Marilyn Denis Show consultant and professional organizer Michele Delory knows everything you need to know about decluttering and organizing. As a certified KonMari consultant in Toronto, Delory follows the tidying method popularized by Marie Kondo. Heading into the new year, you may be looking to start fresh — including with your space. Here are Delory’s top tips for decluttering for the new year and figuring out what will “spark joy” for you in 2023.
What are your top five tips for decluttering?
Choose the right day and time to use the most energy to declutter. When you start your day in the morning to declutter your home, you will be able to achieve more than when you choose to do it after a long day of work. Sacrifice a day off to invest your time into your home and you will gain more time to do what you love instead.
Visualize the kind of home and life you want to live, in order to be motivated to get through all of your stuff. Create a vision board and write what you want in life… just like manifesting your life and goals.
Declutter by categories and not location, as this will allow you to identify and know everything that you have instead of missing things that may be in another space. In the KonMari Method there are five categories: clothing, books, paper, komono (miscellaneous) and sentimental and follow in that order.
If you don’t have time to invest in decluttering, start small and try it out with a junk drawer first and when you gain momentum, you can continue it with taking on more.
Gather your items all in one place and choose what to keep that “sparks joy,” which is what you love and go from there. Organize items back where they make sense for you to use and find.
Why is organizing at the start of the new year so popular?
When the new year comes, everyone wants to feel a reset and get inspired to create new goals to achieve for the new year. Your home environment plays a big part in the way you feel and if your home is affecting your well-being, then the home is where you want to start. Decluttering and getting organized has many great benefits for your mental health, from having less stress and anxiety to more focus and improved sleeping. The home is something you can have more control over, so it’s best to start here.
What small but mighty changes can be made without the effort of renovating?
Creating a home with less things will help to decrease the visual stimuli that you get when you have too many knick knacks, tchotchkes and just stuff surrounding you. By removing stuff on window sills, table tops and counters, you will feel a difference in the way you feel but also it will be easier to clean these areas. You can also move furniture and art work around, which I do myself when I get bored of my space every few months, and it will feel like it’s a totally different space. A space may be limited, but moving where tables or chairs face can feel like a new space without having to do any renovations.
What are some of the main reasons homes get too cluttered?
The home can be a reflection of a person’s life and what they are going through at the moment. Sometimes it’s hard to find the motivation to maintain the home when you don’t feel like it, which can lead to things getting cluttered or disorganized. When you accumulate many things, it gets more difficult to maintain and control and if you’re not in the mood, you won’t be focused on your home, but instead will be trying to find joy in other ways. When things get overwhelming, be gentle with yourself and do what you can.
January is the month for setting and then breaking resolutions. How can you get organized and stay organized this year?
The best thing to do to stay organized is to return items to where they belong and make it a habit every day. Once you organize your home in the first place, you want to maintain it by bringing things back to their designated spot or zone. If you take the time to do that, you will keep the mess and disorganization from creeping up on you. Remember the health benefits that come when you maintain your space and you will be sure to feel a difference as soon as you do it.
When it comes to the Marie Kondo method of “sparking joy,” what should you keep in mind when organizing?
Once you declutter your items, you will know what items spark joy that you want to keep, then you can organize them into your space. You want to organize “like” items together and create a home for everything. Use organizing items that spark joy or re-purpose items for organizing if you want to save money on what you contain things in. Vertical items in drawers make items easier to find and that will spark joy for you when you need to find and choose what you need.