If you’re new here, I’m a BIG fan of Marie Kondo. (Like every other mid-30s mom is, right?!) We went through the whole process at our old home before moving, and WOW. After using the KonMari Method, life was easier and more enjoyable. And it still is, over two years later!
I’ll likely never need to do a whole-home clean-out again, as I’ve adopted a lot of the skills I learned, and they’re now part of my everyday routines. That said, our home is not a museum. Real people—and a dog—live here. Messes are made, fun is had, clutter builds, and things get dirty. But if I’ve learned anything from KonMari, it’s that the key to maintaining the lifestyle isn’t becoming crazy about the whole thing. It’s simply committing to some quick upkeep!
It’s March, and we’re one step closer to spring and therefore spring cleaning. I’m also personally in a place where organizing and cleaning are really helping with my mental health. ☀️ So here’s what I aim to do to keep up with the KonMari lifestyle. (Keep in mind, however, that these are simply goals. I very often let things go because I’m human! 😉)
How I Keep Up with the KonMari Lifestyle
- Utilize stair baskets, and deliver items to their rightful places when going up and down the stairs. This is a huge one for me. My mom used staircase baskets when I was growing up, and now I understand why! They reduce clutter like whoa. A few times per day, I collect stuff that’s scattered about the the house and either drop it into the “going upstairs” basket or the “going downstairs” (to the playroom) basket. It’s become such a part of my day-to-day that I don’t even think about it anymore! It’s just part of my mindless routine. When I go upstairs, I take the contents and put it wherever it belongs, and I do the same when I go downstairs. For me, half the battle is not feeling overwhelmed by tidying; I find that with the baskets, things rarely get out of control and I’m able to stay on top of tidying. Without ’em? I feel overwhelmed by the chaos. It goes without saying that I really needed to commit to grabbing stuff out of the basket on my way up or down as often as possible before I saw a difference in the clutter. (It was easy to ignore a full basket and say I’ll get to it later.) But again, once it became part of everyday routine, it was second nature—and my home looked and felt far more orderly.
- Do the “two bags trick” 2x per week. I forget where I read about this, and it’s definitely similar to the stair basket. But the idea is that twice per week, you grab two bags—I use old Ikea bags—and go from room to room, collecting trash from waste bins as well as unneeded things from wherever. The trash obviously goes in the garbage, and the unneeded things set aside to be donated. Keep in mind that this task should take no more than 5 or 10 minutes. It’s not a giant clean-out! It’s just a quick collection.
- Put unworn/unneeded clothing in the donate pile every week. I try to pull a couple of things from our closets every week and throw ’em in that same Ikea “donate bag.” Whether it’s a sweater I haven’t worn in a few years or dresses that Lucy’s outgrown, there’s always something. I don’t know about you guys, but having overflowing closets is anxiety-producing for me. This prevents that from ever happening, though, and I’m giving back. (If you’re interested in a total KonMari closet clean-out, though, here’s my post on it!)
- Commit to “one house project per day.” I started doing this at the beginning of this year, and it’s already become a habit. I love it. It’s such a simple concept, yet as the days, weeks and months pass, I’ve seen our home become more functional and our lives become simpler. I know I talk about this every week, and I’m sorry for repeating myself ad nauseam, haha. But it’s made such an impact on our lives! The best part is that the projects don’t need to be big or require much time. This morning’s project, for example, is simply cleaning out and tidying the top drawers of my desk. It’ll take no more than five minutes. Tomorrow, I’m going to work on my dresser. The following day, I’m going to… (See?! Over time, these small projects lead to an organized life. It’s the only strategy that’s truly worked for me thus far!)
- Vacuum/steam floors 2x per week. I hate vacuuming, mostly because the whole family complains about it when I do it. Mitch hates the disruption. Lucy can’t sleep. Emma freaks out and says the noise hurts her ears. Noodle won’t stop barking. 😆 But continue on I always do. (Except when Lucy is sleeping because that’s just cruel.) For vacuuming, I use this cordless vacuum—which I love because you can replace the battery when it runs out—or an older Dyson which is admittedly on its last legs. (Did you see that this cordless Dyson is ~$250?! I’m tempted!) For steaming, I use this cordless steam mop. (My most frequently asked question about it is whether it takes the finish off our hardwood floors, and the answer is no! I use it on the lowest setting on hardwood, and no issues over the last year. For tile, I use it on the highest setting. It’s truly magic and only requires water—no special cleaning solution.) Anyway, I’m always amazed by how much of a difference regularly vacuuming and steaming makes.
- Wipe down countertops throughout the day. I actually need to tone it down here, haha. I’m addicted to Windex/Microban. (You can now buy Micobran online via Target, btw!) But clean countertops help me feel calmer, and because of that, I’d estimate that I do it 5+ times per day depending on whether Emma’s at school or home with us. (After every meal; after crafts, kinetic sand or play dough; and once more before going to bed.) So yeah. I can relate to this.
- Wipe down bathrooms as often as possible. Ugh. I know. It’s the worst job—and it often can feel downright impossible when you have kids in tow. But once I started keeping disinfecting wipes (out of reach) in our bathrooms, I found that they were almost always sparkling! The wipes make the job doable even when Lucy is at my feet because it only takes 30 seconds. They’re obviously harder to find these days, but Target’s Up & Up disinfecting wipes are usually in stock online. They’re also the best bang for our buck!
- When the hamper is full, do the laundry. There’s just nothing worse than having to do five loads of laundry on a Sunday. Don’t get me wrong: Every once in a while, I find myself in that position, as life is crazy and sometimes the laundry just needs to wait. But more often than not, I do a load every other day so I can keep up with it. I also utilize these scalloped baskets—one for each bedroom. Once they’re full of clean, folded laundry, I deliver their contents.
- Get ahead with work when/if possible. For the last year, I’ve aimed to be 10-14 days ahead on work at all times, and I can’t tell you how better my life now is. In order to get there, I did need help: my mother-in-law took the girls for a long weekend, I clocked very long hours, and Mitch contributed quite a bit. But once I was two weeks ahead, it was pretty easy to stay two weeks ahead. (Just worked a normal amount every day!) Of course, every job is different, and some do not allow for this. But if you can do it, I highly recommend! My weekends are usually free and clear, and I no longer work late nights or work while traveling. As a result, I’m happier, calmer and less anxious.
- Purge papers/mail on a weekly basis. Paper is the devil, haha. I’m not where I want to be here, but I do try to digitize most stuff so my drawers aren’t overflowing. Honestly, though, my biggest issue is keeping up with the physical mail. Does physical mail stress anyone else out?! I don’t know why I put it off, but I do, and then suddenly it turns into giant piles of mail that are even more intimidating. Something’s wrong with me.
- Close down browser tabs and clean off desktop daily. This is something else I’m still working on. I’m a tabs girl. I have a zillion open at once, hoping that they’ll remind me to do whatever I think I need to do. This year I’m trying really hard, however, to get into the habit of closing ’em down at the end of the day. If I didn’t get to whatever I wanted to get to, no big deal. There is always tomorrow. It’s been helpful! Nothing like starting a new day with a clean slate. Or desktop. ;)
- Wipe down the fridge before putting new groceries in. This does NOT mean that all contents need to be taken out. That’s a once-per-month job for me. (And a big one, I might add!) Instead, I just move stuff around and do a quick wipe-down before putting in new stuff. It really only takes a couple of minutes but helps a lot when the time comes for the once-monthly cleaning.
- Invest in food storage containers. I love Rubbermaid’s Brilliance line. I discovered it through a partnership I did with the brand last year, but they’re so much better than OXO in my opinion because they allow you to fill the containers up to the very top. (With OXO, you need to leave room for the tops, and that gets me every time, haha.) They’re also crystal clear and look very nice. I did recently order a few containers from the Container Store’s “Linus” line for our fridge, but I’m pretty sure I’m just going to end up with more Brilliance. Plus it’ll be nice having interchangeable products that work both in the pantry and fridge!
- Do a “sweep” every night before going to bed. I put the last few stragglers in the stair baskets, I tuck in chairs, and I fold blankets/fluff pillows. Little things, but it’s so nice to come down to an orderly home in the morning.
- Make the bed. I read somewhere once that if you make your bed in the morning, you will have essentially accomplished the first task of the day. It’s a good way to feel like you’ve “got this,” you know? While everyone’s different, making the bed personally sets me up for a good day. One that’s less defined by chaos and more defined by stuff that actually matters. ♥️