During a recent trip to Puerto Rico (I’m from PR, if you didn’t know), I listened to a good friend talk about his place- a condo with a killer view and more than reasonable space for a bachelor. This friend also has excellent taste, so his place looks nicely put together.
But for the last decade, he had tried to sell his condo.
During that time, the property had been on and off the market. And although my friend had done everything within his power and seemed to do it all right, the sale never went through for various reasons.
All the while, he had felt emotionally detached from his own home, as he said.
Deciding To Flow
At some point during those years, his life significantly changed – It sped up exponentially. Consequently, he was spending much less time at home. The timing was ideal because now, he did not need to spend so much time in a place he did not love.
However, he thought maybe his path was not to sell his apartment after all and that he probably needed “to flow” with his home instead.
And by “flowing,” he meant he had decided to align his actions and feelings with the energy of his dwelling, so it could be the source of joy he wished for – a home that would delight and support him. (I swear I had nothing to do with his decision or process – this was all him).
As he started to plan some upgrades on his apartment, it was clear he could only start those after emptying several areas that have been storing a lot of stuff through the years. He had not seen, touched, or needed that for long.
As you can imagine, this was not a project he looked forward to doing.
The Unexpected Happened
But then something unexpected happened- as soon as all that stuff started coming out of the many “hiding” areas, he felt a rush of energy compelling him to declutter and reorganize everything in his home. He could not explain it, but that feeling was enough. He took action.
Unbeknownst to him, this was a first-hand experience of clutter causing stagnant energy and the contrasting feeling of unleashing the positive energy that comes with decluttering.
It might be easy to ignore the draining effects of stagnant energy, settling for the status quo. However, becoming mindful gets us in touch with ourselves, our feelings, their why, and how. Then it’s easier to discern what should be done and the path forward.
So yes, my dear friend has a beautiful, well-appointed condo that he loves and is no longer trying to sell. He made peace with his home, which is now a place that supports his hectic life and gives him joy.
His Story Is My Wish For You
Listening to his story made me realize his journey perfectly embodied everything I wish everyone to experience.
Making the right decisions
Eliminating clutter and chaos from their lives
Shifting their energy
Loving where they live
(My friend should become My Space Reclaimed’s poster child, right?)
It’s simple- once you decide to love your place and act mindfully, your house becomes that HOME that supports your life and speaks of rest, comfort, and joy.
When that happens, life becomes easier, bigger, and better. That’s when you experience the flow.
Lately, I’ve been obsessed with the concept of the wardrobe capsule. I know it’s nothing new by any means, but for some reason, my time to pay attention to this has come. It goes perfectly well with the minimalist trend we have been experiencing in recent years. I love that!
Much has been said and written about the wardrobe capsule. There are capsules for every possible age, gender, color palette, and season. Just go on Pinterest, and you’ll never run out of ideas and options.
The Wardrobe Capsule
Susie Faux developed the term “capsule wardrobe,” She was the owner of the British boutique “Wardrobe” in the 1970s. At that time, the term referred to a collection of high-quality essential items of clothing that would not go out of fashion and we could wear across multiple seasons. The idea was to update the collection with seasonal pieces to provide something to wear for any occasion without buying many new clothing items.
According to Susie Faux, a woman’s wardrobe capsule should typically contain at least two pairs of trousers, a dress or a skirt, a jacket, a coat, a knit cardigan, two pairs of shoes, and two bags. This concept uncomplicates the morning routine and saves money in the long run. Also, because the capsule pieces are of higher quality, they might be more expensive, but they won’t go out of style and last much longer.
The concept of a capsule wardrobe was made famous by American designer Donna Karan in 1985 when she released her “7 Easy Pieces” collection.
These days, the capsule idea deviated from the original concept due to the rampant consumerism of our days. Instead of limiting the collection to 7-11 items, the current capsules limit is about 30 items (including shoes, handbags, and accessories). Still, it is a beautiful improvement (or sacrifice, shall I say) from the two or three full closets many women own these days.
I like how this concept gets our creative juices flowing. We need to be creative to come up with different combinations and develop outfits with a limited number of clothing pieces. For some, this is a real problem. For others, this is just what they need. Others might even discover a side they did not know about themselves!
Here’s a little to help with creating diverse combinations of clothing pieces. A couple of years ago, I discovered an app called Stylebook. Again, nothing new but still super fun. Stylebook brings your closet to life with its many applications. It takes some initial prework, but even that part is enjoyable.
Stylebook requires that you photograph your wardrobe pieces (including accessories). There are many options to create your wardrobe images, including clipping and importing images from your favorite online stores, social media (Pinterest, of course), and others. It yields images that make your clothing look like magazine stuff.
And if you’re using the capsule concept, the amount of clothing to photograph will be minimal anyway – another advantage of the capsule!
Best Fashion Blog
Speaking of capsules, I should not forget to mention blogger and fashion diva Allison Lumbatis from GYPO (Get Your Pretty On). Her blog is fantastic, with lots of helpful content and advice. Allison offers seasonal wardrobe capsules based on the outfit formulas concept. Curious? Check her out! Be careful, though! This stuff is addictive.
Is spending so much time inside making you go stir-crazy? Well, with life outside seemingly on hold, this may be the perfect opportunity to make a few easy home improvements to transform your house into a nicer and more refreshed place to spend your days. From adding a pop of color to your front door to cleaning out your closet, here are 20 DIY home projects you can tackle to spruce up your space while you’re hunkered down.
Put Leftover Paint To Use
Many of us probably have an extra can or two of paint lying around. So why not use it to add some pizzazz and depth to your rooms with these DIY home projects.
1. Give your cabinets a makeover
Painting kitchen cabinets a fresh new color is a fantastic way to completely transform your kitchen. If you tend to be more adventurous when it comes to color, your cabinets are a great place to have some fun. If you already have a lot of color in the room or if the space doesn’t have much light, it’s best to go with white or neutral cabinets.
2. Make your mailbox the star of your front yard
Your mailbox is one of the first things people see when they pull into your driveway, so why not give your visitors a great first impression. Whether you live in a ranch-style house in Phoenix, AZ or you just bought a craftsman-style home in Portland, OR, you can instantly boost your curb appeal by adding a fresh, vivid coat of paint to your mailbox.
3. Add a pop of color to your front door
Changing out your front door can be expensive, so painting your exterior door is an easy way to give the front of your home a makeover and also save some money in the process. Painting the inside of your front door is also a fun way to add a bold pop of color and some character into your home.
4. Give new life to old furniture
If the paint is chipped or wear and tear has gotten the best of some of your older furniture, a quick paint job can give it a new life. Transform a dated (but functional) dresser, nightstand, or bookshelf with this fun DIY project for a fraction of the cost it takes to replace it.
Clear The Clutter
Getting organized can feel like a major undertaking, which is probably why a lot of us tend to put it off, and then put it off again and again. But since you can’t go anywhere, you might as well spend a morning or afternoon tackling the clutter you typically ignore.
5. Maximize the utility of unused corners with shelving
Running out of storage space? It’s time to finally make use of the corners in your rooms. Installing floating shelves is one of many DIY home projects you can try to create more space. It’s a simple way to spruce up your wall decor while adding more storage to your home.
6. Clean closets
Chances are, you’ve opened up your closet and grabbed one of the same few items since spending most of your time indoors lately. Now’s the time to carefully clean out your closet and decide what you really need from those you haven’t touched in a few years. Start by taking every item out, setting aside the items you don’t need, and cleaning the inside of the closet. If you’re organizing a closet full of clothes, sort clothes into piles by season. Put clothes that you’re not currently using in the back of the closet, like that holiday sweater. Keep frequently used items in the front for easy access.
In the digital age, it’s likely that most of us have our photos stored online. But for those that still have hundreds of photos stored away in boxes, now’s the time to organize them. Start by grouping photos by date or event. Use leftover flashcards or cut-up pieces of printer paper as an easy way to separate groups of photos in boxes. If you already keep your photos organized, think about digitizing them. You can use Google’s PhotoScan app to scan old prints and upload them. Organize your photos online into albums to better keep track of them and finally find that picture of your puppy when someone asks.
8. Rearrange bookshelves
Bookshelves may not initially come to mind when organizing, but they can easily make a space feel brand new. Think about taking some of the books you’ve got hiding away in a back closet and swapping them with the current selection on your bookshelf. Wondering what to do with that collectible mug? Add it to your bookshelf for a fresh take on your decor. Best of all, it’s a free way to change up your space.
9. Tackle under-sink storage
The last place you probably think to organize is under your sink. From the bathroom to the kitchen, it’s likely filled with near-empty cleaners, dishwashing soap, or even makeup wipes. Set aside 10 minutes to toss out those old household supplies, instantly freeing up space to make way for all that hand-soap and disinfectant you just bought.
You may or may not have months’ worth of groceries in your kitchen right now. Before things get too cluttered, take this time to reorganize your pantry – move things around to maximize space, group like items together, and throw away expired items. You may want to break down the work into smaller parts to avoid being overwhelmed. For example, instead of cleaning out the entire pantry, just do one shelf or area at a time. It will be so refreshing to see the pantry all neat and tidy with everything in its place.
Transform Your Space with Lighting
Nothing can change the look and feel of a room quite like choosing the right lighting. The perfect lighting can lift your spirits and make your home a more comfortable place to spend time.
11. Replace your lightbulbs
If you have a few extra light bulbs lying around, go from room to room and replace any that are burned out. You can also completely change the ambiance in your home simply by replacing any harsh white bulbs with calming yellow ones.
12. Switch up lamp shades
Lamps are commonly overlooked in the design of a home, but they add a lot of character and style to a room. So take a look at the shades on each of your lamps. If you have a similar size lamp in another room, swap the shades to give your space a new feel. You can also update a boring old lampshade with a few DIY home projects such as adding fun print or pattern, or a coat of paint.
Tackle those forgotten about cleaning projects
Since you’re spending so much time inside, you’re probably noticing all of the overlooked cleaning projects around the house. If you tackle them now, you’ll be rewarded with a living space that feels brighter and refreshed.
13. Restore rugs and carpets
By now, you’ve probably noticed that your carpets and rugs might not be in the same state they were when you moved in or had them replaced. Maybe you don’t even remember the last time they were properly cleaned. Even if you can’t hire a professional to clean your carpets, you can likely rent a carpet cleaner from your local hardware store or carpet cleaning company.
14. Clean under your bed
When was the last time you looked, let alone cleaned under your bed? This is one of those DIY home projects that everyone needs to tackle. The space under your bed is a breeding ground for everything from dust to forgotten items. If you use the space under your bed for storage, like seasonal clothes or extra bedding, make sure you’ve stored those items in vacuum-sealed bags to prevent moisture and mold buildup. Bed skirts also collect dust so throw those in the wash while you’re busy vacuuming underneath.
15. Refresh tile grout
Refresh your entire bathroom by cleaning and brightening your tile grout. Cleaning grout requires two things: a grout brush or sponge and a suitable cleaner. While there are plenty of store-bought grout cleaners available, it is just as easy to do this with ingredients you already have on hand, such as vinegar and baking soda.
16. Pressure wash your home’s exterior
Get some fresh air and restore your home to its former beauty by pressure washing the exterior of your house and hardscape areas. You can even bring back to life patio furniture and cushions.
17. Deep clean the refrigerator
With the extra groceries you’ve probably bought lately, it’s time for a refrigerator clean. First things first, throw out any leftover takeout or expired items. When cleaning your refrigerator, use a surface-safe all-purpose cleaner for the exterior and warmer soapy water for the interior. Be sure to wipe down surfaces before putting your items back inside. Keeping similar items grouped together when refilling your fridge will make finding your favorite condiment or coffee creamer easier to find.
Rethink Your Wall Design
Redoing your wall design is a fast way to transform the look of your living room, bedroom, or really any space in your house.
18. Rearrange or hang up a gallery wall
If you’ve always wanted to try to create the perfect gallery wall, this is the time to go for it. If you already have one, change it up to revive the space. Try pieces here and there: a new mix-up might surprise you and showcase your photos and art in an entirely new light.
19. Use empty frames
Go through the house, pull out any empty frames, and put them to good use. Dust off those old photographs and display them proudly or find some printable art online. Hang your frames throughout your home or place them on tables, dressers, and desks.
20. Put old fabric swatches to use
When we think of fabric, we usually think of curtains, linens, or pillows, but there are plenty of DIY home projects you can do to turn a basic piece of fabric into a statement piece of wall art. So dig up any fabric swatches that you have laying around the house and put them to use. You can wrap the fabric around a canvas, hang it in a frame, and much more, letting your creativity soar.
Disorganization has many root causes, but some elements can aggravate a chaotic environment, compounding the problem. Addressing these elements can make our environment much more manageable.
1. Too much stuff
We can’t organize clutter. That’s a fact. Things accumulate over time if we do not keep a close eye on what we purchase or even what we have had for years. Things that once served us well might no longer be relevant in our lives. We need to make room for what we truly need and want by eliminating what no longer has a place in our lives.
Holding on to things that we do not want or need is just part of the problem. The inefficient use of the space available is another.
Thinking in terms of categories and placing similar things together forces you to assign a specific space to each type of thing, so everything in your home has a place where it belongs. You will always know where to go when you need that item and where to return it.
When things do not have an assigned home, they get everywhere. And when anything can go anywhere, then everything will go everywhere.
Your disorganized belongings occupy three or four times the space they should.
Suppose you used the space appropriately, thinking about item categories and assigning each category type a unique and logical place. In that case, you’d recover space you had no idea you had.
3. Lack of proper tools
The purchasing of containers or organizing systems should happen after purging what we do not want or need anymore.
Buying these items beforehand is a waste of time. It might even compound the clutter problem. Getting these solutions without first knowing what they are for or where they go results in incorrect items for the purpose or space intended.
Storage solutions and containers purchased beforehand may become circumstantial band-aids to our organizing project at best. As such, they will perform a mediocre job. At worst, purchasing these items negates buying the right tools for the job. Then these end up cluttering our home.
4. Broken things
Broken things can be structural barriers to organizing. These are items or systems that have stopped working as intended and, as a result of being neglected, cause further disorganization around them.
The dresser with the broken drawer that no longer opens causes its contents to be scattered around the room because it has no other place to go.
The closet rod that fell caused you to install a rolling laundry solution in the middle of your bedroom, and you trip on it every day when walking by (not to mention how it looks!).
That shelf inside the cabinet that fell off caused you to start shoving the cabinet’s contents inside without any rhyme or reason. The broken shelf means the contents can no longer be divided or organized.
We live life at a fast pace. That causes us to ignore many details of our environment. Those details accumulate over time and result in a dysfunctional environment that stresses our minds and bodies. Often we do not even realize how it happened – we feel the mess at some point.
These details do matter. Take time to fix these minor problems the moment they happen. It would be more time-consuming and costly to let them go and deal with the consequences later.
Many elements can become roadblocks to an organized life. But if we could keep up with these four factors that feed disorganization, we would be better shaped to bring the organization back into our lives.
It has taken me an excessive amount of time to write this piece. I had allowed the cloud of dust to settle. In the meantime, I have been learning about the subject, filling in the information gaps where I deemed appropriate. So here is what I’ve got on Professional Organizer Vs. Mari Kondo.
The way I see it, Mari Kondo helps you get rid of the clutter and teaches you how to fold your shirts and underwear in a very particular way. Still, her method is not about professional organization. Some KonMari certified consultants are Professional Organizers. But following the KonMari process alone is not enough to call someone a Professional Organizer.
The Need That Each Serves
Please do not take me wrong. I’m not at war with Mari Kondo. On the contrary. I think she brings a lot of attention and value to our industry. But having said that, she serves a specific portion of the market. What she does is not equivalent to what a Professional Organizer does.
If you need to declutter your space, you can choose between the KonMari method or a Professional Organizer. However, if you want to find the root cause of your disorganization and need systems to maintain the order to go forward, you need a Professional Organizer. Unfortunately, Mari Kondo can’t help you there.
Let me present a couple of criteria to compare how the KonMari method differs from the Professional Organizer’s approach.
Scope and Focus
Organizers typically follow a method that involves evaluating, classifying, purging, allocating, containerizing, and labeling spaces. As part of this process, they emphasize improving the productivity of the client and the efficiency of the space. To achieve that, Organizers implement systems and processes.
On the other hand, the KonMari method focuses on decluttering the home using the classification of items. Her process does not address the organizing details. Indeed, Mari Kondo does not focus on systems or processes to enhance the efficiency of the space or maintain the order achieved.
Mari Kondo does not address the root cause of disorganization in a home or a person’s life. Therefore, it is logical to presume that her process does not work for people whose clutter problem is “not about the stuff.” Should these individuals follow the KonMari method, the chances are that shortly after, they will be cack on square one.
Organizers train in a wide variety of areas to best help their clients. Therefore, it is essential to look for that Organizer best suited to each person’s needs. A good Professional Organizer seeks to find out the root cause of the problem, transfers skills, and designs systems to make their client’s life easier.
Aesthetic Value and Design
The KonMari method emphasizes reusing what the client has available to organize and containerize the client’s items after decluttering. The process expressly avoids the purchase of containers and systems. Not buying additional equipment or supplies could be an advantage when considering project costs. However, things have changed recently with the new merge between Mari Kondo and The Container Store.
Nevertheless, as humans, we are more inclined to maintain the organization of areas that look neat and that are pleasing to the eye. An organized place should be decluttered and functional but also aesthetically pleasing. An organizing design does not need expensive organizing products to look fantastic. However, it requires careful consideration of style and form. And random repurposed containers might not achieve great-looking results.
Room by Room Vs. Categories
One of the fundamental KonMari principles is organizing the whole house using a process based on categories, placing together all items from the same type to evaluate them at once. Some see this method as more definite, fast, and conclusive than organizing room by room.
But Professional Organizers agree with the organizing by categories! One hundred percent! We all want to place similar items together before the client decides what to keep. The difference lies in what happens next with each category once the client has decided what to keep.
Organizers Go Further
Organizers take it a step further, clarifying the purpose of each room to assign items to their logical place. But yes, we completely agree-this should be a whole-house approach.
And the whole-house approach is inevitable anyway. People love to spread their things all over the home, regardless of item type or home space purpose. So, we need to search the whole house to bring together all items in the various categories.
Once And For All?
As they say, the KonMari process is a “once and for all solution.” But organizing is a life skill. There are habits to be learned and exercised throughout our lives to keep an organized space.
The order does not magically happen “once and for all.” People change, fail, recover, let go, and come back. We are more complex than “once and for all.” Without addressing disorganization’s root causes and the human condition, how can anyone sustain the “once and for all” claim?
When clients work with a Professional Organizer who shows them how much easier life can be by using the “logical place for things” and the “one home per category of items” approach, they usually adopt new habits.
We are not opposed to the KonMari method – it works in specific situations and for a particular type of client. However, people should understand the fundamental differences between the KonMari way and what Professional Organizers do.
It is time that people in need of professional organization services stop thinking they don’t need a Professional Organizer because they read the KonMari book. Those who truly need a Professional Organizer will see no progress with the KonMari method. On the other hand, people who do not grapple with disorganization or any underlying clutter situation will be happy, experiencing joy with what they keep and gratefully saying goodbye to their discards.