There are many decluttering misconceptions about what it takes to live an ordered and tidy life. The huge popularity of Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing has only added to the confusion around clutter.
In her book, the Japanese organizing guru introduces some radical decluttering concepts. She is well known for preaching that anything you own that does not “spark joy” in you should be abandoned.
Kondo’s book was a New York Times Best Seller and a Netflix series. Surely, she knows everything there is to know about the best practices for home organization, right? No, not necessarily. Some of her processes are great, but others, not so much. As I’ll explain here as I debunk some of the biggest myths about decluttering that still persist today.
The simple fact is that there are many methods for decluttering and organizing a space. Methods and techniques for decluttering that work for one individual may not work for another.
Let’s take a look at seven common decluttering myths and the truth behind them.
The truth is that, no matter how neat you are, accumulating clutter (even on a small scale) is an unavoidable part of life. It’s simply not possible to be totally organized all of the time. I’m not, and being organized is a huge part of what I do for a living!
When you’ve had a long, stressful day, you may prefer to rest rather than clean. That’s OK. Allow yourself some wiggle room and make an effort to complete your cleaning tasks the next day. Your batteries will be recharged, and you’ll probably be able to complete your organizing activities more quickly and effectively.
The idea is to establish a timetable and routine that helps you to keep your home neat without becoming overwhelmed by the urge to clear. Organizational standards that are impossible to meet will only lead to frustration and disillusionment.
The truth is that decluttering should be a continuous activity.
Spending hours on a significant decluttering effort will free you from the suffocating, chaotic sensation that comes with living in a cluttered environment. But taking action to reduce clutter is a good start, but it’s only that: a start. A once-a-year concerted decluttering effort will not be enough.
The best way to keep a consistently tidy and organized house is to have a regular decluttering regimen. On a weekly basis, try to set aside time to complete this task. Dedicate a bit more time to your decluttering and cleaning tasks once a season.
When it comes to the impression a room may make, the truth is that sometimes it’s about what’s not there. Perhaps the negative connotation of the word “empty” contributes to the perception of empty space as a bad thing.
Some interior designers even adopt a word from the world of art, referring to spaces in the home that are purposely not occupied by furniture or, for example, artwork on the walls, as “negative space.” It’s no surprise that the concept has a terrible rep – the word “negative” is right there in the name.
Decluttering entails more than just cleaning and getting rid of clutter. It could also be about making a deliberate décor decision to leave a space (or spaces) unoccupied. This accomplishes a couple of goals.
For starters, a less “busy” environment can be relaxing and less overwhelming to our minds. Leaving empty spaces allows other aspects and items in the room to stand out and attract our attention.
“Clutter” refers to more than just piles of useless rubbish. It can also apply to cramming too much furniture and artwork into nooks or walls. Sometimes removing some of this, even if, technically it’s organized, as in all those knick-knacks are kind up on their shelves, can be very effective.
The truth is that it is not for everyone.
One of the most popular decluttering misconceptions is that living a minimalist lifestyle is the best way to go. More and more people are trying to live with far fewer things as a result of Marie Kondo’s book and numerous media articles encouraging us to reconsider our consumerist tendencies. And lots of those people are rather miserable about it.
Downsizing and living in a micro condo, tiny home, or 200 square foot shipping container apartment isn’t for everyone.
Having more possessions than you require does not make you a bad person in comparison to someone who lives a simple lifestyle. It’s only a matter of personal taste.
Just make sure you don’t go overboard with your purchases to the point where you’re drowning in clutter. “Own your stuff, don’t let your stuff own you,” as the saying goes.
The truth: This is one of the myths about decluttering that I call “rubbish.”
Being well-organized is a talent, not a trait or a personality. Any skill, on the other hand, may be learned and improved through time. To acquire such skill, it all boils down to a person’s willpower and patience.
Granted, convincing an older person who has been untidy their entire life to suddenly change their ways and become a neat freak will be difficult.
Put as many expressions as you want here…
“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” “a leopard’s spots can’t change,” and so on.
However, you have the ability to change. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have expressions like “if you’re not learning, you’re dying,” “if you’re not learning, you’re not growing,” and “if you’re not learning, you’re not living” (along with many other insightful words regarding learning).
The truth is that there are a plethora of excellent organizational aids accessible. Make use of them, especially if you’re someone who struggles to stay organized on a regular basis.
One of the most common decluttering myths is that you can maintain a clean home without investing in good organization and storage methods.
Sure, you can do it, but why make things so tough for yourself?
These useful tools won’t do all of the work for you when it comes to staying organized, but they will make it much easier.
The truth is that it is technically possible to live a disorderly existence and simply adapt to the chaos that surrounds you. Unfortunately, the longer you ignore your clutter, the more out of control your life will get.
Consider how much time you waste each day looking for items in an unorganized house or office.
According to a recent survey, the average American spends 2.5 days per year looking for misplaced belongings. The average time spent searching for a single misplaced item was over five and a half minutes.
Aside from the lost time that clutter creates, medical specialists have long known that too much clutter can lead to stress, bad sleeping habits, and other health problems.
Don’t be fooled by the numerous decluttering misconceptions that exist. When it comes to keeping their life and house organized, the truth is that everyone needs a helping hand now and then.
As a professional organizer, when I work with a client the project has two goals: clear the clutter AND help the client create a workable plan to keep it that way. No two plans are the same, as no two people are, and this access to bespoke decluttering ‘education’ and planning is just as much of a reason to hire a professional organizer as finally getting rid of all that stuff!
Ready to get organized? Book an appointment here and let’s get started!