Happy, Happy summer to you! We hope that you and yours have been able to relax and kick your feet up for a while . . . or take a dip or two in the pool or ocean after our wonderful July heat!
Have you been looking for a good beach read this summer? We just finished the life-changing magic of tidying up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing by Marie Kondo. While I am not sure that my life was immediately and instantly changed, many of the practices that Marie uses are similar to our home staging practices and she offers some true gems and guidelines to use in your home–especially if your home is new to you! When our clients are working to prepare their home to sell, we often hear that they love the look of their well-staged home and that they want to try something similar in their new homes. Here are a few tips, a la Kondo and her “KonMari method,” to help you get your new home in tip top shape!
And, just because we thought this was a fun and an easy read, we are offering a free copy of the book to anyone who likes and encourages a friend to follow and like our @kbreg_rva feed on Instagram!
Clear your schedule: Marie Kondo is big on tidying and on tidying in the right order. She strongly believes that tidying should be done all at one time–not little-by-little. The visible results achieved by tidying (which are also achieved through home staging) provide the power and energy that you need to keep it up! She says “Tidying brings visible results. Tidying never lies. The ultimate secret of success is this: If you tidy up in one shot, rather than little by little, you can dramatically change your mind-set . . . you’ll see instant results that will empower you to keep your space in order ever after.” (p.16-17) One of the things that we most love about home staging is seeing the before and after photos. Working to pack, purge, and tidy gives you visible results and they are empowering and so encouraging!
Say NO to Storage: “Storage experts are hoarders” says Kondo! (p. 22) Wow–how intense of her! While we love baskets and bins and fabrics of coordinating colors to store our things inside of and shove into our closets and under our beds, Kondo believes that storage is not the answer! When talking about using various types of storage in her own life, she says:
When I finally came to my senses, I saw that my room still wasn’t tidy . . . “Why does my room still feel cluttered when I’ve worked so hard to organize and store things away?,” I wondered. Filled with despair, I looked at the contents of each storage unit and had a flash of revelation. I didn’t need most of the things that were in them. Although I thought that I had been tidying, in fact I had merely been wasting my time shoving stuff out of sight, concealing the things that I didn’t need under a lid. Putting things away created the illusion that the clutter problem has been solved. That is why tidying must start with discarding. We need to exercise self-control and resist storing our belongings until we have finished identifying what we really want and need to keep. (p. 23)
What is the answer? According to the Japanese tidying ninja, the entire process should start with purging and discarding items you no longer need. Most of our home staging clients are charged first with the task of sorting their belongings: what to keep, what to give/donate, and what to throw away or get rid of from their home altogether. It’s time intensive and it’s a difficult process, but it is rewarding! And, just think of all of the things you are giving away or getting rid of instead of moving them into your new home!
“Discard:” In her book, Kondo explains the necessary order of tidying and its importance. She discourages her tidying-followers: “Do not even think of putting your things away until you have finished the process of discarding . . . You can think about where to put things when you’ve finished getting rid of everything you don’t need.” (p. 35) As you purge, as you discard, as you go through your belongings, she encourages her tidy-ers to “be choosing what [you] want to keep, not what [you] want to get rid of . . . ask: ‘Does this spark joy?’ If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it.” (p. 41) She even encourages her readers to go through every. single. item. in their home and make a decision about it. Intense, I know, but I have a hunch that this discarding process could really free up some space for some of us! Many of our home staging clients finish their work to prepare their home for the market, and they tell us that they wish they had done the work long before so they could enjoy their clutter-less home! Start the process now so you can reap the benefits of your work in your new space!
Find a Home: Once you have located and determined which of your items do, in fact, “spark joy,” you will need to assign the items a home. Without one, clutter abounds. Kondo exerts: “You only need to designate a spot for every item once. Try it. You’ll be amazed at the results. No long will you buy more than you need. No longer will the things you own continue to accumulate.” (p. 132) As you may imagine, Kondo feels strongly about clutter: “Clutter is caused by a failure to return things where they belong.” (p. 142) Once you have discarded, find a home for your things and keep them there.
Kondo’s book goes into depth about the root of clutter, how to avert it, and how to continue the magic of tidying in your home and life. While her tips may not be for everyone, I do think she is onto something here! Intrigued? Want to read more about her tidying mentality? Follow @kbreg_rva on Instagram for a chance to win a copy of her book, and see for yourself . . . and, of course, keep us posted on what you think! We’d love to hear your success stories and see your tidying before-and-afters!