Getting ready to renovate? This easy method will save your sanity
So, it’s not long now till the big “demo day”. In no time your renovation will be in full swing. Have you thought about what you’re going to do with all your stuff? You’re going to have to sort it all out and move it out of harm’s way before the tradies arrive. Oh what fun! ...I don’t think so. More likely it will all get stuffed in the spare room at the last minute and you’ll deal with it later. Take my advice, save your sanity, use this method to deal with it now.
Have a look at this book, it will inspire you
I read a fantastic book called "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing" by Marie Kondo. A lot of people know it as the KonMari Method. It’s all about the Japanese art of keeping your house tidy. I love the Japanese, they are so zen and cute at the same time (or “kawaii”, which means the quality of cuteness in Japanese). I really recommend it, my mum found it useful too.
If you know you've got too much stuff and hate the thought of doing something about it, this book is really inspiring. She talks about all areas of the home but let’s focus on the kitchen. You might be thinking about renovating your kitchen. So, it would be a good idea to do a bit of a cull before you have your old kitchen ripped out - or you move house, or whatever you're doing before the reno starts.
First, Marie says get every single thing out of the cupboards and onto the floor (ew! don't be grossed out, the Japanese have very clean floors). Let’s just say put it all out on some sort of surface. This way you're forced to do it all in one hit and not miss anything out. It also shows you how much stuff you have because now there’s nothing lurking in the deep dark depths of a cupboard. You might be surprised at how many of the same thing you have. Seriously, how many bottle openers do you need? So set aside a good chunk of time so you won’t be disturbed. Put some music on, grab a glass of wine (optional) and get into it.
Marie suggests doing this in categories and in a particular order. It really is daunting when you think about the volume of things that you have. But I think if you break it down and follow a step by step guide, then you’ve done it in no time.
- First of all, deal with all the things that shouldn’t be there, i.e. the junk drawer (everyone has one).
- Are there any valuables hidden somewhere, such as passports, or money?
- Then deal with all the miscellaneous electrical items (not cooking related). Cords, plugs, batteries, all seem to get jumbled up in the wrong spot.
- Next, move on to stationery, pens, sticky tape, etc.
- Then medicines, first aid kit, tissues.
- Cleaning and washing up detergents and sponges.
- And finally cooking items and food.
If you feel like doing this exercise for the rest of your home, go for it! Rather doing room by room, Marie focuses on categories. Which means when you’re doing books, for example, you go on a search of your whole house to find all the books. This is the order that she suggests:
- Clothing, bags, accessories, shoes. I love how she folds clothes! She’s got a great technique, look it up on Youtube.
- Books & magazines
- papers: such as mail and all kinds of printed documents
- Komono (Japanese for miscellaneous bits and pieces). This is a big category, which includes the kitchen items. She also suggest dealing with most of the things in the house first, and leave the kitchen specific items till last. She’s got a fairly intensive “komono” list in her book, and it tells you what order you should do it all in.
- Last but not least are all the sentimental items that are the hardest to deal with.
Now I know the order of things, how do I “deal” with it?
This is the important bit, so listen in. For each item, you must pick it up and hold it in your hand and ask yourself "does this item bring me happiness?" or “spark joy” is how it's translated into English. The answer might be yes, because I need to use it. Or yes, because it looks good. Or yes, because it brings back memories of good times. If it doesn't bring you joy, then get rid of it.
Sometimes people hold onto too many things because of memories. If you like to keep things around you like that, that’s fine. But what if they are getting in the way of really appreciating the now, and trying new things. Sometimes you have to say to that item, "thanks for bringing me happiness at that time. I really appreciate it but now it's time I let you go". Maybe someone else will find joy in it and it can have a new life with someone else.
Now, put each item away in a neat and logical place. When it finds it's home, this is where it will always live. If it gets taken out, everyone knows where it goes and it always goes back there. This makes it so much easier when cleaning up, you don't have to think about it and it becomes automatic. We all know that cleaning up is the most tedious task, so lets make sure the location is close by. It's easier getting things out than it is putting them away. You're happier to walk a little bit further to get something, than putting things away when it's a chore to tidy up at the end. Most of the time the item will end up living where it’s easy to get it, but try to think about it in reverse. Make it easier to put things away. Here are some examples :
- Locate the cutlery and plates within a step of the dishwasher. This is where they will come from when they are washed.
- Store the power cord for your electronic devices somewhere near the powerpoint.
If you have a nice collection, why not show it off. Create a display and make it a feature in your overall design. Such as this amazing tea kettle collection:
You could arrange your items in little compartments or baskets to keep them in order. No need to go out and buy lots of storage stuff, Marie recommends making them yourself out of things you already have. Such as shoe boxes or gift boxes. There are plenty of ideas about this on Pinterest. Use your imagination, see how creative and organised you can be.
How do I know if I’ll have enough drawers?
Clients often ask me this when I’m designing their layout. Ideally you should do the KonMari method during your planning phase of your new kitchen. So you know how much stuff you have and whether or not you have enough room for storage in your new design. You might end up doing this during the weeks you're patiently waiting for the big demo day. But it would be wiser to do this beforehand, when you’re planning for your new storage systems.
I've recently discovered that if I provide a handy link to Amazon for this book, I will get a small percentage of the sale if you buy it. It's at no extra cost to you and Amazon will deliver it right where you are. They ship all over the world.
Need some more inspiration about organising your kitchen? check out this epic guide from thekitchn.com
Is there anything else you can do before the renovation starts? How about setting up a temporary kitchen-BBQ outside. It will save you from having to eat fish ’n’ chips every night.
Just remember, a little preparation and organisation before demo day will save your sanity.
Do you have any tips you can share?