What's the best way to keep your home cozy? Check out these tips on spring cleaning.
Spring Cleaning vs Everyday Chores
Most people, including me, do a quick pick up weekly and a deeper dive monthly, but spring is the time of year for the deepest dive of all: Spring Cleaning. I have to admit that I don't love cleaning, but I do enjoy a cozy, decluttered home. That's mostly because I do enjoy organizing, and I've read a few books and subscribed to a few youtube channels on the topic (I'll do a future post on cozy organizing Youtube channels) and have put them into practice in my own home. Since cleaning and organizing go hand in hand, the end result is a clean and cozy home. And spring cleaning becomes a cinch.
Here are some methods of organizing and some tips for cleaning your home this spring:
Get Organized! Declutter Your Space
From magically tidying up Marie Kondo-style to Swedish death-cleaning, there are many different ways to organize your home. Here are just a few:
Most methods of keeping your home organized focus on living minimalist lifestyle, or in other words, less is more. The key to these methods is not only having less, but being mindful about what we hold onto. The KonMari method developed by Marie Kondo is all about keeping what brings you joy.
If you haven't read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up or its sequel Spark Joy, you're missing out on what truly is a life-changing system for keeping your home feeling cozy. Like a true minimalist, professional organizer, Marie Kondo, believes in throwing out unecessary items and only holding onto the items that bring you joy. While it may seem odd to think that something as simple as your toothbrush might add joy to your life, there's a psychological spark of truth in the idea that gratitude for simple things (like minty-fresh breath) can amount to a joyful, positive attitude in life.
Marie advises you to take everything out of your closets and drawers (and she means everything), hold each object in your hand, and ask yourself:
Does this bring me joy?
If the answer in your gut is no, then take a moment to feel the gratitude for having had it in your life and chug it. Yes, even if it is your toothbrush. Why not get one in the color or style that would bring you joy? (You are supposed to replace your toothbrush every three months anyway, according to dentists). Then again, you may be surprised that you feel joy in holding your toothbrush, as it reminds you of how refreshed you feel each morning.
While the toothbrush example is my own, Marie gives plenty of real life examples in her books, in which she describes her experiences as a professional organizer for many years. In each case, the outcome of the KonMari method is a healthy approach toward creating a cozy home. And the home gets even cozier when you use Marie's tips such as vertical stacking, her folding techniques, and so much more.
Swedish Death Cleaning
It might not seem cozy to think of death when cleaning out your home, but the Swedish idea of döstädning, or death cleaning, is a minimalist approach that really does make a home more pleasant. The idea is to think of what you'll be leaving behind for loved ones to sort through after you're gone. Will they feel burdened by a mess of hoarded objects rarely used? Or will they be left with a few cherished objects filled with fond memories of you? Will they fight over your possessions? By going through what you own while you're here, you can determine what you need, what you hold dear, and what you want to leave behind.
Of course, since you are still here, you need things in order to live. So how do you organize for the here and now while keeping the future in mind? Margareta Magnusson, in her book The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, shows us what to do.
Her book describes tips and tricks for keeping your clutter to a minimum. She talks about limiting impulse buys and choosing purchases carefully so that objects go together as much as possible. For example, she describes how everything in her wardrobe can be mixed and matched with a few staple pieces to make the least amount of clothes make the most possible outfits. She talks about everything in the home having its place. And she talks about knowing the places your objects will go when you're gone. It's hard to have conversations with family members about plans once you're not here, but if done right, it can also be a healthy thing to do.
This concept is more complicated, but basically, it's the idea that allowing energy to flow through spaces will keep you energized. There are many books on the topic, but one I've read is Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui by Karen Kingston. In the book, Karen talks about organizing spaces so that the area by the door invites you into the space, making central parts of the room, such as your desk or bed, as the focal point of the room visible from the doorway, and how objects should make way for a path through the room rather than blocking it. While feng shui is considered a pseudo-science, I think there is some psychological truth in it. I recently repositioned both my home office and my room and can personally attest to the fact that I feel better in these spaces.