Tag Archives: decluttering

My Four Favorite Cleaning and Decluttering Books

4 Favorite Cleaning and Decluttering Books

It doesn’t matter the time of year. It seems everyone is always cleaning, decluttering and organizing their homes, and looking for new and better ways to do so.

I admit, I’m guilty. Right now, I’m doing a major cleanout and it’s refreshing to see open space where once there was something that collected dust.

It seems each season brings a host of new books advising how best to clean through your stuff. Over the years, I’ve read a lot of them, but it seems I still go back to these four books. Here are my favorites:

  1. Move your stuff, change your life by Karen Rauch Carter

I discovered this book in 2007, and it sits within easy reach of my desk. Carter approaches cleaning and organizing from a feng shui perspective, but she’s so much more than that. She takes a very holistic approach to life and is continually educating herself on how our homes can best and most healthily support us. She even wrote a sequel called, Make a Shift, Change Your Life.

Since we’re talking about cleaning and organizing here, I love her approach to working through the process. She suggests defining your perfect life in great detail, then checking to see that you have items in the house that support it. If it doesn’t, out it goes! She’s even conducted annual decluttering workshops to kick start the year.

Whenever I need something positive to keep me going as I declutter, I check out her YouTube channel or Facebook posts, and I’m motivated once again.

  1. Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui by Karen Kingston

I know, this is another feng shui book, but Kingston does an amazing job of getting down to the psychological and emotional reasons you keep things, and how to move past them. I was fascinated when I read this and still feel this is one of the best books of its kind. Decluttering somehow makes sense with this book.

I read the original, but there’s now an updated version, which I will also purchase. Kingston’s ideas are simple and effective, and you will refer back to it time and again. Like a good novel, once you get to the end you want to start reading from the beginning.

  1. Sink Reflections by Marla Cilley – The Fly Lady

Although there are many good people out there who can help us to declutter, The Fly Lady teaches you how to clean! Not just deep cleaning, but how to maintain a clean and healthy home without spending your Saturdays washing floors and scrubbing toilets. It all comes down to routines.

For as long as I can remember, most people I know have spent their Saturday mornings cleaning for hours. What a lousy way to start the weekend! The Fly Lady agrees and aims to help you keep your weekends free for the important people in your life. Setting up a control journal is crucial to becoming successful here, but it’s super easy. I’ll try to do a blog post in the future about this.

There are references to people whose homes are in complete disarray, but even if you’re already a neat person, you’ll still pick up a few pointers.

I also highly suggest signing up for her newsletter. You’ll be flooded with messages, but there is good information and it keeps you on track.

  1. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo

As I’ve stated in previous blog posts, I had already begun doing many things in this book before it was written. I used to move a lot when I was young – a lot! – and everything just got thrown in boxes and oftentimes never got unpacked at the next location. Finally, when I had some time, I started to gather like items together, so I could determine how many of a particular item I had. It was mind blowing! Plus, items that would go into one room in one house might be used completely differently in the new one, so it was important to gather, then decorate.

I was quite open to Kondo’s approach, but I was also deep in the throes of caring for my Mom when I discovered this book, so I wasn’t able to finish going through my entire house the way she suggested. I do have an appreciation for many of her suggestions, but after living with it for a time, not everything works for me. For example, she suggests folding clothing like tops, sweaters, pants – depending on your closet and storage space. So, I folded my tanks, camis and t-shirts. It created much more closet space, but since those items now sit in drawers, I completely forget I have them! I only look in those drawers when I absolutely need those items. I would rather they hang in my closet so I can be more creative in putting together outfits. For me, out of sight, out of mind. I just need a bigger closet…

There you have it! My four favorite cleaning and decluttering books. I’d love to hear about yours! Add your comments below.

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Enjoy!

Cindi

KonMari Method – My Tidying Journey #10 – Accessories, Special Occasion Clothing and Shoes

Magic of Tidying Up

Yay!!! We’re at the last clothing category and they are three of my favorites. Which means, I’m going to have a hard time parting with anything. This post covers accessories, special occasion clothing and – wait for it – shoes! In case you’re wondering, I’m following the recommended category order detailed in Marie Kondo’s book,  The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.

Accessories can be overwhelming! After all, it includes everything from jewelry (earrings, necklaces, bracelets, watches, pins) to scarves, gloves, hats, and belts. It’s a huge category! I suggest breaking this down into its sub-categories to make it easier to deal with. I kept putting off this part of the cleaning simply because i knew I’d have to look at every single earring i haven’t cleaned out for years! One issue I have is I’ve never found a storage/display solution for my jewelry so i tend to grab the same items over and over, which gets boring considering how many items I have.

Now, I don’t own much quality jewelry. but as i live a relatively casual lifestyle, i don’t need it and i don’t want to have to worry about it. Still, the items i have look fine and work for me. But there are a lot of them! This exercise was good for me to finally clean through and somewhat organize what I have. I only gave away 10-15 percent of my jewelry because I really love what I own. The problem is I can’t find it because I haven’t settled on a way to store it that works for me. Stylebook might help me here but I have so much I can’t imagine how long it would take me to even get them in the app. So, my search continues.

I have few scarves and belts, so I kept everything I own. I don’t wear them very often but they do bring me joy. Many of my scarves were purchased on trips overseas so there are memories that come to light when I wear them.

I was quite surprised to find that I owned 15 hats! I live in a warm climate so I don’t really need a lot of winter hats, and i try to stay out of the sun as much as possible since i have fair skin. I kept four hats and gave the rest away.

Gloves are another item i seldom use in this climate, although it can get chilly in the winter. I only had a few pair to go with my coats, so I kept them

Overall, accessories is the clothing category that took the longest. Sadly, i feel I need to go through my earrings again…

This was a big category – accessories, special occasion clothing and shoes!

Clothing for special occasions. I lead a pretty casual life at this point, mostly writing, blogging and taking care of my Mom, so my social calendar is not as full as it might be. There are invitations I must refuse simply because of my responsibilities. However, that doesn’t stop me from looking for awesome bargains for special occasions. You never know when you’ll need that special dress! Plus, I tend to dress in what I call classic with a twist, so basically timeless designs, worth the investment if I find something I love at a great price. Some people need to wear the latest and the greatest, and while I enjoy doing so, I don’t have to.

I tend to view designer gowns as works of art. I’ve been fascinated with gowns since I was a kid. I used to sketch eveningwear of my own design all the the time. Bling it out and I’m on board! I’m also fascinated by how inexpensive some gowns can be purchased on eBay if you’re willing to wait and search enough. As an example. in the past, I purchased a brand new $3,500 gown for $66. Yep, that’s right, $66! And, it was authentic! I’ve also found some pre-owned dresses for less than $100. Many society ladies buy beautiful designer gowns, wear them just a few hours for an event, then sell them. Buying them at a good price is better than renting! Even if you need to pay for alterations, you’re probably still thousands of dollars ahead for something really exquisite.

I know, I’m supposed to be explaining how I cleaned through my special occasion clothing, but as I looked at the mere 22 pieces I owned, memories of my spectacular deals came to mind. Just touching these works of art brings joy to me. I did sell two gowns that I thought weren’t really my taste even though they were beautiful, but the rest I’m keeping until I either wear them, share them or replace them. The biggest issue here is how to store these beaded numbers which are quite heavy and may need to be stored flat. But, that’s an issue for another day.

Shoes. I suspect most women have a weakness in one of the clothing categories, and it’s generally handbags or shoes. I like to think my handbag collection is small since I’ll use my daily handbag sometimes for years before replacing it (although I do have a number of clutches) whereas shoes are worn every day. So, for me, my weakness is shoes. On occasion, I’ve topped the 250 mark but I’d already downsized to about 88 when I began this cleaning.

I tend to clean  through my shoes regularly, so it surprised me when I found 20 pair to part with. When you have everything in a big pile, certain patterns emerge and those 20 belonged to a part of my past that no longer applied.. I hadn’t worn any of them in quite a long time, so it was easy to let them go. There were a couple pair that were brand new in the box, so those I sold on eBay. Looking through them all at once also made it clear what I was missing. I’ve since added a few new items to the stash, and there are one or two more I could use.

Well, that covers each of the clothing categories in detail. Up next, I’ll do a final analysis on this entire category, then another post on what I’ve learned through this process so far. There’s still a whole house to go! The next category to clean will be books, but I’ll get to that in a few posts. Thanks for joining me on this journey. There’s much more to come.

Enjoy!

Cindi

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