I have been doing pretty well with my routines, and things have been shaping up around my house! Yay! So, I figured that I would give you all some FABULOUS resources that have helped me. I have learned to be organized, and keep a home, all while homeschooling! It can be done! So, below I will have a list of awesome resources that have helped me along the way. They aren’t in any particular order, but I will comment on each.
- Sink Reflections by Marla Cilley a.k.a. The FlyLady – This resource may be one of my Top Picks! It is extremely practical in helping you learn how to start creating routines and helping you develop good habits. There is also a daily email reminder list you can get if you like, but the book alone is a HUGE help! It was often the only encouragement I would get, and it was so encouraging! Marla truly cares for her Fly Babies (as we are called), and really wants to help people. Find the website with all kinds of helpful information here.
- The House That Cleans Itself by Mindy Starns Clark – This was another practical book that helped me to reorganize my home so that cleaning was not so difficult. It taught me things such as keeping like things together so they are easily found, and placing bins in places that seem to collect messes.
- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo – I wrote a review of this book last summer. Here is that review:
My REVIEW of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo (BEFORE implemetation of her method}
Well, to start off, I have to say that The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up was something like I’ve never read before. I’ve read many books about decluttering, cleaning, and organizing and this one was nothing like the others. Not at all! Obviously, by the amount of books I’ve read on the topic, this is an area that I struggle with and have struggled with for most of my life, if not all of it. In fact, I am a huge fan and follower of FlyLady’s principles and have been for several years. I have read her book, Sink Reflections, many times. But, even with her ideas, I still struggle with the 15 minute decluttering sessions, and the detailed cleaning. I have gone through some great periods of sticking to the daily routines, though, and I did like that part of FlyLady’s program, because if you follow it, it does work. (But, again, I could never get past the DAILY routines to fit in the rest of the program!)
So, when I saw some recent posts about the KonMarie Method, I was quite intrigued. It is the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing. The posts and articles that I read were written by people who had read this book, and who had implemented the ideas or method into their own lives. They were all very enthusiastic about it and even showed pictures and videos of some of the implementation. It looked quite inspiring, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the book and see if it would be something that would work for me.
Now that I have finished the book, I have mixed feelings about it. I will detail those shortly. I think some of the ideas are so different that they took me by surprise and at first I didn’t like them because they were so different. But, as I continued to read, I came to understand more fully the reasoning behind them and think it might be worth a try to begin implementing them. However, there were still some things that bothered me. For instance, the almost worship like behavior of belongings. That is not something I want to do or ever plan to do!
So, I will start with the aspects of the KonMarie Method that I do like. I like that she believes that tidying a little every day will cause you to be tidying forever. I am not a naturally tidy person, so I would LOVE to not have to be tidying forever, and apparently if you use this method, you won’t have to ever tidy again. (I do have to mention that her definition of tidying is not cleaning. It is decluttering. Tidying is decluttering, and if you do it her way just once, you’ll never have to do it again. I LIKE that, I like it a lot!) I also like that she believes that storage experts are hoarders. That cracks me up! I can definitely see her point. I like that she suggests sorting by category, not by location. I have always decluttered by the room. I would start in the bedroom by sorting my clothes into keep, give, and trash piles. Then, I would organize them back into the drawers or closet. I would go through my entire bedroom sorting and organizing this way until the room was all the way decluttered and re-organized, then I would give it a good cleaning. After I was done with my bedroom, I’d move on to the next room and repeat. With the KonMarie method, you don’t go room to room, you go category by category. Clothes are first, then books, and the list continues all the way to mementos or sentimental items. At first this threw me way off, but I grew to really like the idea behind working in this fashion. The next thing I really like is that you are to ask yourself when discarding, “Does this item spark joy?” If it does not, you tell it goodbye; if it does bring joy, you keep it. It sounds wonderful to only keep those things that bring joy. It might become a tad tricky if your pots and pans don’t spark joy, but I do think the reasoning behind her having you ask this for each item makes a lot of sense. She says that if it sparks joy, you will take better care of the item, and therefore, it will last longer and continue to spark joy for a very long time. I like that she has a particular order of categories to follow when decluttering. I need help, and her giving the instructions with an order is very helpful. I like that every item is supposed to be stored vertically. This includes clothing! Sounds absolutely crazy, but the pictures and videos I’ve seen are amazing. This way you truly can see everything you own in a glance, and much less space is taken up. It’s quite genius, actually! I like that she says about books, “Sometime means never.” If I haven’t read it, I most likely won’t read it. It’s a hard thing to swallow as I’m a lover of books, but it is pretty accurate, I’m afraid. She also says that the books to keep are those that belong in the Hall of Fame. I have some of those books, and they are definitely keepers! I like that when it comes to storage, she says that simplicity is best. You don’t have to go out and buy expensive storage solutions. I like that storage spaces are not to be scattered throughout the house. I like that she suggests keeping things out of the bath/shower and kitchen sink areas. At first, I thought this was crazy! But, if you just get your bath/shower items out as you use them, and the soaps/brushes out as needed for cleaning dishes, how much simpler would it be to clean the shower and sink areas? And, how much nicer and less cluttered those spaces would always look! I also like how she says that we should appreciate the items we have. It helps us to take proper care of them if we are thankful for them. I have to agree. These are many of the things that I liked about the book.
Now I will share those things that I didn’t like so much. I don’t like that photos are to be cherished for who we are now. It seems like she is promoting getting rid of old photos and there are way too many memories in old photos for me. Maybe if I stored them properly in a memory book, and that was an item I loved and brought me joy, I could see her point. But, just discarding anything that is not current? I don’t think so! I don’t like that she says to forget about flow planning and frequency of use. To me, there are some things that are conveniently located for a purpose (because of flow) and others that are placed where they are placed because of how frequently they are used. So, this doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Maybe when I begin implementing the rest of her method, it will make more sense, but it doesn’t right now. Another thing I do not like is the recommendation to empty my bag every single day. (She is speaking of your purse and/or briefcase). Why would I do this? It baffles my mind, even after she explained why, I still don’t get it. The next thing I do not like is making the top shelf of bookcases a personal shrine. Won’t do it. Never will. I don’t worship things, and that is definitely a cultural thing I will not be implementing. I also do not like how often it is mentioned to speak to your belongings, greet them, thank them, allow them to help you, and the mention of good fortune that will come when tidying. I do believe that we should be grateful for what the Lord has blessed us with, and maybe I can turn these suggestions into having a grateful attitude to the Lord rather than to the item itself. It’s just all kind of creepy and it’s sprinkled throughout the entire book. For those reasons, I’m not sure I can recommend reading the book. However, there were many good ideas, and I do plan to try to implement them. I’m actually anxious to get started and plan to re-evaluate my review after I’ve tried implementing the KonMarie Method in my own home. Tidying may begin as soon as tomorrow! 🙂
Now that it’s been almost a year since writing this review, I can give a small update. I still agree with most all that I wrote! I did end up getting rid of A TON of stuff! I think it was approximately 20 boxes and 30 trash bags of stuff, and I was unable to even get to my linens or kitchen! The one thing that I do disagree with is that once you do this tidying (decluttering) you will never have to do it again. Because I am a homeschooler, books will always need to be paired down, and because I have kids, toys and kid’s clothing will always have to be paried down. However, if I lived alone, this would be true! My favorite thing that was implemented (besides the feeling I got from getting rid of so much stuff) was the drawer organization. It has made a HUGE difference! I love the way my drawers look ALL the time, and I can literally see everything I own in every drawer. I hope to continue with the tidying this summer by finishing the kitchen, and working through all the stuff in our basement. I can’t wait!
- Unstuffed by Ruth Soukup – This is a book I’ve most recently been reading. It is also a lot about decluttering, not only our homes, but our schedules and minds. I am not completely finished with this book, but I already know it’s one I want to add to this list.
Okay! There you go. These are four of my all time favorite resources for helping me to get my home clean and organized. And, when my home is clean and organized, it also makes me a better wife, mom, homeschool teacher, and friend. And, I am better prepared to serve with a joyful heart. Which reminds me of one more book! Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver. Check it out!
I hope these books can help you as they have helped me. I imagine many of them can be checked out at a library. Enjoy! And, because I love to read, I’d love to hear of other great books that you’ve read on this topic! Please share!