The Life Changing Magic

So this year one of my goals was to spend more time reading and to make my own home a priority in getting it to the same level of comfort as I work so hard to help my clients get to in their homes.

"The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up", Marie Kondo, KonMari Method, KonMari, LIfechanging Magic, Life Changing, Tidying UP, Organization, Spring Cleaning, Sorting, Home, Japanese art of decluttering, declutter

Well I’m busy, so time to read ends up falling pretty low on the totem pole, but I had heard so much about The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo that I thought maybe that would be a good way to get two birds. Read something that helps me get my own home more in order.

So again, with no time to read, I posted on Facebook about audio book apps and what people thought of them. Most of my friends left comments raving about both Audibles and Overdrive, and I would be willing to try either, however Overdrive is a free service that works in connection with library systems so it is only as good as the library you are linked to and Audibles is a monthly fee for one book per month or a higher fee for multiple books. You can look into more on that here, but I ultimately decided to download Overdrive and connected using my Mom’s library card to start and see about the service.

Her library is amazing and so far has had every title I have searched for and I’m on my third book with more on hold… I might be addicted to audio books. 

That said, the first book we listened to was the life changing magic, to learn the KonMari method. I say we because I wanted to make sure that P and I listened together so that we could work on the process together, sense after all we share the 525SF space equally with equal amounts of possessions that add to our chaos and do not bring us joy.

We started listening to the book on Monday the 18th I want to say. On Friday the 22nd there was a blizzard brewin’ so I stopped at Home Goods on my way home to buy some organizational baskets and things. Friday night we listened to more of the book and Saturday morning we listened throughout brunch until we got to a point where we felt we had heard enough to get the concept and start working on it. (This was about 2/3 through the book where she had completed discussing the order of the process and how the process works, so we were in a good place really to start.)

"The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up", Marie Kondo, KonMari Method, KonMari, LIfechanging Magic, Life Changing, Tidying UP, Organization, Spring Cleaning, Sorting, Home, Japanese art of decluttering, declutter

Everything all laid out, ready to sort. No judgement!

I have to say, at first it was hard and I did end up with a lump in my throat sorting through some items. P and I discussed it and he said that he learned after a few ‘tough’ items to figure out, he realized that he really knew which way he should go on them and some things were just harder to detach from, but if they don’t look good, feel good, etc., then do they really bring you joy just taking up space?

We moved past the hump, finishing our clothes and by Sunday morning our closet was put back together in such a stunning way, and we had rearranged our bedroom minimally but gained so much space in the process! (Can’t wait to share more on this down the road!)

The order that Marie Kondo discusses in her book is first clothing, then books, papers, komono and mementos. Komono is a Japanese term that basically covers all of the miscellaneous items you may have, such as linens, cleaning products, medicines, accessories around the home, kitchen goods (from dishes to the items in your pantry), etc., so this is a vast category to get through.

Sunday we worked through all of our books, then started on the komono (there is a specific list/order to follow mentioned in the book).

Monday after work, we went through our papers, realizing we had skipped this necessary and evil step.

Tuesday we sorted through a few more areas of komono in the morning, and then started taking a few things to the car to donate.

Tuesday night we took out our narrow dresser that had been in our closet along with our old filing cabinet, both now empty, down to the street (in JC if you put any furniture on the curb, people will come pick it up in under 24 hours) and someone else had picked them up by the time I got home from work the next evening. The last few nights and mornings upon coming and going to work, we have taken a few more items and loaded them into the car.

This morning, I took the first car load to the Goodwill Donation Center. In this car-load alone, we donated 10 garbage bags of clothing/shoes/accessories, 2 boxes of ‘komono,’ 2 folding chairs. At home we still have 3 bags of closthing/komono, one box of books and one more folding chair to donate that wouldn’t fit in the car this time around. That and we still have about half of the komono category to go through. Not to mention, we have also taken something like 6 bags down to the garbage and recycling (mostly recycling when we can!) since we started sifting through everything, and we have one stuffed bag to take to the shredder.

Here is what I am feeling throughout this process. First of all, holy shit. How is it possible that we even had so many things just sitting around, stuffed in corners and hidden away in the back of our closet that we truly don’t love?! That in and of itself is crazy. Second of all, I feel amazing. I am starting to feel lighter in my space.

When I would come home from work before, it was always hard for me to feel calm. I always felt like there was something that had to be taken care of because there is always stuff everywhere and surfaces covered. Especially doing what I do I have always felt a bit of guilt that my home doesn’t look and feel as beautiful as my clients do.

Homes should be lived in, and that means they should have stuff. You should have things that are meaningful to you laying out on your surfaces. Things that when you see them bring you joy. But you shouldn’t have a seemingly bottomless pile of junk mail covering a section of your kitchen counter no matter how many times you clear away that section. You shouldn’t have your electronics (laptops, iPads, etc.) just laying around on the coffee table. And you shouldn’t have a pile of miscellaneous crap just sitting on the table for no good reason. For these reasons, I am completely absorbed and invested in the KonMari method. The life changing magic is no joke.

I can feel our life changing. I can feel the weight of the things that don’t matter to us that have been filling our lives being lifted away.

For now, things are still in a state of chaos as we are still sifting through things one day at a time and around the time when we are at work or my client appointments, etc., because this takes time. The more you have, the longer it can take. In the book Marie Kondo says that it can take up to 6 months for some people… I’m aiming to be done in less than one just because I don’t do well with things up in the air-I need some sense of finality, but I also want it to be done right, so we will get it done when we can.

We have still been listening to the book and are just about finished with it. I have started to get really excited about what this ‘life change’ means for us moving forward. I think we will be so much more comfortable and relaxed in our home.

I will report back once we are truly finished with the process and the book as a whole, but I had to share what we have been up to and how amazing it has been so far. It is certainly not easy, and I wouldn’t recommend starting the process without considering what it means and if you are really mentally/emotionally/physically ready for the grueling process. I also have to say that having your spouse (or house-mates) on board is HUGE. For me, knowing that P is in this with me has been so wonderful. I feel supported and that it is a joint effort to move forward with a tidier lifestyle, and thus I feel my efforts are not wasted but matched.

Have you heard all the rage on the KonMari method and this book? Do you buy it? Do you want to try it? If you have questions, chime in in the comments section, I’m happy to help if I can!

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Getting Closer

This quote is perfect. Everything in life is and should be about progress over perfection, and that is something that I am always trying to focus on. I try to sponge up all the lessons in life, absorb all the little things that I can learn from and grow. I strive everyday for progress, never perfection, because once you stop growing and progressing, there is nothing left to strive for.

Progress

This weekend, Brantley’s mood improved greatly, and he is feeling a lot better. The vet called back with his test results to let us know that nothing showed up in his labs, but that we should keep him on the meds and watch him over the course of the next week to monitor any changes.

Against All Grain

Also this weekend, I found a great (new to me) cookbook called “Against All Grain” by Danielle Walker. I basically read through it cover to cover on Sunday and can’t wait to start using the menu plans and the recipes from the book. Sunday, I also walked over to our local farmer’s market, so now we are stocked up with fresh local produce for the week. The rest of the weekend I cleaned house, worked through some client details and soaked up time with my boys. All in all, a great weekend! I’m feeling fully recharged and ready for the week ahead! Progress, every day!

New Year, Time For a Cure

I have followed along sort of mindlessly with the Apartment Therapy January Cure in the past. But I haven’t really ever participated, mostly because I didn’t want to put the effort into a home that wasn’t truly mine.

This year, however, I have signed up! I know it is a little late to the game being six days into the cure, but we are only on assignment two, so if you are interested in curing your home, click over here to sign up. They will send you the assignments via email throughout the month of January and by the time we have finished the month, your home will be in better shape for the year ahead.

I don’t know about you, but I’m so excited to get curing! I think that being involved in design, and working so hard on everyone else’s spaces (which I love so much), it is sometimes hard to bring that home. At the same time though I want the same peaceful and organized home that I preach the benefits of to my clients. Truthfully I don’t think we are that far off, but what I like about the cure is that you start at the ground (literally) and work your way through your space.

You can tackle the whole home or one specific problem area depending on the size of your place and what feels like it needs the most attention. Either way… I think it is definitely worth take a look at.

Friday was the first assignment, and though I started on Sunday, I still managed to get it done. If you get going today, you should definitely be able to catch up.

This weekend we tackled floors. The assignment was to give your floors a healthy cleaning. And being the way that I am, I left no piece of wood un-scrubbed. I found some good wood floor cleaner, got my supplies ready and then methodically worked through each space. I started with the vacuum and vacuumed up what was there. then I removed all the layers (furniture, area rugs, etc.), vacuumed again, ran the Swiffer over the floors, then got on my hands and knees with the wood cleaner and really got down to business.

I used Method Wood Floor Cleaner, a hard-bristle scrub brush (the kind you scrub your grout with) for the corners of the rooms and where the baseboard meets the floor, and a soft rag for the main areas. While going around the edges, I noticed that we had some old dried sealing around the edges of the living room and the bedroom, so instead of just noting it and moving on, I got out my putty knife and new sealant and scoured away the old, cleaned beneath what was there and re-sealed the edges.

I have to say that it was hard work to clean all the floors, especially scraping and resealing the edges. But, I feel so much better already. The condo just feels like it is in better shape already! And after all, that is the whole point. This little detail that I’ve never paid much attention to before, has been tackled and I feel like I am being a good homeowner taking good care of my investment.

Part two of the assignment was to pick up some flowers for your home. Having just preached about this on Friday, you might be surprised to learn that I failed to accomplish this part of the task. I can make all sorts of excuses for why it didn’t get done, but really the last time I was at the market, none of the flowers spoke to me and we are going out of town soon, so I passed this weekend, and I will pick some up next time.

Time to start working on the second assignment! Who’s with me?

5 Habits at Home to Kick-Start a Better Year

I want to share with you five easy habits that help me stay happy and reduce my stress level within my home.

1.Make your bed.

Everyday, the easiest thing you can do is make your bed. Getting ready for bed, and being able to just snuggle in and get cozy is so nice. It will make your room look and feel cleaner and cozier, and you will just feel better.

2. Wipe down your kitchen surfaces.

After dinner every night, the food is cleaned up and put away, the dishwasher is quietly humming in the background. Just grab your cleaning wipe of choice and run over the counter tops. I’m a bit crazy about doing this, but I do the counters and then the stove top with and without the burners on. When I turn the light off and walk away, the kitchen is closed for the day, and when I come in first thing in the morning for coffee, I don’t feel the chaos of crumbs on everything. If you let it sit, it only gets harder.

3. When you’re done, put it away.

Simple as it might be, I’m sure you’ve been known to use something and then walk away without putting it back, maybe it’s your toothbrush, you use it and leave it on the counter, maybe it’s a book you were referencing… it can be any number of things. But when you are done, put it back on the shelf, in the closet, in its holder, wherever it may belong, put it there. With everything living in its rightful home, you won’t go crazy trying to find things the next time you need them. For us, in our small space, it helps things stay organized, which helps me feel calm. But even in the largest of homes, if things don’t get put away, piles can build and chaos will ensue.

4. Deal with junk mail immediately.

There is no sense in keeping a pile of anything. If it’s junk, toss it. Don’t let it take up your surface space or your piece of mind. Do it when you bring in it, save yourself time later so you don’t have to sift through it again, and just put it immediately into the recycle bin.

5. Buy yourself flowers.

If you are new around here you may not be aware of my love of fresh flowers, now you know. I think this is so worth the $5+/- at the market when you are picking up your groceries and it adds such an impact to your day to day life. I like to alternate which vase I use depending on the flowers, and then I try to put them where I will enjoy them. So pick a place where you spend a lot of time, whether it’s your desk, kitchen counters or coffee table, let them be seen. They will make you smile as you pass, because really who doesn’t enjoy seeing a little floral beauty as a part of their day?

These five things are key for me, and I hope they help you. Sometimes they don’t get done every day or every week, but try to keep it consistent and it will become second nature. You will start to notice your mood and stress levels all changing for the better.