5 Spring cleaning tips from a Marie Kondo-trained home organiser

If purposeful, environmentally-conscious decluttering is your goal this Spring, then let us introduce you to Sally Flower. She is a Master KonMari Consultant and sustainable home expert, meaning she’s been trained in the art of mindful tidying by the ‘joy sparking’ queen herself, Marie Kondo.

Since getting into the game in 2016, Sally’s work has moved to centre around sustainability.

 “We focus on helping people enjoy their spaces in a way that limits their impact on the environment. We want them to fall in love with their things, so they don’t feel like they need to be consuming more.”

And the benefits are clear. Sally’s clients say they save time by avoiding digging through cupboards, save money by only making purchases which ‘spark joy’, and cut out the stress caused by manically messy homes. Read on to see what you can glean from the KonMari Method with Sally’s Spring cleaning tips. 

1. Give your Spring clean purpose

Sally says the first step to a successful Spring clean is to figure out what you want to achieve, an aspiration that goes beyond a simple clean-up. “It could be having more free time on the weekends, saving money for something, being able to have people drop around more often, or even preparing to have a child. Whatever you’re working towards, your home can help support you to do that.”

After organising their homes, Sally has seen clients start masters degrees, drastically improve sleep, stop arguing with partners, and even sell their homes after realising they could downsize. But whatever the purpose, she encourages everyone to dispose of unwanted items responsibly. That could mean donating, selling, recycling or repurposing your belongings, depending on their condition. 

Before embarking on a declutter, check to see what donation and recycling opportunities exist near you. TerraCycle’s free recycling programs in Australia and New Zealand can help you recycle items that are not accepted in your kerbside bins. And where no free programs exist, you can use a pre-paid Zero Waste Box to responsibly dispose of miscellaneous items that are hard to recycle, keeping them out of landfill.

2. Organise by category – and find the joy in each

Many homes are a minefield, where each room, cupboard or drawer might be filled with a random collection of items, from toys to shoes, camping equipment and kitchen appliances. The KonMari Method suggests tackling tasks by category to avoid becoming overwhelmed.

“Decluttering by categories helps our brains make sense of what we own and enables us to let go of things more easily,” Sally says. By filtering out the things in each category which you don’t use or fully appreciate, you can identify what you do value.

“This really elevates who you are as an individual and brings connection to the resources you have in your home. You start to look at everything you own as little bits of nature made into products for you to use, rather than just a ‘thing’ in your space.”

3. Start with the easiest tasks

You might be tempted to kick-off with major problem points in your home, but Sally says these are often the hardest to declutter and could derail your cleaning motivation. Instead, she recommends starting with the easiest categories first. “It helps you get used to letting go of things and turns the decluttering muscles on.”

“We often find it’s easier to declutter clothing because we’re used to letting it go [donating] and recycling textiles – they’re things we’ll generally replace a bit.” 

Next, you might move onto kitchen items, which are similarly practical. Things with more sentimental value – like toys, photos or gifts – will be harder to part with, so leave them till last.

4. Focus on a few key areas

Just because it’s Spring doesn’t mean you need to clean the whole house. “We know if you try to do it all, you’ll become overwhelmed and get decision fatigue,” says Sally.

She suggests cutting your Spring clean goals into achievable chunks and allotting a certain amount of time to each. Or, simply commit to ticking off a few tasks and draw a line in the sand once you’re done. 

And remember: only declutter what you own or what you’re responsible for around the house – this is key to the KonMari Method. For communal items, be sure to decide who’s taking the lead before you begin.

5. Do the overhaul, then keep everything in its home

Sally says being an effective organiser is a learned skill, but anyone can become a pro. If you’re starting this journey with a Spring clean, remember there are two types of tidying.

“You have one big overhaul where you go through everything, from the easiest to hardest categories, and let go of whatever you need to. Then you can be confident you’re happy with everything in your home,” Sally says.

“Then there’s daily tidying where you put things away into their homes. And if you bring something new into the house, you make a home for it.”

Whether your Spring clean timeline is set for a few weekends, over a couple of months or even a few years, be sure to set that finish line so you can enjoy a sense of satisfaction once you’ve completed your tidying marathon. 

Find Sally @homesanct for more on conscious consumption and mindful tidying.

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