In my work as a Professional Organiser at Tidylicious, I help people to declutter and organise their homes and offices, using the method developed by Japanese tidying expert Marie Kondo. The method is a 3-step process, starting with visualising your ideal lifestyle, followed by deciding what to keep and discard, and finally organising your storage. My previous blog posts covered the first two steps. This blog post is all about step three: Storage.
I’ll start off with what not to do.
Do not buy any storage solutions until you’ve decided for every single item in your home whether you’d like to keep or discard it. Only once you’ve joy-checked everything you own, you know what you’re left with and what kind of extra storage you might need. You might find that you already have enough storage as it is though.
There’s a quote about storage that fits nicely with the above advice and with decluttering in general. It’s from the book Soulful Simplicity, by Courtney Carver:
“When you need to buy things for your things, it’s time for fewer things. When we start talking about organisational bins or extra storage options, we know it’s time get rid of stuff instead of accumulating more things to store it in.”
After this very important “don’t”, I’ll now continue with lots of “dos”. And only the occasional “don’t”…
When using Marie Kondo’s method, both decluttering and organising are done by category. There are five categories: clothes, books, papers, komono/miscellaneous and sentimental. I’ll first share some general storage tips, most of which can be applied to all categories. After that I’ll share some more tips, category by category.
General storage tips
BOXES When you come across any items in your home that you could use for storage, put these items to one side. Think of boxes that came with your shoes, tablet, mobile phone, jewellery, etcetera. Keep the box as well as the lid, as both can be used to store items, and also as drawer dividers.
FOLD IT Clothes can be folded, but there are so many more things that can be folded, such as towels, bedding, cleaning cloths, plastic and linen bags.
STORE IT UPRIGHT Do not pile things up as this makes it more difficult to see everything you own.
When standing things up vertically, it’s also easier to grab items without having to move other items.
STORE BY CATEGORY Store each (sub-)category in one spot. Do not spread the items that belong to one category out over several places. This will help you to remember where everything is. No more searching for items! It’s also one of the best ways to avoid ‘rebound’. You don’t want to declutter and organise again in a few months’ time!
HAVE FUN WITH IT Use joyful items to decorate your drawers, cabinets, and home in general. Examples of joyful items are jewellery that you do like the look of but don’t wear anymore, photos, knick-knacks and ornaments. Cheer up your sock drawer. Make your bathroom cabinet extra joyous. Do this by simply adding a joyful item.
Storage tips, category by category
CLOTHES For detailed information about wardrobe organisation, it’s best to read my blog post about how and where to start decluttering. The basics are: fold wherever you can, organise your hanging section in an upward line, store like by like and sort by colour. On Marie Kondo’s official YouTube channel are some great videos demonstrating her folding technique.
BOOKS Store books upright, as in a library. It’s up to you how you’d like to sort your books: in alphabetical order, by type (e.g. fiction, non-fiction*, poetry, comics – *within non-fiction you might want to sort in further sub-categories such as cooking, wellness, travel), by size, by colour (think rainbow bookcase).
PAPERS For most people, it works well to sort papers into three categories: keep forever (e.g. mortgage, life insurance), keep for a certain period of time (e.g. warranties, bank statements), and pending which are papers which you need to do something with, such as fill in a form, pay a bill.
KOMONO Also called miscellaneous, komono is everything that doesn’t belong in the previous categories. Think stationery, kitchen items, personal care products, bed linen, spare buttons, cables. When organising your komono items, it’s best to refer back to the general storage advice given above, and to store each sub-category in its own place (do not mix up sub-categories). If you put any boxes to one side to use for storage, now is the time to use these to store your komono items in.
SENTIMENTAL These are items such as photos, postcards, letters, diaries, but also anything else with sentimental value. Some sentimental items can be used to decorate your drawers, cabinets, and home in general. Keep other sentimental items in a keepsake box, and open the box from time to time as a joyful reminder of special moments in your life.
Once you’ve finalised all your storage and every single item you own has a home, it’s time to start living your ‘ideal lifestyle’. Enjoy your ‘tidylicious’ home!
Hester is a Bronze KonMari® Consultant, with years of experience sharing the method of Japanese tidying guru, Marie Kondo.
You can read more from Hester in her previous articles here:
What’s the best way to get started with decluttering and organising my home?
The benefits of tidying – how do you decide what to keep and discard?
Hester also teaches live online classes for members of The Joy Club, guiding you through the practical steps to tidying your home. Take a look at our events calendar here to see what our upcoming live classes and expert talks are.
Have you tried any of Hester’s tips? Share your experiences with the method in the comments below!