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If you are very tidy to the point of being minimalist - how do you do it?

(124 Posts)
drspouse Wed 25-Jan-17 12:04:12

We are probably getting our house ready to sell and it really, really needs a complete declutter (we do have too much stuff) and needs us to keep it tidy (many of our things do have a place to go but never get put back there!) but also I feel like there are a lot of things that I cannot actually think what we could do with them.

So for example:
Our bedroom is not too bad. I need to keep an eye on the top of our dresser (random stuff out of DH's pockets) and my own bedside table (discarding one book and starting another) but I've recently cleared ALL the junk off the window sill. Our wardrobe is very full (we share one) and it has irritating open shelves beside and on top (so you can always see badly folded clothes) but we could actually get doors installed, and I could slim down my wardrobe, and it would be a place of peace and harmony.

But our hallway for example - we have a hat rack, a standing coat rack, a wall coat rack, a DC/DH shoe rack, a DC standing coat rack, and some quite nice looking boxes on a high shelf and it is still rammed full to the point where we cannot hang up guests' coats and our coats fall off the racks.

And another difficult point is our big living room which is also a play room. We gave away about 75% of our books and 50% of our CDs a few years ago but they always seem to be overflowing the shelves. I usually give a book to the charity shop as soon as I've read it. There are also boxes of photos, maps etc. on the shelves and they just look a mess.

We have a consistent type of toy storage (stackable wooden boxes that we only stack 2 high) and the DCs are pretty good at putting back their Lego, but puzzles etc. don't fit in the boxes so stick out, the DCs have a bookshelf but everything is always falling off, and there are an awful lot of things that just don't seem to have an "away" to go to, e.g. we have some Fisher Price Little People houses/barns that won't fit in boxes, a couple of ride on toys etc.

And the kitchen - not only are there loads of jars etc. lining up on the worktops, food processor and biscuit barrel on top of the microwave, but the tops of all the cupboards always seem to be full of spare food, big bag of rice, boxes of cereal, picnic cooler etc. etc.

It's doing my head in! And of course it looks bad for potential viewers.

So for the meantime we could easily get a storage facility and put loads of the kids toys in there - but coats for example - I feel like we wear all of them! And they just look messy all hung up.

LemonyFresh Wed 25-Jan-17 12:12:26

Marie Kondo!

Cambam2010 Wed 25-Jan-17 12:13:08

Absolutely second Marie Kondo - It is life changing!

hatsandbagsandshoes Wed 25-Jan-17 12:20:26

Just what I was going to say! It's amazing!

WellErrr Wed 25-Jan-17 12:24:06

Marie Kondo. I started last week and already it's changing my life, literally.

drspouse Wed 25-Jan-17 12:28:41

Ok so the sum total of your secret is decluttering? (I know that's not the whole of it but the essence is that you don't need everything that's in your house, isn't it?)

What if I really love my coats but they take up space/get in the way/look messy/fall off the racks?

What if my DCs really love their big plastic toys but ditto?

cheeseandpineapple Wed 25-Jan-17 12:29:27

High praise for Marie Kondo which has made me google her! Not my thread but may I ask, were you all naturally fairly tidy in the first place?

drspouse Wed 25-Jan-17 12:30:05

And in some ways it does make me happy to know we've got a few spare boxes of cereal/a sack of rice. In others, no, because they look a mess.
And if we didn't have them we'd have tantrums from the DCs (favourite cereal not there) or me (planning to cook chilli and no rice!).

drspouse Wed 25-Jan-17 12:30:54

cheese I'd like to know that too. I think I'm wannabe tidy. I'm pleased with how I've sorted out the bedroom and that I know what else to do to sort it further. It's motivating me to keep it tidy (not that I've completely managed it).

steppinstone Wed 25-Jan-17 12:35:34

MArie Kondo... e.g. do you need more than one coat each?

You've got way too much stuff by the sound of it!

drspouse Wed 25-Jan-17 12:40:46

Yes I do - I can't wear my wool work coat to take the Guides on camp/climb a hill and I can't wear my reflective smart jacket that I wear to cycle to work for either (too thin for non-cycling work days and not waterproof enough for climbing a hill). And my wool coat is no good for half an hour walk to school in driving rain pushing the buggy - I need something warm, properly waterproof, and that covers most of my legs.

I also have a down ski jacket and a couple of summer raincoats but they don't stay out year round.

How do people manage with just one coat unless the only time they go outside is in a city, and they never need to look smart?

drspouse Wed 25-Jan-17 12:41:39

And yes - I know we have too much stuff but some of it is necessary - and it makes me feel happy that we have it, but not happy because it looks a mess.

WorldsSmallestPatio Wed 25-Jan-17 12:42:57

Apart from the coat you're currently wearing then surely the others should be in wardrobes? I think folding puffa jackets the Kondo way for coats and putting them in the boxes you talked about in the hall might work too.

I have the same issue with cardigans. I have 5 hanging in the hallway but I keep them all on the one hanger to maximise space. I really should keep them in the wardrobe too.

MyVisionsComeFromSoup Wed 25-Jan-17 12:45:42

how many of the coats do you actually wear on a daily basis? A "good" coat you wear once a week could go in a wardrobe. Summer weight jackets can go in a box under your bed till the summer, then swap for winter coats. Are you keeping coats for DC to grow into? Store them under their bed.

Similarly, how much spare food do you actually need? I have a Sainsburys pass, so I get free deliveries - I'm only ever one day away from more food (not currently driving, so never fancy the half hour walk into town and the half hour back carrying bags Mr Sainsburys is my friend wink). Can you rationalise what you have, chuck out out of date stuff, use up half opened bags of things, then not buy more till the first lot is finished?

Toys - can't help there as I just waited till they were older and didn't have so much stuff in places where I needed to be able to supervise. Again look at what they actually play with, you may be able to sell some of the bigger items?

But yes, Kondo is the answer. I helped DM to re-look at all her bits and pieces when they downsized last year - she had loads of shelves and display units, and had loads of stuff in them because she had space for them. I made her look at each shelf, and pick the one thing she'd grab off there if the house was on fire. Then look at what she wouldn't miss. That cleared out several carloads to the charity shop. DM was never going to go for the "woo" of Kondo, but she did go along with my "what on there makes you happy when you look at it".

So if you had to leave the house right now OP, what coat would you grab? Why that and not any of the others? How often do you do the thing that the coat in the back is perfect for? And how often do you just wear another one cos the first one is right at the back? Would you wear it more if you could get to it? Get rid of what's in the way then. Replace "coat" with something else, same principle applies.

MyVisionsComeFromSoup Wed 25-Jan-17 12:46:56

cross posted, but I think the principle stays the same

WellErrr Wed 25-Jan-17 12:47:04

Honestly you need to read it, it's not about getting rid of all your stuff at all.

drspouse Wed 25-Jan-17 12:51:30

The boxes are for gloves so they are tiny. They are also high up and it would be a big pain to get the coats down. I might fit one coat there instead of the gloves.

So maybe I have this wrong - maybe other people go and get their Monday coat out of the wardrobe, then their Tuesday coat, then the coat they are wearing on Friday because it is tipping it down and they have to walk, and then they go and get their hiking coat because they are taking the Guides out on a night hike and put away the other one each time, nipping up to the wardrobe if they've brought the wrong one down when they look out the front door and the DCs are hanging about thumping each other??! hmm

It seems like a huge faff and even if I did it myself I can't see DH or the DCs doing it!

Mind you I don't keep cardigans in the hall, they are in the jumper blanket box. I put a cardigan on when I leave the bedroom - I don't put my coat on then!

There is also the issue that our only spare wardrobe space is currently in the attic, the wardrobe DH and I share is really quite small.

But honestly, it's not just about coats. There are lots of other issues and it's not really about one class of object - those are just an example of things that are useful, used, liked but get in the way and look messy.

There's also spare stocks of food, picnic cooler, cookbooks, kitchen appliances, etc etc. All useful, used, and liked but in the way and look messy!

I'm really happy with the concept that, once I've read a book, I donate it, and if I later want to read it again, I buy it from a charity shop/charity website. But that isn't really practical with other infrequently used items - I can't really sell my hiking coat and buy another one every couple of months.

Of course we do ALSO have lots of stuff that is not useful or not used or not liked and THAT I completely agree we need to declutter.

Titsywoo Wed 25-Jan-17 12:56:17

Well start by decluttering the stuff you don't need or use then see what space is left and go from there. Is your house pretty small? You just need to get creative with storage.

drspouse Wed 25-Jan-17 13:04:03

how many of the coats do you actually wear on a daily basis? A "good" coat you wear once a week could go in a wardrobe.

I wear all the coats we have out on a weekly basis (most of them twice a week) except maybe my hiking jacket. Maybe if it didn't rain for a week I wouldn't use the raincoat or if it was warmer for a winter week I'd be able to wear the thinner jacket to work that normally I keep for cycling. Nothing is kept out to grow into and nothing that is out of season is kept out. I don't have room in the wardrobe (cross-posted). So that's one coat I could keep in the attic for occasional use but the rest I use very regularly.

We have a weekly Sainsbury's delivery and we regularly cull anything that is half opened and we won't use it/out of date. But some things we use a lot of and if we run out the day after a delivery we struggle. And often the larger packet or a multibuy is massively cheaper.

if you had to leave the house right now OP, what coat would you grab?

It would depend where I was going and what the weather was. Today I'm in the office and it's cold and sunny so I'd grab my wool work coat. But if I was walking the DCs up to school and it was tipping it down it would be a different coat, as I'd arrive like a drowned rat in that one. If I was cycling another one, taking the Guides out and hiking another one etc.

So if MK is not about getting rid of stuff, what is it about? (I freely admit to not having read the book!)

Let's say our house currently looks like the Before photo in this article:

www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/nov/27/top-tips-to-joyfully-declutter-your-home-from-marie-kondo

While I would love it to look like the after photo, I would find that:
The room is cold and I need both the electric fire and the blanket on the chair most days.
I do actually use the computer, desk, scanner and printer (though can live without the cover on the printer!). And the alarm clock. And I need somewhere to put my glasses/bottle of water while I'm in bed.
I could happily get rid of half my books which would sort out the bookshelf overflowing/bags on floor issue but I do need to keep packaging on hand and therefore need somewhere to put a small number of padded envelopes (in fact, we do keep a few of these but out of sight).
I also like to listen to music (including in the car which only has a CD player) so don't want to get rid of all my CDs.

drspouse Wed 25-Jan-17 13:05:31

You just need to get creative with storage.

I think I'm already creative but would love to hear ideas. Is that your tidy/minimal secret, if so do share - that's what I posted the thread for!

Eolian Wed 25-Jan-17 13:08:42

I think there are two things here - having too much stuff and not being in good habits about putting it away. I too am a wannabe minimalist. I find clutter-free, almost starkly minimalist rooms incredibly relaxing but never get anwhere close to achieving that in my own house.

I think maybe everyone has a different tipping point with quantity of stuff. A really disciplined, tidy person can probably keep their house tidy even with quite a lot of stuff in it as long as they have decent storage. I am an untidy, undisciplined person, so even though I have decluttered a fair bit, I and my dc are simply not in good habits about keeping the house tidy. Old habits die hard.

The maxim 'a place for everything, and eveything in its place' is undoubtedly the key, but I'm just not very good at sticking to it.

randomsabreuse Wed 25-Jan-17 13:11:18

I think the question is do you (all of you) need all your coats out in the hallway every day or could you store them elsewhere, get them out when needed and put them away once dried?

Once we've finished decorating I'm going to put all my coats other than the one I use for quick trips up the road in the built in wardrobe in the spare room. So we will have light and heavy coats and suits for DD, the babywearing coat, another walking jacket (technically DH's but we share) and DH's work coat in the porch. My smart wool coats live in wardrobes already then they are less likely to get smears on them from passing grubby paws...

Kitchen is definitely a decluttering job - major thing that has helped me is keeping a list of what I have in my cupboards so I don't buy accidental duplicates - which makes it easier to store things we have to stock up on (only available at big supermarkets rather than our locals) or good offers

drspouse Wed 25-Jan-17 13:11:20

Eolian that's me to a tee.

I just want to learn how not to be like that!

irregularegular Wed 25-Jan-17 13:11:46

Storage. Coat cupboard rather than coat rack. Lots of big, built in cupboards. That sort of thing. I appreciate that it's not easy to implement quickly and cheaply though.

Could you put some of the non-seasonal coats in wardrobes and rotate them?

irregularegular Wed 25-Jan-17 13:12:56

Why do you have boxes of photos and maps? Photos can be scanned. Maps are available online.

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