Let's get organized!

In my last post, I told you about some of the issues I have with the KonMarie method. In this post, I’d like to share with you my thoughts with the KonMarie method. This is not really a critique of the method; this has more to do with her lack of call to action.

What happens after you organize?

Hurray for you! Not only did you sort through 3,000 books and manage to whittle your collection down to 1,000 – enabling you to donate a bookshelf – you also sorted your closet, got rid of everything that you didn’t love and weren’t wearing, you freed your kitchen from uni-taskers (items that do only one thing), you scanned in most of your paperwork and sorted the rest into a fantastic file system, and all your sentimental items have been placed in areas where you can see them and get joy from them. Quite an achievement!

But then …

  • Your favorite shirt gets a hole right in the center of it, so you go to the mall and buy three new ones.

  • Your oldest child continues to systematically drop your drinking glasses on the floor every time he sets the table, and you have half a set of the old ones, but not enough to set the table with, so you go out and buy a new set, but don’t discard the old ones – “just in case”.

  • Your book-worm daughter has to have the latest American Girl book every time a new one comes out.

  • Your baby has outgrown all the clothes that are still in the drawers and now needs a larger size; you saved your older child’s clothes, but also bought more stuff because the last child was a different sex and was born in a different season, and anyway you couldn’t be bothered taking out all the old stuff, so it’s all stuffed into drawers that barely close.

  • Your husband, is leaving stacks of mail on the kitchen counter, which he promises to go through and never does because he always so busy, and the stack keeps on growing.

Phew, that’s a lot!

A lot of new stuff has come into your home at this point.  But why? Because you NEED it, of course! But … do you? Your favorite shirt got a hole and can’t be mended, true; but did you need to buy three shirts? One shirt went out (and, ideally, got recycled!), and one shirt should come in.

Same thing with the glasses: you bought a new set – but did you need to?  Could you find – although it might take a bit more effort – a match to the set you already have, so that you can just replace what broke? If not, can you donate the ones that don’t match? Could you get away with just buying another six, mixed and matched with the set that was half broken?

Does your daughter really need to own a copy of each American Girl book? Could she borrow them from the library instead? Maybe she has a Kindle, and you can download them, rather than having more books take up space on her shelf.

Your toddler’s clothing isn’t the right season?  No worries: donate what you know you won’t use! Someone else does need it, and it’s just making you freak out every time you try to close the drawer, since it’s stuffed full of clothes that are useless to you!

As for your husband: go through the mail, recycle the junk, and take a few minutes to use aservice that helps unsubscribe you from that junk mail. This will at least minimize what he has to do, while at the same time reducing your angst – and if you find that you can actually handle the pile yourself, amazing!

How to stay organized:

Think hard before you make new purchases, and be ruthless. Buy only what you really need.

Prevent: Try to reduce the amount of clutter that comes into your home, by not even allowing it through the door. For example, junk mail, cheap party toys, and plastic bags.

Assess: Being organized means constantly assessing what you have, identifying what items have multiple uses

Discard: Make sure you don’t hold on to things that you don’t need, and then actually discard those and all other unnecessary objects.

Lighten the load: I have found that minimalist ideals are completely in line with my Jewish values. After all, you really can’t take it with you – in Judaism we don’t allow it, so what will happen to your stuff in the end?  Do you really need to burden your family with sorting it all out?

A lot of people are aware of the importance of not wasting food, but this concept is just as important when considering other items in our possession. By holding onto those baby clothes that you are not using, a whole group of people who may have really gotten good use out of the clothing lost out – and by the way, do you really need 20 onesies for one baby?

This is just a rubric to see how you can waste less, and at the same time help others.  Remember, there will always be someone who will donate their hand-me-downs to you.

Here is my call to action to help you stay organized: Consider your purchases, buy only what you truly need and cannot re-purpose from what you already own, and donate/recycle whatever you can. Be vigilant about what you allow into your home to maintain your hard work.  Lighten your load – for your sake, for your children’s sake, and for the sake of those who could benefit from items that weigh you down.