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Simple Organizing Tips & Tricks

Ready to tidy? Check out these simple organizing tips & tricks!

Focus on Joy:

Learn how to Joy Check!

Closet Tips

  • Remove clothes from plastic! Mold and moths can be trapped inside plastic covering your clothes. I recommend reusable & washable cloth garment bags.
  • Create a beautiful closet with matching hangers: it’s a simple yet effective visual appeal when you open your closet daily

Simple Kitchen Organizing

  • Try to store everything out of sight, inside cabinets and drawers
  • Install a wall basket on the inside cabinet under the sink to store soap & sponges
  • Store less frequently used appliances in low, easy to reach cabinets
  • Toss less joyful items like disposable silverware and chopsticks
  • Store food in air tight containers to preserve quality and for a lovely visual
  • Store loose dry items in bins
    • Snack bin: popcorn, chips, nuts, crackers
    • Canned: soup, beans, chicken broth
    • Sauces: ketchup, soy sauce, hot sauce
    • Health foods: protein powder, supplements
    • Back stock: backup cereal, energy bars, coffee
  • Keep joyful tools and organizers: high level of function, easy to wash/clean, and aesthetically pleasing

Atmosphere

  • Dedicate a “to-do” area.
    • Place a “pending” box for all incoming mail you want to open
    • Hang a calendar for all chores, appointments, reminders
    • Designate a work area for projects you’re working on
  • Create a drop-zone: this is usually near the front door where you can leave a pair shoes, jacket, mask, and wallet. It’s important to only leave one or time items of each category to avoid visual clutter.
  • Areas for daily rituals need to be easy to access: drop-zone, coffee & tea station, pet zone, workout zone, and more!

Storage Tricks

  • BINS ARE YOUR BEST FRIEND! Kitchen, Bathroom, Closet, Garage – no matter what space you are trying to organize try to CONTAIN all Like-items together!
  • Labels, labels, labels! Label’s help everyone in the home know where items belong and where to put them back.
  • Utilize all storage areas efficiently
    • Store large items first, place smaller items around
    • Install shelves on empty wall spaces
  • Store items of the same category together and label the shelf and/or box

What simple organizing tips & tricks do you want?

For more tips see Marie Kondo’s Website

Organize your space around your daily habits.

Organize Books

How to organize books successfully

The guide to success:

Always keep your ideal lifestyle in mind! As you prepare to organize books we need to refrain from reading. When we read books it distracts us from focusing on our emotions.

  • Rule 1: Take every book off the shelf
  • Rule 2: Do not open and read the books
  • Rule 3: Book trilogies can be held at the same time

Marie Kondo’s Tidy Order

  • General (books for pleasure)
  • Practical (instructional, cookbooks, etc.)
  • Visual (coffee table, photography etc.)
  • Magazines

How to Joy Check

  • Step 1: Pile all books in the entire home
  • Step 2: Pick a book that Sparks Joy – use this as an inspirational marker
  • Step 3: Pick up a book one at a time. Focus on the feeling it gives you. Think of its purpose. Ask yourself a few of the joy checking questions to make a decision.
  • Step 4: Place book in keep or donate pile
  • Step 5: Store books to keep on shelves temporarily

Joy Checking Questions

  • Do you want this information to stay by you and support you as your life changes?
  • Is the potential future use of the book equal to the value of the space it will take up?
  • Do you want this book in your ideal lifestyle environment?
  • What emotions and feelings will you enhance by having this book in your life?

Why is it hard to discard books?

  • “I might read it again.”
    • Ask yourself honestly, have you read your favorite books more than once?
  • Books are meant to be read. If you’ve read it, then the knowledge is inside of you.
  • We always have the best intentions. Have the courage to ask yourself honestly if you will read it or accept that this book has served its purpose in teaching you what you don’t like to read.
  • If you can’t commit to reading it today, most likely someday will not happen.
    • Let it go.
  • If you let go of a book and are still thinking about it, you learned that you’re passionate enough to buy another copy and read it.

What books Spark Joy for you?

“What I really wanted to keep was not the book but certain information or specific words contained.”

– The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo

The Best Marie Kondo Quotes

A compilation of all the best Marie Kondo quotes to inspire you!

“The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.”

“When we ask ourselves, Does this spark joy? We reconnect with our inner self and discover what’s really important to us. The result is a lasting change in behavior that sets life on a positive track.”

“Always keep in mind that the true purpose is to find and keep the things you truly love, to display these proudly in your home, and to live a joyful life.”

“If it makes you happy then the right choice is to keep it confidently.”

“No matter how much stuff you may own, the amount is always finite. The more you do it, the closer you get to a house full of joy. Therefore, nothing could be more wasteful than to give up in the middle.”

“By handling each sentimental item and deciding what to discard, you process your past. If just stow these things away in a drawer or cardboard box, before you realize it, your past will become a weight that holds you back and keeps you from living in the here and now. To put things in order means to put your past in order.”

“The key is to make the change so sudden that you experience a complete change of heart.”

“What was the reason? What do you hope to gain through tidying? Visualize your ideal lifestyle that you dream of.”

“To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose.”

“Through the process of election only things that spark joy, you can identify precisely what you love and what you need.”

The best Marie Kondo Quotes continued…

“When we honestly confront the things we own, they evoke many emotions within us. Those feelings are real. It is these emotions that give us the energy to go on living. Believe what your heart tell you when you ask does this spark joy?”

“I want to help others who feel the way I once did, who lack self confidence and find it hard to open their hearts to others, to see how much support they receive from the space they live in and the things that surround them.”

“When we really delve into the reasons for why we can’t let something go, there are only two: an attachment to the past or a fear for the future
Ask yourself – am I having trouble getting rid of this because of an attachment to the past or because of a fear for the future?”

“The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life. Attachment and fears govern the way you select things you own but also represent the criteria by which you make choices in every aspect of your life, including relationships with people and your job.”

“There are three approaches we take toward our possessions: face them now, face them sometime, or avoid them until the day we die. If we acknowledge our attachment to the past and our fears for the future by honestly looking at our possessions, we will be able to see what is really important to us.”

“I can think of no greater happiness in life than to be surrounded by the things I love. How about you?”

“Often, it is only after tidying up that people realize what kind of environment sparks joy for them.”

“Tidying can help you get in touch with what you really want, show you what you need to change, and help you find joy in your environment.”

Resources

Find Marie’s books: https://shop.konmari.com/collections/books

Learn more about Marie Kondo: https://konmari.com/

What’s your favorite quote?

Citations

Kondo, Marie. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Ten Speed Press, 2014.

Kondo, Marie, and Barbara Lampe. Spark Joy. Lev., 2017.

Organize Clothing

How to organize clothing efficiently

Why is my Closet Clutttered?

  • The closet is too full
  • Most individuals don’t know how to organize clothes

Marie Kondo’s Tidy Order

  1. Tops (shirts, sweaters, etc.)
  2. Bottoms (pants, skirts, etc.)
  3. Clothes to be hung (jackets, coats, suits, etc.)
  4. Socks
  5. Underwear
  6. Clothing for special events (swimwear, uniforms, seasonal, etc.)
  7. Bags (handbags, clutches, totes, etc.)
  8. Accessories (scarves, belts, hats, etc.)
  9. Shoes

Organize Clothing Process

  • Step 1: Pile all clothes in a subcategory
  • Step 2: Double & triple check all clothes in the subcategory are in the pile
  • Step 3: Joy Check
  • Step 4: Fold and test if it stands up right
  • Step 5: Organize by color
  • Step 6: Place vertically in temporary storage

Clothes Tips

  • Remove all tags
  • Take clothes out of package
  • Fold most clothes, hang less
  • See how to fold here
  • Donate clothes at the end

Storage

Once we Joy Check all clothes we will find a forever home for each category.

Hanging Clothes

Every person has a preference for how to display clothes

  • Organize by category: suits, dresses, coats, dress shirts, etc.
  • Organize from dark (left) to light (right)
  • Organize by length: longest (left) to shortest (right)
  • Organize by rainbow

Folded Clothes

Lightest items at the top and heaviest items at the bottom.

  • Top drawers: undergarments, socks, & accessories
  • Middle drawers: shirts, pants
  • Lower drawers: sweaters, jackets, seasonal
  • Organize from dark to light or by color

Bags

  • Store bags inside bags
  • Handles should be visible to identify bags inside
  • Cloth bags can be folded and stored vertically
  • Store bags near clothes, perhaps on the top shelf

Shoes

Store shoes with the lightest items on top and heaviest items on bottom.

  • Top shelf: sandals, flip flops
  • Second shelf: heels
  • Third shelf: running shoes, walking shoes
  • Bottom shelf: boots, rain shoes

Find more inspiration from Marie Kondo

Organizing Book Recommendations

Check out these book recommendations to help you start organizing!

Marie Kondo Book Recommendations

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up: This is such a great book to inspire you! After reading this I just knew I had to hire Marie to help my parents with their hoarder home. Soon after I signed up for her Organizing Consultant Program to start organizing on my own! This is where my professional organizing journey began. In this book she describes the deep impact of how organizing can enhance our lives. After all, don’t we all want to live our best lives?!

Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up: Such an amazing detailed guide on how to organize in each category. Marie includes pictures of how to fold items with TONS of tips and tricks. Take your organizing game to the NEXT LEVEL with this book!

Joy at Work: Organizing Your Professional Life: What I love most about this book is how she explains how to organize your digital life. I swear before I read this I had soooo many old photos, documents spread all over my desktop, and absolutely no order to all my files. She also goes into detail about how to maintain a tidy workspace.

Organizing Book Recommendations

The Home Edit: A Guide to Organizing and Realizing Your House Goals: Clea and Joanna transform spaces to be practical and aesthetically beautiful. They tidy for clients instead of with clients. They love purchasing organizing containers to display everything beautifully and in rainbow color.

The Personal Organizing Workbook: Solutions for a Simpler, Easier Life: This in amazing guide that really helps clients organize and learn how to maintain organized spaces. I really enjoyed this one!

Real Life Organizing: (Clutterbug Book)

Martha Stewart’s Organizing: The Manual for Bringing Order to Your Life, Home & Routines

Need more suggestions?

How to Fold Clothes & More

The basics of how to fold clothes & more


Folding Guidelines:

  1. Check out the storage space for each category of clothing
  2. Fold clothes into a rectangle or square of the same sizes
  3. Adjust folds so everything can stand up right, side by side horizontally
  4. Display & Store by category
  5. Display & Store by color from light to dark or in rainbow order
  6. Place most frequently used clothes at arms reach
  7. Less used clothes can go higher, lower or towards the back
  8. Switch out clothing every season if you limited closet space

How to Videos

Need more help? Don’t hesitate to contact me!

Follow my YouTube Channel for more tips on organization!

How to Maintain AFTER Tidying!

Free Tips & Tricks about how to maintain a Tidy Lifestyle after Tidying!

Kitchen

Spices & Herbs

  • Always return seasonings back to their designated home
  • Preserve flavor and quality by storing all spices and herbs away from light and heat
  • Replace after six months
  • When you run out of a spice: discard container and write down the item on your shopping list

Pantry

  • Always place items where you found them
  • Keep a writing pad handy in the kitchen so you can write down foods to replace
  • Sort through the pantry every 2-3 months to do inventory, make adjustments, and discard expired foods
  • Place labels on shelves so every member of the household can put things back where they belong

Refrigerator & Freezer

  • Always return food back to its category
    • sauces on the door
    • cheese in the drawer
    • milk on the tallest shelf
    • proteins on the lowest shelf (typically coldest area of the fridge)
  • Try to sort through the fridge & freezer every 1-2 months, before going grocery shopping
    • Check what you have and need to buy
    • Toss spoiled and expired foods
    • Reorganize so you can see everything

Living Room

Photos

  • Go through old photos every year. If you haven’t gone through photos in years, be honest with yourself and ask if they are worth keeping? Perhaps, switch photos in frames out with those in albums or boxes.

Books

  • Joy Check books every year. When did you read each book? If you haven’t most of the books in the past year or more consider other options – Kindle, Ebooks, or go to the library. (Yes, I still go to the library! It’s a wonderful way to read new releases without having to wait or store more books at home.)

Children’s toys

  • Ensure bins are categorized and accessible to encourage the little kiddos to tidy up
  • Categories can be broken down by:
    • Balls
    • Legos/Duplos
    • Trains, Trucks, Small Toys
    • Play food, Cookware
    • Stuffed Animals
    • Arts/Crafts

Dining Room

  • Sort through the dining room sideboard once a year and donate items that haven’t been used in the past 12 months
  • Refrain from using the dining table as a resting place for paper and projects
  • Place fresh flowers in a vase or another centerpiece. This visual appeal reminds family members that this is a space to gather.
  • Dust and clean the table weekly – this can help from clutter building
  • Place frequently used items in the sideboard nearby
    • Coasters, trivets, and napkins in easy to access drawers

Home Bar

  • After a party, put glasses and liquors back where they belong
  • Inventory the liquid cabinet before holiday and event shopping. Add items to your shopping list.

Home Office

Mail

  • Recycle junk mail at the mailbox
  • Have a designated place to temporary hold mail if you can’t get to it immediately
  • Sort through mail daily and as soon as you can
  • Shred sensitive mail
  • Place bills and other important documents in a pending box
  • Replace old magazines with new ones, especially if you have a subscription

Papers

  • As you receive important documents be sure to file them away in their appropriate category within a file cabinet or file folder
  • Place must-do items in a pending box, typically located on top of the desk or in a drawer
  • It’s natural for papers to be left out: don’t stress! You’re human! File papers once a week or on a regular schedule so nothing builds up.
  • When you receive notices such as wedding invitations: add it to the calendar immediately and then toss the paper.
  • Clean out files every year.
    • Tax records have to be saved for 3 years in California
    • Dispose of any unused manuals
    • Shred old bills, receipts, checks, etc.

Digital

  • Every 4 months: Go through file folders and add documents left on the desktop or other places that are not categorized
    • Ensure all documents are in useful categories
      • Projects
      • Personal
      • Travel
      • Medical
      • Financial
      • Tax
      • Important
    • Trash old and irrelevant documents
  • Every 4 months: Sort photos and delete duplicates, screenshots, junk
    • Take this opportunity to increase phone storage, sync photos to the cloud and/or computer
    • Create a photo screensaver slideshow on the computer! Change the background photo on your phone! This is a great way to enjoy your photos and relive your memories each day!

Bedroom

Clothes

  • Always put clothes back where it belongs in a closet, dresser, or drawer
  • Sort through clothing storage spaces periodically, perhaps every 6 months
    • When seasons change, replace and store clothes with the appropriate season
    • Discard or donate unworn clothes.
    • *Every item we keep and discard teaches us a lesson*
  • Designate a lazy drawer: Have a safe space to hold the pajamas currently being used or other clothes you intend to wear again. This is also a great place to hold clothes when feeling too tired to fold.
  • Designate a laundry bag for dry cleaning
  • Utilize drawer organizers and dividers if your clothes feel cluttered and disorganized regularly
  • As soon as you empty the dryer, find a peaceful place to fold clothes and take some time for yourself. This can become a relaxing ritual. Don’t forget to involve family members or to place clothes in labeled baskets within their personal spaces for them to get to.
    • Don’t have time to fold? Set clothing basket aside, near your closet as a “pending” activity.

Nightstand

  • Make it a habit to return all books inside the nightstand
  • Always put medicine in the drawers of the nightstand
  • Have in-bed hobbies? Place contents in a bin stored under the bed
  • Keep a small dish on the nightstand for hairbands, rings, or earrings

Bathroom

  • Reorganize your bathroom every 6-12 months
    • It’s normal for clutter to build up on bathroom counters. Make it a point to clean counters regularly to avoid scum and dust build up. Take this opportunity to tidy up!

Medicine

  • Check the dates of your medication every 6 months
    • Over the counter medication typically expires every 6-12 months
  • Store medicine in a cabinet or designated bin with a lid, out of reach from kids

Garage & Utility Room

  • Label all bins and shelves to ensure you always put items back. This also helps encourage family members to put things back.
  • Clean and fix equipment, tools, and recreational items every season before storing

Do you need an improved maintenance strategy?

For more detailed guidance I recommend reading The Home Organizing Workbook.

Less is More! A Unique Approach to Moving

Less is More! Especially when it comes to prepare for moving!

Moving is the perfect opportunity to Joy Check each and every item we own. After-all, the less we have, the less we have to move! This not only allows us to have less items but also frees space for new items – perhaps more tasteful furniture, updated appliances, in style clothing, and more.

My partner and I have always dreamed of living abroad. We’ve made so many memories traveling to various countries meeting locals, eating street food, exploring cities and adventuring outdoors. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic we put off traveling and moving all together to stay safe.

Over the past few years we slowly began to prepare for a big move abroad. When we envisioned moving, we identified with the concept of getting rid of most of our things. Instead of going through the headache of packing and shipping items to another country, we decided to take a different approach. Most of our possessions – furniture, appliances, etc. were given to us by family and friends over time. This was VERY ideal for us, as we valued:

  1. Functional things with no emotional attachments
  2. Utilizing furniture passed down while also not purchasing new/expensive items
  3. No hassle to move anything or pay for a moving service and truck
  4. Sparking joy in others lives by donating/selling/discarding possessions.
  5. Having the freedom to move with less responsibilities

This situation may sound a bit extreme to most. You may be asking yourself – but why do you have to get rid of most of the things you own? Honestly, I don’t HAVE to. I WANT to!

Sparking Joy to me personally is less about the things and possessions I own and more about the experiences and memories I create. By letting go of almost all the material items in my life, there is a sense of freedom. Freedom to have only what I love. Freedom to not have many objects to be responsible for. Freedom to Spark Joy in the ways that mean the most to me. Plus having less is ultimately less to organize and maintain! Win, Win!

What is the process to discard possessions?

  1. Photograph & post items for sale online: this can be done through craigslist, facebook marketplace, or other apps/websites. Luckily for me, I love to sell things online! I love giving away things that people could use and that hopefully Spark Joy. I typically begin this process 2-3 months prior to the set move out date. This allows me to take my time and not compromise sales prices. It also gives me time to emotionally prepare myself to let go slowly, rather than feeling rushed.
  2. Joy Check every item that is considered to keep for the move. Yes, even as a professional organizer I go through my own tidying festival by category! I want to be 100% confident with every item I will take with me.
  3. Donate left over items to Salvation Army, local thrift stores, or Good Will. Another option could be to schedule a pick-up day with the local municipal.
  4. Begin the packing process. I intend to have just a few boxes and/or luggages to take with me. It’s always smart to organize boxes by categories and to label, label, label everything! This makes it easier to access things and to have everything organized when I arrive to my new home.
  5. Load the car and thank my home for all its given me – warmth, shelter, and memories. HELLO WORLD!

Less is More Final Thoughts

In our consumer society and high tech world we literally don’t have to leave our home to survive! With amazon, food delivery, grocery delivery, and the many other services and applications we can not only survive but buy anything at the click of a button! As amazing as technology is, it also encourages us to spend. Anywhere you go on the internet markets specifically tailored ads to you – companies learn your interests, habits, desires, and take full advantage to get us to buy buy buy! Some buy for comfort, necessity, or for status symbols of wealth or luxury. Think about your spending habits – What items are worth fixing, moving, and saving? What items are meaningful to you? Why?

It is not things that give us true joy. When we grow old what will we remember? What will we say? “I have no regrets because I’m happy I did…” What will resonate with us most are the memories we have of experiences throughout life. Be sure to create your own, each and every day.

Have nice things and also keep in mind there is so much more out there in the world than possessions. No one is holding you back from picking up and moving or traveling and seeing the world. The world is your oyster.

What sparks joy for you?

The Art of How to Let Go & Discard

What is the key to being able to let go and discard, for good?

joy checking process

Visualize your Ideal lifestyle

“When you imagine your ideal lifestyle, you are actually clarifying why you want to tidy and identifying the kind of life you want to live once you have finished.”

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo
  • Step 1: Visualize in detail the ideal lifestyle you dream of
  • Step 2: Identify why you want to live that lifestyle
  • Step 3: Dive into the specifics of how you want to live day by day.
  • When we skip this step it-
    • delays the whole tidying process
    • puts you at higher risk for rebound

Focus on What Sparks Joy, not what to Discard

What adds value to your life? When you touch something that brings you joy-

  • A feeling of thrill, often a full body experience
  • A pleasing design/look that makes you feel peaceful
  • An item with a high degree of functionality that makes life easier
  • A sense of rightness
  • An items thats useful in daily life

When faced with something that does not spark joy-

  • you feel heavy
  • your hands pause
  • you tilt your head slightly and frown
  • you have to think
  • you feel guilty
  • for essential items that don’t spark joy, think about the purpose

The Joy Checking Process

  • Step 1: Pick up one item at a time
  • Step 2: Hold it.
    • If you’re unsure if it Sparks Joy hug it close to your heart!
    • Gaze at it.
    • If it is clothing, please try it on!
  • Step 3: Pay attention to how your body reacts- how do you feel?
  • Step 4: If you do not know if it Sparks Joy, pick 2-3 similar items and compare
  • Step 5: Show gratitude for each item you keep or discard.

Try not to focus on-

  • reducing
  • efficient storage methods
  • feeling wasteful
  • giving items away

Instead focus on-

  • choosing belongings that inspire joy
  • enjoying life according to your own standards
  • appreciate how the items you discard supported you in your life
  • what role each item has in your life

Reframe Letting Go

When we let go of our belongings a weight is lifted. We keep items that truly Spark Joy┬«. We also allow the items we give to spark joy in other peoples lives. There’s an opportunity to learn from every material possession we own, even ones we discard.

  • If you let go of something you’ve used until it’s broken and worn out: appreciate how its helped to enhance your life
  • If you let go of something you never used: it taught you a lesson in how you shop, that it did not have a purpose in your life
  • Think consciously about each item you discard: how will you choose to live moving forward? how you will acquire new things?

Keep items with Confidence

If you keep it then…

  • Use and appreciate it.
  • Create a forever home for every item: find it and know exactly what you have.
  • It’s natural to not put away everything all the time. No one is perfect. Make it a priority to create positive habits. Maybe you won’t put belongings back all the time, every day, but commit to putting things away.

What is hard for you to let go?

Please note items discussed on this post were from the Marie Kondo books and KonMari networking group. Find more resources here.

Spark Joy

I promise myself every day to live a life where I Spark Joy

“Tidying can help you get in touch with what you really want, show you what you need to change, and help you find joy in your environment.” – Marie Kondo

I love taking care of cats.

A not so secret, not so crazy, cat lady. In my spare time I like to foster kittens for the local animal shelter.

I am also a proud cat mom.

Spark Joy with eating delicious nutritious food!

Looking good and more importantly feeling good and being healthy are so crucial to my mental health.

Transforming my lifestyle is a huge contribution to what sparks joy in my life today!

Setting aside time to be outside.

I consider myself an active individual. When I’m not home organizing and cooking, I love to –

Take long walks

Hula hoop on the grass

Window shop

Befriend neighborhood cats

Try new foods

Exploring hidden gems

This is a photo in a nearby park called Mount Sutro Open Space Reserve.

You would never guess this trail is smack dab in the middle of the city.

Sometimes it’s nice to escape the city hustle without any hassle. What’s your escape?

Spark Joy Adventures – explore all the great places California has.

This is a photo I took in Yosemite on the way back from climbing Half Dome.

A picture barely scratches the surface of the beauty in this National Park!

Genuine connection to people, animals, plants, and life around me.

I painted this photo for my partner as a memento to all of our memories camping under the stars.

What sparks joy for you?