The High Cost of Clutter: 5 Effects You Can’t Afford to Ignore

Whoever came up with the expression “we’re supposed to own our stuff, not let our stuff own us” no doubt spoke from first-hand experience.

The realization that you own far more than you need or use is a sobering one. It’s also the perfect time to re-evaluate what’s truly worthy of occupying space in your home.

Clutter is a nuisance, a productivity killer, and has a negative impact on your finances, health, and overall quality of life.

The high cost of clutter can be found in ways that are quite obvious and others that you may be completely overlooking.

high cost of clutter storage units

Renting a self storage unit is nothing more than a long-term drain on your finances.

How much does the cost of clutter affect you?

Any room in a house or condo that’s disorganized and cluttered has some type of detrimental impact on the occupants of that home.

And belongings that are stored remotely from your residence may not be taking up living space or slowing down your productivity at home, but they sure are a constant drain on your finances.

If you take the time to “edit” your belongings, you’ll end up saving money, getting more out of your living space, and feeling less stressed.

Here are five ways the cost of clutter may be affecting you.

1. Clutter affects your health

It’s an all-too-common occurrence where someone looks around their cluttered home, wonders how their living space got so disorganized, and gets incredibly discouraged.

Clutter is known to be a liability to your mental and physical well-being. Being surrounded by physical clutter ironically adds to your mental clutter, making you feel unsettled and not in control of your surroundings…in other words, stressed.

This can affect your sleep, your confidence level, and your mood. You’ve undoubtedly had a few run-ins with a family member at some point over their (or your) organizational shortcomings.

Like any problem, the longer you avoid dealing with decluttering, the more daunting the whole process seems. This overwhelming and hopeless feeling only exacerbates your lack of motivation to take action.

A Huffington Post poll found that 55% of Americans cite their home’s lack of organization as a major source of stress. 84% of them worry about whether their homes are clean enough. This reveals another cost of clutter – it tends to be an embarrassment and makes you less likely to have visitors over.

In extreme cases, excess clutter literally makes a home less safe. Stacked piles of junk become tipping hazards, loose floor clutter presents tripping hazards, and a home becomes a greater fire risk. The higher presence of allergens like dust, mould, mildew, and various bacteria types also contribute to a less healthy living space.

2. More clutter = less living space

It’s a natural inclination for us fill up any empty space in our homes with stuff. If you set down roots in the same spot for a long time, that can lead to a lot of stuff you don’t use much (or at all) taking up valuable square footage.

For most people, their home is their most sizable investment. And high real estate prices, particularly in major cities, makes every square foot in your home even more precious.

Consider these statistics:

  • One in seven Americans have a room in their home they cannot use because it is filled with things they rarely use. (ClearVoice Research study)
  • 20% of the 1,500 North American respondents to a Garage Living poll say they’re unable to park in their garage due to clutter.
  • Only about 20% of the things we own are actually used. (LexisNexis study)
  • Disorganization (not lack of space) causes 80% of household clutter. (Soap and Detergent Association study)

As one of the above stats points out, garages are particular clutter magnets, as are spare rooms. If it feels like your home is just too small, eliminating the junk you don’t need and making better use of your home’s underutilized storage space will open up a wealth of space that can used more effectively.

Your garage could actually start accommodating parked vehicles once again or perhaps that spare room could be turned into a craft room or home office.

cost of clutter messy garage

25% of people with 2-car garages can’t park in them at all because of clutter and a third can only park one car. (U.S. Dept. of Energy study)

3. Storage units waste your money

There are more than a few stories online of people who came to the realization that the money they’ve spent renting a self storage unit for years actually cost them more than the estimated value of the items being stored.

This is an extreme example, of course, but in most cases it’s hard to justify renting a self storage unit long-term. Exceptions could include any of the following instances:

  • you’ll be out of the country for an extended period of time and it doesn’t make financial sense to keep your current residence
  • a recent move to a smaller home has left you with more belongings than you have room for
  • you’re using a storage unit temporarily to hold the belongings of a recently deceased friend or family member

A Self Storage Association stat shows that one in 17 American households rented a storage unit in 1995. Today, that number has increased to one in 10 households.

Maclean’s magazine reports that there’s a boom occurring now in the self storage industry in North America. Americans use a whopping nine square feet of self storage space per capita, while Canadians use two square feet.

Comparatively speaking, that might not seem like much, but it’s still a lot. The price for a 10′ x 10′ storage unit (the most popular size) in the Greater Toronto Area can cost anywhere from $190-$395. If we use the amount that’s right in the middle of that gap ($292), that works out to $3,500 per year in storage fees.

Trust us, self storage facilities want you to forget about your stuff or not deal with it. Here are three more reasons to reconsider using them:

  • there are often hidden fees that drive the advertised cost of a storage unit up (for insurance, more secure locks, or an easier-to-access unit location)
  • you’re leaving the safekeeping of your belongings to strangers and a (hopefully secure) lock
  • the climate control and lighting costs for the massive amount of space storage facilities occupy has a huge environmental footprint

The remote storage business model has evolved in recent years, too. Startup companies in major cities like Toronto, New York City, and Los Angeles now offer a “valet storage” service. They’ll pick up and store your things and return them to you when needed, if you can believe it.

4. Clutter slows down your productivity

Whether it’s at work or at home, clutter unquestionably slows down your productivity.

Naturally, there’s the time that gets wasted searching for things like car keys, makeup, home office supplies, a remote, a tool, or a wallet. It’s estimated the average person will waste a full year of their lives looking for lost or misplaced items.

“Choice overload” is another time waster. An example of this would be taking more time than you should to choose an outfit because your reach-in closet is overloaded and disorganized.

Having too many things to choose from can also be caused by duplicate purchases being made because you’re unable to find something and buy it again.

Digital clutter is another problem. If you’ve ever gone for a long period of time without replying to emails or deleting messages from your email account, you know how it feels to be staring at an overwhelming amount of digital clutter that needs cleaning up.

It’s a simple fact that “standard” clutter (like stacks of boxes or storage bins, unused furniture stacked against a wall, or obsolete electronics stashed in a closet) makes it less easy to clean a home.

You have to clean around it, move it around, or ignore cleaning certain areas altogether if you don’t feel like moving things.

Here’s another sobering statistic for you – a National Soap and Detergent Association study estimates that the average home would have 40% less housework to do if its clutter was eliminated.

cost of clutter open closet

A tidy closet like this one improves the efficiency of your daily routine by cutting down on time that’s wasted searching for things.

5. Hiring pros to deal directly with clutter gets expensive

A lack of time or simply not knowing where to start cleaning up are common reasons clutter doesn’t get dealt with.

If things really spiral out of control with your clutter, hiring a cleaning service, professional organizer, junk removal service, or renting a dumpster bin may be your chosen course of action to fix things.

Most of these clutter cleanup services don’t provide lasting benefits, especially if you’re unwilling to change some bad organization habits.

Your home will need cleaning within a week or two. It’s going to refill with clutter eventually and need another visit from a junk removal company.

And consider the pointlessness of the time and expense it takes to transport your clutter if you’re moving and hire professional movers.

Instead of spending money on services that don’t deliver substantial long-term benefits, invest in better storage and organization systems that will serve your home well for years to come.

Cut the high cost of clutter in your home

Cleaning up your home’s clutter won’t be a one day project. Focus on organizing one room in your home at a time. You’ll be carried by the momentum that comes with seeing each untidy area of your home become tidy and functional once again.

Why not speed up the process of achieving your goal of a clean, orderly home? Our organization systems aren’t merely “one more thing just taking up space in your home”.

They’re highly functional and will actually improve your living space by making it a lot easier to keep your home tidy and running smoothly.

Book your free in-home consultation with one of our design consultants today to begin taking action to minimize the cost of clutter in your home.

Please share this post if you found it useful.

See also:

7 Home Air Quality Tips to Freshen up Your Living Space

home air quality bed

With your spring cleaning efforts currently in full swing, it’s worth taking a little time to consider your home air quality.

Most of us take it for granted that our indoor air quality is fine. Scientific research, however, has found it to be an area we should be paying a lot more attention to.

Studies by the Environmental Protection Agency and other environmental health organizations show that the quality of most indoor air is actually worse than the air outdoors.

Air pollution levels in indoor spaces are typically 2-5 times higher than pollution levels outside. So how can that be?

What causes poor home air quality?

A big contributor to poor air quality in homes and other indoor spaces is, quite simply, that not enough time is spent cleaning them, especially when it comes to vacuuming and dusting.

The products we buy and the chemicals they contain are another major reason our home air quality suffers. Unless you’re ultra-vigilant about what’s being brought into your home and used there, it can be difficult to maintain a healthy level of indoor air quality.

Indoor airborne pollutants also come from things like cooking residue, pollen, mould, and pet dander.

The fact that we inhabit tightly sealed environments that don’t get much air flow exchange with the outdoors doesn’t help matters, either.

How to improve your home air quality

Because the average person spends about 80-90% of their time indoors, it’s important to do what you can in your living space to improve its air quality.

The spring time is typically when a home is most in need of a refresh. Those long Canadian winters keep us indoors a lot more and don’t give homeowners many opportunities to open some windows. That keeps stale air, allergens, and other pollutants trapped inside.

Of course, leaving screen doors and windows open can also bring in outdoor pollutants, particularly in high traffic areas, downtown areas, and during hot weather. It’s a tricky balance, to be sure.

Here are some tips to help you improve your home air quality by reducing the number of pollutants in your living space.

1. Clean your home regularly (and properly)

Finding the time to clean your home as much as it really needs it is always a challenge. But as you would expect, regular cleaning is one of the single-most impactful ways to reduce the number of toxins indoors.

It’s generally recommended that regularly used areas of your home should be vacuumed a minimum of once per week. Higher traffic areas should get a little more attention, perhaps two or three weekly vacuumings. Carpeted areas in your home will also need more vacuum maintenance than hard floor surfaces.

Cleaning properly is another key to make your cleaning efforts more effective. Avoid using dusters, for starters. They don’t actually remove dust, they merely disperse dust from one surface to another. Wipe shelves and other surfaces with a damp soft cloth or microfibre cloth.

Thorough cleaning is also important. You can’t realistically get to every single nook and cranny in your home every time you vacuum, dust, and mop. It is important, however, to occasionally attend to those areas of your home that aren’t the main floor surfaces, such as curtains, ceiling fans, baseboards, walls, and behind large appliances.

To eliminate the headache of vacuuming underneath beds and sucking up all those elusive dust bunnies, consider getting a bed surround. They replace all of that wasted empty space underneath beds with useful drawer storage and incorporate additional storage space around the bed.

home air quality woman mopping in kitchen

Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

2. Control home clutter

Let’s expand upon that “clean your home regularly” point and specifically address home clutter. You might not see a direct connection between excess clutter and poor home air quality, but it’s there.

To illustrate how clutter affects the air quality in your home, picture several stacks of boxes in the corner of a spare room that haven’t been touched in months.

Those stacks (and floor clutter in general) make it harder to vacuum the room, which gives you an excuse to not to do it.

Extra clutter also impedes the airflow in a room and gives dust more surface areas to rest on and accumulate.

Take advantage of the wealth of effective storage and organization products available to keep your home tidy with less effort.

3. Look closer at the products you buy

The most popular laundry and cleaning products boast about how fresh they’ll make your clothes smell and how immaculate and spotless they’ll leave the surfaces in your home.

The irony is that while these products may be effective at cleaning and eliminating germs and bacteria, most of them also add pollutants to your home’s air when used.

Even getting your dry cleaning done can bring pollutants into your home (from the chemicals used in the cleaning process).

Here are just a few more of the common household products that release chemicals into your home’s air:

  • beauty and grooming products
  • spray and plug-in air fresheners
  • certain types of clothing (including water-repellent apparel and some polyester and fleece fabrics)
  • many plastic products
  • building materials
  • home furnishings

It can take a big effort to make major changes to what you buy and to check on the environmental impact of every product you purchase. But controlling the source of indoor pollutants will help to improve your home air quality.

4. Get an air purifier

Adding a standalone air purifier (or two) to the areas of your home that are most frequently used is another solution for improving your home air quality.

Bedrooms, the kitchen, and the living room are ideal locations. If you don’t want to deal with moving a standalone air purifier from room to room, whole-house air cleaning systems are available which are integrated into your HVAC system.

Air purifiers remove contaminants from the air and can help improve the comfort level of those with allergy and asthma issues. Air purifiers are also recommended for homes with smokers.

Ionic and HEPA air purifiers are the two most popular types of standalone unit choices. Do your homework before buying, as features (such as whether the unit can remove odours, square footage covered, and operating volume levels) vary widely from model to model.

5. Change HVAC and kitchen air filters regularly

Dirty air filters that trap pollutants and allergens recirculate poor quality air indoors, so they need to be maintained to keep your home’s air quality healthy.

Timely air filter replacement on HVAC systems, range hoods, kitchen and bathroom air vents, and vacuums tends to get overlooked. Staying on top of this task is a cost-effective way to maintain healthy home air quality.

Energy Star recommends changing your HVAC filters monthly during the winter and summer seasons, when your furnace and air conditioner are being used most. Change them every three months at the very minimum, regardless of the time of year.

Unclogged air filters improve the efficiency of your home’s heating and cooling systems and can reduce your utility bill.

Energy Star also recommends a yearly tune-up for your HVAC equipment to keep them operating at peak efficiency and to prolong the life of your heating and cooling units.

You should also have your air ducts inspected and cleaned periodically. Whichever air duct cleaning company you use, ask them about their maintenance process. Some professionals use sealants and chemical products that kill and inhibit bacteria and mould growth, which you may wish to avoid.

6. Get home air quality-friendly plants

Adding several air purifying plants to your living space won’t just improve your home air quality, they also enhance a room with character and colour.

House plants convert carbon dioxide into fresh oxygen and certain plants are very efficient at eliminating or reducing household toxins like benzene and formaldehyde.

Here are some of the most effective plants for reducing toxins in the home:

  • Philodendron
  • Spider plant
  • Rubber plant
  • Dracaena
  • Snake plant
  • Ficus
  • Bamboo palm

Be mindful that even plants which are known for their air purifying benefits aren’t practical for every home. If one or more house occupants have sensitive allergies, some of these plants may not agree with them.

home air quality potted aloe plant

7. Prioritize the air quality in your bedrooms

Taking steps to improve the indoor air quality throughout your home is important, but it only makes sense to prioritize the quality of air in the room your family spends most of their time in – the bedroom.

A Statistics Canada study of the sleep habits of 10,000 Canadians between the ages of 18-79 found that they averaged 7.12 hours of sleep every night.

With approximately a third of our lives spent sleeping, your bedrooms should undoubtedly be one of the cleanest, most organized rooms in your house.

In addition to managing your bedroom clutter, using an air purifier, and adding some plants to the bedroom, consider changing your mattress.

Switiching to an eco-friendly mattress that’s chemical-free will be beneficial for your bedroom’s air quality. At the very least, vacuum your existing mattress regularly to get rid of dust mites and get anti-dust mite mattress and pillow covers.

Get organized to help improve your home air quality

Our lifestyles make eliminating 100% of indoor pollutants at home virtually impossible.

However, with simple regular maintenance, making changes to the products you buy, and investing in appliances to monitor and improve your home air quality, you’ll reduce your family’s exposure to indoor air contaminants.

Consider having your home air quality tested. An expert can help you gauge what areas of your home might benefit from some measures to reduce indoor toxins.

Organized Interiors can also help you to get your home organized so it’s easier to clean on a regular basis.

Schedule a complimentary in-home design consultation with us today.

Please share this post if you found it useful.

See also:

5 Tips to Avoid and Cope With Post-Vacation Fatigue

woman on plane getting luggage, post-vacation fatigue

Photo by picjumbo.com

A much-needed winter vacation is bliss while you’re relaxing in a lounge chair, enjoying some beautiful weather, and sipping a cool beverage.

Unfortunately, all vacations must eventually end and then it’s back to reality.

That anti-climatic return to normalcy hits some of us harder than others, especially if you’ve been away on a longer vacation or an especially enjoyable one. The feeling of sameness of the home life you temporarily left can return all too quickly.

Your inner battery should be nicely recharged after some time away relaxing, but you find that you just can’t shake that feeling of post-vacation fatigue after coming home.

What’s up with that?

Why you’re feeling post-vacation fatigue

Post-vacation fatigue is a common thing, actually. The stress and anxiety associated with it can start before you’re even home, simply by thinking about the prospect of coming home. That was the case for 45% of travellers surveyed for a Wyndham Vacation Rentals study.

Post-vacation fatigue may also be characterized as post-vacation blues or, to a more serious degree, post-vacation depression.

Here are several other reasons you may be feeling drained and struggling to reconnect with life at home after returning from a trip:

  • the prospect of dealing with tasks that weren’t done before travelling feels overwhelming
  • jet lag
  • you’re readjusting to a time zone difference
  • your sleep schedule has been altered while away

How to get back into the swing of things

When you’re trying to get back into the swing of things after coming home from a vacation, there are a few steps you can take before and after travelling to make things easier.

With these five tips, you can avoid experiencing post-vacation fatigue and learn to cope with your post-travel weariness a little better.

1. Tidy up and be proactive before travelling

To facilitate a smooth transition back to normalcy after being away on a trip, try to be as proactive at home before embarking on your travels.

The transition of going from a temporary, carefree vacation lifestyle with far fewer responsibilities (like cooking meals) than you normally have to coming back to a dirty, cluttered home can be jarring and mentally draining.

Simplify things by making sure your home is tidied up and any lingering tasks and chores are completed before going away. Accomplishing this will ensure a relatively “clean slate” when you return home and eliminate one of the main causes of post-vacation fatigue.

This is easier said than done, mind you, considering how vacation getaway day is usually a whirlwind of activity. But do your best to clean, declutter, and generally make your home as welcoming a space as possible for your family to return to.

Make the essential home spaces you’ll use on your first day back (like your kitchen, bathroom, bedrooms, living room, and front hallway) a priority. And don’t leave any dirty clothes in your laundry room, as you’ll be guaranteed to have laundry tasks for your family’s dirty vacation clothes.

Take care of other tasks that aren’t housework-related, such as paying bills and answering all work and personal emails so you don’t need to spend any vacation time (or post-vacation time) on them. Don’t forget to activate the out-of-office auto-response function on your work email to inform colleagues and clients that you’re away.

woman standing by bed, post-vacation fatigue

Before going on vacation, try to leave your home clean and tidy to ensure there’s less work to do upon returning.

2. Allow yourself to recover upon returning

One reason people feel post-vacation fatigue is that they push themselves too hard when they’re back home. If someone’s effort to take care of as many home tasks as possible before leaving fell a little short, there can be an overwhelming feeling of “I need to catch up to get back on track”.

And once again, be mindful that you’re going from a relaxed vacation headspace to a more responsibility-driven mindset. Pace yourself and ease your way back into your daily routine.

Try to avoid overloading your family’s schedule with a bunch of post-vacation activities and social engagements.

Some people prefer to have one or more “buffer days” when returning from a trip and going back to work. Stress about catching up on things at work is another contributor to post-vacation fatigue.

Get enough sleep and try to distance yourself from that more leisurely vacation pace you’ve enjoyed the past little while, especially in your first days home.

3. Don’t put off those must-do tasks

While we are recommending easing your way back into your regular routine after travelling, don’t take that too literally.

It’s easy to procrastinate on those must-do tasks that arise after a trip, such as:

  • buying fresh groceries
  • checking your snail mail
  • unpacking suitcases
  • catching up on email replies and returning missed calls and texts
  • laundering vacation clothes
  • catching up on your snow shovelling or yard work

But after a day or two, you should be re-acclimatized to being home and be tackling any new chores.

That’s why it’s so important to take care of things at home before departing on a vacation – you’ll lighten your workload that much more.

clothes in open suitcase, post-vacation fatigue

Try to unpack within a day of returning from a vacation.

4. Get active

Only the most health-conscious of us are able to maintain healthy eating habits while we’re away on holiday.

All of those rich foods, exotic cuisines, and perhaps an adult beverage or two that you enjoyed while away can add a few pounds and affect your body’s metabolism.

That may be another reason you’re feeling some post-vacation fatigue.

If you can muster up the energy to get your blood pumping with some physical activity, you’ll be well on your way to feeling more alive and less lethargic. Any type of workout (even a light 20-30 minute session on the treadmill) will help.

Even keeping active by decluttering a particularly disorganized area of your home is healthy, not to mention practical. Excess clutter is a well-known cause of stress and you’ll feel better after restoring order to a messy space.

5. Start thinking about your next trip

Take a page out of the book of travellers who don’t experience post-vacation fatigue and – quite the opposite – are energized by a recent trip.

There’s no better way to broaden your worldview than experiencing firsthand what a faraway destination has to offer, so start thinking ahead to a future trip. Get some inspiration by organizing your recent vacation photos and reliving some memorable moments.

You don’t have to start booking flight plans just yet, although that’s not uncommon either. According to a survey by Booking.com, on the final day of their current trip, 20% of travellers actually schedule their next vacation.

Having something fun like a vacation to look forward to is a healthy, motivating thing. And the anticipation of a rewarding future trip abroad can also make getting through a difficult time just a little easier to handle.

Make your home easier to keep organized

Is some of your post-vacation fatigue exacerbated by clutter issues resulting from a lack of efficient home organization and storage systems?

Organized Interiors can help you get your home in order and make more space for living – post-vacation and 365 days a year.

Schedule a complimentary in-home design consultation with us today.

Please share this post if you found it useful.

See also:

9 Interesting Marie Kondo Facts That May Surprise You

marie kondo facts, public speaking

RISE [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Tidying expert Marie Kondo is seemingly everywhere these days.

KonMari mania has been fuelled by the recent premiere of her eight-episode Netflix series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.

In addition to being a TV star, the multi-hyphenate Kondo is also a:

  • best-selling author
  • organizing consultant
  • public speaker
  • social media influencer (with over 2 million Instagram followers)

While you may be aware of Kondo and some of her organizing methods, how much do you really know about the woman who was named one of Time’s “100 most influential people” in 2015 and where she came from?

Keep reading to learn some interesting Marie Kondo facts.

9 Marie Kondo facts you might not know

Netflix is notoriously hush-hush when it comes to revealing viewership numbers for its original programming.

But based on the Kondo hype at the moment, it’s safe to assume that Tidying Up has garnered millions of new converts (or “Konverts”, as they’re known) to her organization methods.

The streaming platform shrewdly timed the launch of Tidying Up (which one TV reviewer called “the happy version of Hoarders”) for New Year’s Day.

And what better time of year is there to capitalize on the “must get organized!” mindset many of us are in with our New Year’s resolutions?

Get to know the woman sparking joy worldwide with these nine facts about Marie Kondo.

1. Kondo’s six tidying rules

The “spark joy” element of Kondo’s organizing method (known as the KonMari Method) is well-known, but did you now that Kondo has six basic rules of tidying?

As she writes on her website, they are:

  1. Commit yourself to tidying up.
  2. Imagine your ideal lifestyle.
  3. Finish discarding first.
  4. Tidy by category, not by location.
  5. Follow the right order.
  6. Ask yourself if it sparks joy.

2. She’s been famous for longer than you might think

We here in North America may have only heard about Kondo in the last few years, but her public profile has actually been on the rise for almost a decade now.

15 years ago, Kondo started a part-time tidying business at the age of 19 while she worked full-time at a staffing agency.

The tidying business took off and she soon had a six-month-long waiting list for her services.

In 2010, she won first prize in a Japanese book publisher’s contest with the idea for what would become her debut book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, which was released at the end of that year.

Its popularity spawned a Japanese TV movie titled The Life-Changing, Pulsing Magic of Cleaning Up and a follow-up book titled Spark Joy.

Having achieved major success and fame in Japan, Australia, and Europe, Kondo turned her attention to America.

3. Kondo’s success in America wasn’t immediate

When The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up was released in the U.S. in 2014, it wasn’t an immediate hit.

Because Kondo didn’t have much of a profile yet on this continent and her English was limited, promotional opportunities were somewhat difficult to come by.

All of that changed when a New York Times reporter wrote about the book and Kondo’s organizing methods.

Sales took off and as of this writing, it has spent 149 weeks on The New York Times Bestsellers list and sold over 9 million copies.

Kondo made regular appearances on TV, the view counts on her instructional YouTube videos skyrocketed, and she became a pop culture darling (including shout-outs on TV shows The Mindy Project and the Gilmore Girls revival).

The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up

4. Shintoism influenced her tidying methods

Having enjoyed her numerous visits to Shinto shrines as a youngster, Kondo eventually worked at a shrine for a period as an attendant maiden.

She connected with the Japanese religion’s teachings of treating objects with respect and how tidiness and order can create a sacred, calming space filled with pure energy.

Although she doesn’t identify as particularly religious, Kondo does say that Shintoism has given her a lot of inspiration and had a big influence on her organizing methods.

For example, she likes to take into consideration how a piece of clothing might like to be folded.

And when discarding a piece of clothing such as a dress whose colour doesn’t spark joy for you, she thinks you should thank it for its service. Why? Because it was a helpful example of what wardrobe colour to avoid in the future.

5. She’s had a lifelong obsession with tidying

Okay, this Marie Kondo fact admittedly won’t be a complete shock  to you – she’s been extremely organized her entire life.

Even as a little girl, Kondo was obsessed with staying tidy and eager for any organization-related information she could get her hands on. One of her earliest organization resources were her mother’s homemaking magazines.

The national library of Japan, which requires you to be at least 18 to enter, contained a wealth of organization and decluttering books and resources. You can guess where Kondo spent her 18th birthday.

While studying sociology at Tokyo Woman’s Christian University the following year, Kondo wrote her thesis, “How to Declutter Your Apartment — From a Sociological Perspective”.

During her schooling, friends started offering to pay her to tidy their rooms and homes, which was what lead to Kondo creating that first tidying business.

6. The KonMari Method isn’t strictly about minimalism

Kondo’s tidying philosophy tends to get labelled as “minimalism”, which isn’t necessarily accurate. It’s more like “minimalism-adjacent”.

While downsizing and less consumption are core foundations of the KonMari Method, Kondo isn’t opposed to keeping things around if they do meaningfully benefit you (aka “spark joy”).

Sentimentality (and the strong emotional attachments people can make with their possessions, thereby making things harder to part with) tends to be one of the banes of professional organizers.

For Kondo, however, it’s not necessarily a deal-breaker when you’re deciding what to keep and what to discard.

If something with a sentimental pull truly makes you happy, Kondo sees no reason to get rid of it (she encourages it, in fact). This is all in moderation, of course.

She even admits to having a soft spot for a couple of items she holds onto: a free t-shirt she got years ago at an expo and a stuffed seal Kondo’s dad gave to her.

7. Her methods have ruffled a few feathers

Needless to say, Kondo’s meteoric rise has lead to some naysayers and critics of her non-traditional organizing methods.

They argue that her Eastern philosophies and hardline approach to decluttering (which one writer called “as ruthless as it is unrealistic”) aren’t suited to the Western world.

On a shallower level, Kondo’s delivery style also rubs some people the wrong way for being overly cute, such as her signature raised index finger “spark joy pose”.

Kondo takes the criticism in stride. As she told The New York Times Magazine after The Rachael Ray Show’s in-house organizer criticized some of her tidying methods on-air:

I think his method is pretty great, too. I think it’s good to have different types of organizing methods because my method might not spark joy with some people, but his method might.”

8. She always wears something white

If you’ve been following Kondo for awhile, you may have noticed that she always seems to be wearing something white. We mean, like, always.

That’s a calculated choice as part of her brand and image, as she told The New Yorker. It makes sense. After all, what colour conveys a sense of being clean and tidy more than white?

You may also wonder why Kondo almost never wears pants in any of her videos or during any of her promotional appearances.

The reason is simple: several years ago, she stopped wearing them because pants no longer brought joy for her. You can’t argue that she’s not practicing what she preaches!

9. 5 things that “spark joy” for Kondo

So what sparks joy for Kondo? She recently revealed on her blog five things that are sparking joy for her these days:

  • crystals kept on her nightstand “for their purification properties as well as their exquisite beauty”
  • separate notebooks to jot down her ideas, dreams, and problem solving ideas
  • rose water (for its anti-inflammatory properties and scent)
  • cozy socks
  • an antique box she’s had for years where she keeps her makeup

Tidy up and live with less clutter

Kondo and her tidying methods may not be for everyone. We do think it’s exciting, however, to see so much attention and awareness focussed right now on the value and importance of living with less clutter.

If Marie Kondo mania has gotten you inspired to tidy up and you’re looking for more traditional organization solutions for your home, Organized Interiors can help.

Schedule a free in-home design consultation with us to make plans for getting your household clutter under control.

Please share this post if you found it useful.

See also:

17 Ways to Get Your Home Organized in 2019

You’ve decided that it is time to tackle some organization and storage problems in your home. But when you look around, all you feel is overwhelmed and it all needs work.

Take a deep breath

Relax. Just pick one room, one space in your home. Now commit to organizing that space.

By focusing on just one project, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and that may be enough. After all, the worst thing that could happen is you get the energy and initiative to do more organizing in your home!

Which space will you organize this year?

There are dozens of spaces in your home that might have organization or storage problems. We have design solutions for each of them, but you have to decide where to start.

Walk-in closet, man in blue shirt.

Walk-in Closet

You’ve been eyeing that spare room, contemplating its next incarnation, plotting the takeover, and this is the year. Transform a whole room into a walk-in closet.

Imagine wall-to-wall cabinetry for clothing and accessories, a makeup area complete with vanity and even a lounging space because dressing can be so exhausting. Prepare to drool.

Bedroom Cabinetry

If the last thing you look at before closing your eyes each night is a tabletop of clutter, you might want to think beyond replacing your nightstand. Bedroom cabinetry is custom-designed for your space and offer a stylish solution to a good night’s sleep.

laundry room storage

Laundry Room

Do you dread doing laundry? It may feel like it’s a chore because it’s buried in a dark and dingy spot in your home, or it’s just a dreary process. It doesn’t have to be.

Treat your laundry room like any decorated room that can use a designer’s flare. From simple solutions to high-quality custom solutions, just look at what’s available to transform that space.

Mudroom

The mudroom is another overlooked area of the home that can make a big contribution towards keeping your living space organized.

Whether your mudroom is a small room near an entrance, is combined with your laundry room, or is a dedicated space in the hall of your home’s entryway, there are many ways to enhance its functionality.

Home Office

Paper isn’t going away anytime soon and home offices still need filing space to store your hard copies. Whether it’s a corner carved out under a staircase or a full-sized room in your home, treat yourself to a home office with function and style.

Entertainment Unit

As our TV screens become bigger, we seem to be plugging more and more devices into them – Apple TV, Chromecast, gaming consoles, soundbars, and more.

Keeping all of these devices and cables organized requires more than a sturdy shelf. Choosing a custom solution over a prefab unit has many advantages. Find out why custom entertainment units are better than prefab units from big box retail stores.

Reach-in closet

Reach-in Closets

Do you have to slowly open your closet door just in case something is about to fall out on you? Is there a knee-deep pile of clothing on your floor? It’s time to look at some solutions to keeping your closet organized.

From simple to extravagant, discover how closet organizers can maximize your storage space.

Bathroom Cabinetry

The layout works, the fixtures are fine, but your bathroom cabinets are showing their age. Changing moisture levels and wear from dampness can make cabinets look dingy and worn.

If it’s time for an upgrade, replace them with long-lasting, beautiful cabinets. Learn more about our custom bathroom cabinetry.

Wall bed in a condo.

Wall Bed

If your holiday guests looked tired when they woke up, maybe it’s time to get rid of that lumpy, bulky futon. But where can you put a mattress that’s not used every day without taking up precious space?

You won’t believe how a small condo added a whole guest room without adding square footage!

Kitchen Cabinetry

Your kitchen is the hardest working room in your home. It also demands the most organization to function properly. You can achieve the most efficient space when you are part of planning the solution.

Take a look at some of the latest innovations in our kitchen cabinetry.

wine storage

Wine Room

Collecting wine is more popular and we now see the value of devoting more space in our home to fit it into our lifestyle. Wine requires ideal conditions – a space that is dry, dark, and where things won’t be moved around.

A rack wedged under a staircase just won’t do. Here are some wine room ideas for keeping your collection organized.

Wardrobe Closet

Are all your closets bulging with too much stuff? If you’re not ready to reduce clutter, redistribute it.

Instead of buying a pre-finished, assemble-it-yourself wardrobe unit from a big box store, take a look at a custom solution. You choose the finish, the interior layout, and the size to suit you, not the other way around. Here are some wardrobe examples.

bar cabinetry

Wet Bar

Aside from a wet bar requiring running water, you can set up a bar in almost any room in your home. All you need is a little imagination, inspiration, and customization. Have a look at some of these wet bar ideas from Organized Interiors.

craft room 1

Craft Room

Take a spare room in your home and convert it into a multi-purpose craft room. From sewing, scrapbooking, to creating art, make a unique space that is bright, fun, and allows you to spend time doing what you love.

Upgrade your closet with accessories

Sometimes it’s the smallest projects that give us the greatest sense of satisfaction. Keeping everything in your closet organized both starts and ends your day on a good note.

From shoe racks to jewelry drawers, there are many options to get you organized. A valet rod is one of our most popular closet accessories.

Decorative Hardware

Quality decorative hardware that’s added to the custom cabinetry that will help keep your home more organized has several benefits:

  • the hundreds of types of pulls, knobs, and hooks we offer will better complement the cabinetry and your décor
  • high-quality decorative hardware is more durable and long-lasting
  • decorative hardware of a higher quality provides a better tactile experience when using your custom cabinetry

Garage Storage

Do you see your garage as one big storage container? When it comes to attention to detail for organizing solutions, the garage is the new laundry room. This could be your one big project this year.

From flooring to overhead storage, Garage Living has everything to keep your garage looking pristine and organized.

Get organized this year

Whether you decide to organize your entire home or just one space this year, Organized Interiors has a storage solution that can be customized just for you. No more excuses!

Request a free design consultation to have an Organized Interiors designer come to your home and provide you with a detailed quote.

Please share this post if you found it useful.