This week started with a decluttering bang – an organizational craze gone crazy starring Marie Kondo’s KonMari Method.

Kondo is the Japanese mistress of tidying-up magic who has her own Tidying Up With Marie Kondo show on Netflix.

In each episode, Kondo rescues families who are drowning in “stuff” by helping them to keep only those things that “spark joy” in their life. But Kondo is not the only guru who promises KonMari sanity against the fall out effects from chaos.  In fact, the mental health benefits that come from living clutter-free have never been in greater demand.

Marie Kondo, organization, clutter, sort, success, happiness, mental health

After the first few episodes of her show aired, donations to organizations across the U.S. enjoyed an all-time high, citing Kondo as the main cause!  While Kondo’s method is the current darling of the organization crowd, it may not be yours.

Turns out there is an abundance of different systems and theories to inspire all personality types who want to organize their personal space.  We have another four such gurus to consider, with Peter Walsh, a well-known organizing guru and author of Lose the Clutter, Lose the Weight, as our first alternative.

Walsh recommends a short burst method he refers to as the Trash Can Tango as a starting point when you are overwhelmed by the project.  Take two trash bags and designate one for trash and one for tag sale/donations.  The donation bag should be filled with whatever items you feel drag you down no longer use or no longer want.

Do this for ten minutes every day for a week and you will begin to see a difference.  Continue to do this weekly and after a month you will be ahead of your clutter issues with noticeable improvement and a minimal output of time and effort!

If this is too much, Walsh has another de-clutter system that he calls the FAST method:

Fix a time to begin the decluttering process and all members of the household should be present.  It can be an all-day work fest on a Saturday or a set number of hours during the week.

Marie Kondo, organization, clutter, sort, success, happiness, mental health

(Photo shows clothing donation banks in Ireland)

Anything not used in 12 months gets pitched.  Chances are if you haven’t used the item in question in the past year, you don’t need it.

Someone else’s stuff doesn’t belong with you.  If you are keeping someone else’s clutter-why, don’t you have enough of your own?  Call up your ex to take his/her stuff away.  Kids moved out?  Great, now give them all of the stuff they left behind too!  Done with that floor polisher you borrowed?  Return it to your neighbor!

Trash as much as you can.  The more trash you put in the wastebasket, the less clutter you will have.  Get the family/roomies involved and see who can toss the most stuff out.

Marie Kondo, organization, clutter, sort, success, happiness, mental health

The effects of clutter on you and the people around you have an enormous impact on mental health and our relationships with others.  Hoarders is a disturbing show that illustrates the physical and mental unhealthiness of clutter.

We can’t help watching this show and feeling for the people who suffer from this mental illness, maybe in part, because we’re glad it’s not us or their obsession with collecting makes ours feel less severe.

We can all relate to this mentality of not wanting to waste something, or holding on to it thinking “maybe the kids will want their old toys when they have children” or “this camp stove will be handy if there is a power failure.”

Frankly, when are those situations going to happen?

According to Martha Beck, life coach and author of Finding Your Own North Star, most clients tell their hired organizer that they hope to find “peace, space and freedom” at the end of the decluttering process.  Our clutter holds us back from achieving this goal.

Next time you walk into a room in your home, look around and focus on 10 random items.  Now ask yourself the following questions about each object:

  1. Do I need this item?
  2. Do I really love it?
  3. Am I willing to trade this for inner peace?  Your answers to these three simple questions can help to constrain any pack-rat tendencies, enabling you to thin your items into only those that truly matter to you.

Darla DeMorrow author of Sort and Succeed has a system she coined the Sort and Succeed method:

Start with written goals

Organize by group

Reduce, release, reset

Tweak and enhance

Succeed and celebrate!

Marie Kondo, organization, clutter, sort, success, happiness, mental health

DeMorrow believes in keeping what you love, much like Kondo, but she seems to be more in favor of finding places for the things you cherish and is not as focused on tossing tons of things out.  She theorizes that we need to get better at reducing our intake of stuff, useless information, activities, and even financial debt.

It has been proven that individuals who write their goals down, achieve nearly all of those goals in the time period they set for reaching them.  If you are one of these, then this system may appeal to you.

If you are a techie DIY type, here’s one last suggestion by the “Organizer Lady”, Sandra Felton. She has an App called Organizing Magic that provides a user-friendly guide to help you get your home and life in order in 40 days.

Marie Kondo, organization, clutter, sort, success, happiness, mental health

Organizing Magic shares tips each day from handling paperwork, recognizing your time constraints and simplifying your solutions.  For more in-depth information on Felton’s organizing philosophy check out her books, the latest is 5 Days to a Clutter-Free House: Quick, Easy Ways to Clear Up Your Space.

If you are not sure which of these strategies will best help you to de-clutter your space, check out the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals website at  NAPO has 3000 plus members committed to assisting people and organizations with managing their productivity and organizing needs.

Their search tool will help you locate a professional in your area while also offering tips about how to hire one and narrow down your particular needs, from space planning and paper management to ADD/AHAD support.

With so much awareness about the mental effects of clutter in our lives, there is no better time to be free from clutter.  Check back tomorrow for videos that show you some of the magic we discovered.  And, don’t miss Friday’s editorial by Denise as she shares her personal struggles and successes.  Denise would love to hear what works for you or to take questions on our website or on social media: FB, Twitter

Denise Benson

Author Denise Benson

Denise Benson is a photographer, creative writer and traveler. Discovering new ideas, people, places and cultures is a lifelong passion, which Denise enjoys sharing with her readers using her unique perspective as a photographic storyteller. An avid sailor, she and her husband Brian have sailed 10,000 blue water miles exploring the South Pacific. Along with sailing, she enjoys travel, food & wine, books and nature related activities, including napping on the fore-deck of her boat, Moonstone.

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