same time, a sense of relief and freedom. And a bit nuts as well, why on earth do I want to have an empty shelf? Something's not right here.
I was about 11 at the time and had already developed a knack for organising and decluttering.
And for a long time, I thought I was a bit strange. I knew that others found that things like ornaments and toys made rooms more cosy and personal.
I told myself that it was because I had so much going on in my head that I needed my surroundings to be calm and more organised. But when I said that to others, I often got a skewed look from people, like maybe they were wondering if I had some screws loose. Which of course confirmed my belief that my need for clear spaces was a little bit strange.
Well, today I know better, it is scientifically proven that sparse spaces have a calming effect on most of us and researchers at the Princeton University Neuroscience found that multiple stimuli in the visual field – such as objects lying around – compete for your brain’s attention. So clutter not only restricts your ability to focus, it also affects your brain’s ability to process information.
And, many, many years later, I found Marie Kondo with the KonMari Method TM, which of course, I found to be such a fabulous way of going through the decluttering process, and I discovered that I am not the only one who liked to clean and organise as a child!
4th category: Miscellaneous
If you have read my earlier blog posts, you’re already familiar with Marie Kondo, and maybe you have already started your decluttering journey.
As you know, The KonMari Method TM main object is to keep what «Sparks Joy».
And the first step is to tidy by category, not by location.
The second step is to determine a place – a home - for everything you decide to keep.
I have already gone through the following categories in past posts: clothes, books and papers. So we are on to the fourth category: Miscellaneous, yippee!
So what is “Miscellaneous?”
This category covers almost everything but clothes, books, papers and sentimental items.
Kondo also calls it “just because..” - it might just come in handy sometimes. Think make-up samples, spare buttons, keyrings, pens, batteries, leftover medicine, broken hairdryer, unidentified cords, old mattresses, and so on, and so on.
It can be a bit overwhelming, so please, set aside a whole weekend for this.
Important to note is that sentimental items like photos or other memories don’t belong in this category, they come last.
Follow the same routine as you have with the past categories; put all items in one category in one place, preferably on the floor where you have good overview.
Choose only the ones that spark joy, or that you need for practical and essential reasons.
Find a home – a specific place – for every item and store them by category.
Kondo suggests when you work through the Miscellaneous category, you use the following order:
The kitchen is in itself such an important category because, at the end of the day, we spend a lot of time in there, and we want a kitchen in which we can enjoy cooking and spending time with friends and family.
The three main categories in the kitchen are:
And here Kondo says if you want a kitchen that you can enjoy cooking in, aim for one that’s easy to clean.
The best way to do that is to make sure you put nothing on the counters or around the sink and on the stovetop.
You should be able to see and easily access everything stored.
So, if you do it this way, you won't just enjoy cooking and daily dinnertimes more, you will also enjoy cleaning more!
Who thought that was possible? Well, if you don’t have to pick up and rearrange objects before you dive into the scrubbing and dusting, or shuffle things around to get to the surfaces you need to clean, you will dance a happy dance while swinging that cloth. (And put on some music you love, preferably upbeat)..
And of course, I want to suggest that you get a bidon of our all-purpose cleaning product, it contains no animal ingredients and is environmentally- and material friendly.
And it’s fantastic for your stainless steel in the kitchen and for your plastic or painted surfaces.
You’ll quickly get it
Yes, this Miscellaneous category is quite big and has many sub-categories. Maybe you need two weekends to go through everything properly. Maybe set one weekend just for the kitchen and another for everything else. Think it through and be realistic, set a date and do it. You will feel so much lighter, I promise.
And for the future, be mindful of what you buy. Most of us are guilty of buying unnecessary things that we seldom (or never) use.
Do you really want that souvenir or that ornament? Or is it going to become another dust collector?
You don’t have to be so radical like I was when I was 11, just emptying the whole shelf, but go for something in-between completely empty and piled with clutter. You’ll quickly pick up the hang of «Sparking Joy» and knowing what you truly want to keep and what to discard.
Like, why always set the table with plates and glasses that are so cheap that “it doesn’t matter if they break,” while the ones that make your heart tingle remain in the closet, far away and only for “special occasions?” Why not use them every day?
Bring out the best cutlery! Go ahead and make every day special!
When you only use the things you love, such as your favourite stationery and pen, your favourite coffee mug, your best towel, then you are free to get rid of the “seconds.” And the space you make by clearing out what doesn’t “spark joy” will free your mind as well!
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