I’m on a mission to know every single item in my house…from every sock to every piece of paper to every spoon and book, etc. No clutter, no mess and no “extra” anything. It’s my own version of Minimalism meets Marie Kondo. I’m ok with having a lot of stuff as long as it all has a place and a purpose. It’s ok that my tax documents don’t “spark joy” as long as they are neatly filed away.

Minimalism – a lifestyle defined by living with less. This includes fewer financial burdens such as debt and unnecessary expenses. For many minimalists, the philosophy is about getting rid of excess stuff and living life based on having more experiences rather than more worldly possessions. Simply put, keep things simple.

Marie Kondo – her method helps you clear your cluttered home by focusing on what you want to keep versus what you want to get rid of. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend watching Tidying up with Marie Kondo on Netflix.

I’ve been working on house projects since the early days of quarantine. Being at home all day put my clutter in perspective and had me facing some DIY projects I finally had time to tackle. During election week, I channeled my nervous energy into ramping up my cleaning and organizing efforts. Instead of refreshing that cursed election map and sitting in disbelief of how close the race was, I used my joy of how much progress our country has made and my pain of how far we still have to go into cleaning and scrubbing and filing – out with the old and in with the new. Such a metaphor.

This room was a closet-vanity when I used to live in the basement of this house. Now that my grandparents have passed and this house is my inheritance, I’m slowly working on making it my home. And yes, that included a move upstairs and a repurposing-redesign of a good portion of it so far!

Working on my home is a labor of love full of some really cool stories that I’ll share one day soon. For now, I’m embracing all of the amazing natural light in this room and having my beloved books on display! This room is much bigger than it looks…I’m thinking of moving my Peloton here. Thoughts?

I developed a few of my own best practices combined with tips I’ve learned online to create the quick list below.

Tips and details on my cleaning, organizing and donating –

  • Get rid of old documentsAccording to the IRS, you should keep records 3 years from the date you filed your original return or 2 years from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later. If you filed a claim for a loss, keep those records for 7 years. Personally, I keep all other documents for 5 years. I used 2 large accordion folders and a safe to file documents. Everything else goes to the shredder.
  • Donate clothing, bags and shoes – This is where you have to get real with yourself and ask, “Am I really going to wear this again?” If the answer is not an immediate, “Yes!” then it’s time to get rid of it. I’ve been donating to Military Order of the Purple Heart for years and I not only love the cause, but the convenience of having my clothes picked up from my front porch. You can schedule your pick-up ahead of time online through their website and they will leave you a tax receipt upon pick up.
  • Is there a support group for people who buy books and don’t read them?…asking for a friend. – If you want to actually read your books, put them on display on open shelves instead of behind closed cabinet doors. I used to keep all of the books below closed in my armoire and honestly, I forgot about so many of them until I start to reorganize.
  • Use storage spaces wisely – I moved a large metal shelf into my laundry room (not pictured), and it made a world of difference for getting things off the floor, into bins, and labeled to be easily accessed when needed. The shelves that hold the books now used to hold shoes. This new storage set up works best with the repurpose of this room. Summer clothes and shoes are no stored in the 2 large bins.
  • Check out Marie Kondo’s clothes folding method – Stacking clothes folded vertically in a closet or drawer means you can fit 20 to 40 folded pieces where you’d only be able to hang 10.
  • Review your dishes – Do you need 30 spoons? I didn’t, so I condensed them down to the 10 I really like and use. I have a variety for soups and teas, stirring coffee and eating creamy oatmeal. The same goes for forks, knives, etc.
  • Clean first – Dust and then put things away, sanitize as you go. When you finish and step back, you’ll be so pleased with how cleaned and organized your space is!
  • Use Pinterest for inspiration! – It’s like the best visual Google and many of the images will link to blogs and websites with more helpful information.
  • Try a capsule wardrobe – You can thank me later!

Picture below is before – I saw those open shelves and I just knew I wanted to fill them with books!

Picture below is after – soft lighting (this is at night) and storage while still keeping my favorite items on display!

I hope this not only inspires you, but gives you some direction, for your own cleaning and organizing ventures.