In her second book, Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up, master organizer Marie Kondo comments, “When you tidy, you gain a little confidence. You start to believe in the future… And you begin to really enjoy your life.” While this is a rather strong endorsement for tidying up, we also don’t think Kondo is overstating the importance of an uncluttered life. Doing so can help you think more clearly, be more productive, feel more relaxed, and generally be happier.
Ready to enjoy your life, Kondo-style? Ahead, we’re sharing five ways you can declutter ASAP. Read on.
Clean up your computer.
Given the amount of time we spend on our computers, you’d think they’d be pristine spaces. Sadly, they’re often fraught with disorganization: Screens plagued by multiple open tabs, files stacked up on files, and countless folders occupying precious desktop space. And even though it’s digital, that’s all very distracting clutter, particularly if you’re using your computer for work.
Take twenty or thirty minutes to do a full computer cleanup. Edit your bookmarks, delete obsolete files, clean up your desktop, and create (actually) useful folders for storing information. We bet you’ll feel immediately organized and – dare we say – ready to work.
When it comes to everyday* clothes and accessories do the one-year, six weeks test.
When it comes to clothing and accessories, editing can be a huge challenge. Many of us hold onto everyday, run-of-the-mill items because “one day” we’ll need them or because we feel like we do actually use them. This is understandable – we get sentimental about our old high school sweatshirts – but it creates a tremendous amount of unnecessary clutter.
So here’s a good tactic to use when editing your closet: Ask yourself if you’ve worn that item in the past year. If you haven’t, get rid of it. If this sounds harsh, then take this approach: If you haven’t, you’ll make a pledge to use it within the next six weeks. If you can’t do that, then you know it’s time to say goodbye.
(*This recommendation excludes items like special, occasional wear, super sentimental pieces, and family heirlooms. We’re not that ruthless.)
Cash in your change for fun.
If you’re like us, you probably have several stashes of loose change lurking in various places in your home. Instead of letting those coins sit and collect dust, why not cash them in for some real money? The most dependable way to do this is via a Coinstar service or similar; once you’ve done so, consider putting the money towards something special for yourself, such as manicure, facial, or dinner out. Practice this exercise a couple of times a year and you’ll start to look forward to it!
Overhaul your makeup bag.
Got a suspiciously old mascara that’s been rattling around your makeup bag for way too long? Yeah, we thought so. Not only are old cosmetics a waste of space, they actually are really unhealthy sources of bacteria and grime. Use this as a reason to ruthlessly clear out your makeup bag regularly, ensuring that you’re always reaching for a clean and edited assortment.
Need some guidelines? Mascara should be thrown out after three months, eyeliner after three to six months, and all other items after one year. (You can get away with up to two years for blush and bronzer… we won’t tell anyone.)
Make plans to donate.
Perhaps the biggest hurdle to uncluttering is this question: Where do I put the stuff!? Well, a failsafe way to ensure that your items will be cleared away – and be put to good use – is to schedule a donation pick-up with an organization like the Salvation Army. All you have to do is gather the items you no longer need, go online and book an appointment, and they’ll literally come to your door to gather them. This includes furniture, too – so go ahead and clean house. You’ll feel and do good, too.