“America, we need to talk. We have a stuff problem.” So says Emma McGowan in her story, Make Some Money Off of Spring Cleaning, which features our very own app. (Thank you, Emma!)
The Los Angeles Times, as Emma rightly points out, found that the average American home contains more than 300,000 items! Meanwhile, the New York Times reported that 1 in 10 Americans uses a storage space, despite the fact that our houses are, on average, three times the size that they were just 50 years ago. That’s a lot of space—and a lot of stuff.
Given these coast-to-coast realities, 5miles is on a mission to help people declutter. But where to begin?
Marie Kondo, a professional cleaning consultant who was inspired by the Japanese book, Throw-Out Skill, has some great starter tips. A lifelong lover of all things house and home, Kondo founded the KonMari Method after studying the art of cleaning. Her new book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, sums things up beautifully (courtesy DrNorthrup.com):
- Tidy all at once. Tidying a bit at a time never works. Things will get messy again quickly. (All at once means allotting about 6 months to the project.)
- Visualize your destination. Before you throw things away, visualize your ideal lifestyle. Goals such as, “I want to live clutter free” or “I want to be able to put things away,” are too broad. You must think in concrete terms, such as: “I want to live like a Goddess, surrounded by peace and beauty.”
- Identify why you want to live the way you envision. For every answer ask yourself “why?” again. For example, if you want to live clutter free so you get a better night’s sleep, ask yourself, “Why do I want to sleep better?” Do this 3-5 times.
- Determine if each item “sparks joy.” Rather than focusing solely on throwing things away, which Ms. Kondo acknowledges only brings unhappiness, be sure to cherish what you love. Do this by taking each item in your hand and asking yourself “does this spark joy?” If yes, then it stays. If it does not spark joy, then throw it out.
- Tidy by category, not location. In most households, items that fall into the same category are stored in multiple places. If you are tackling your clothes, then you must get all the clothes out of every closet and drawer in every room first. Start with tops first, then bottoms, and work from there.
- Tidy in the right order. Kondo says that the following order is the way to tidy: clothes, books, papers, and then Komono (miscellaneous.) She goes into great detail on how to separate and each category into sub-categories.
- Discard before you place things back. You must discard first. Don’t put anything away until everything you are going to discard is removed.
One of the easiest ways to rid yourself of clutter around the house is to sell unwanted items via 5miles. Your very own neighbors can be the best way to get stuff off your hands (and vice versa).
Moreover, did you know that 5miles has introduced a Donate channel on the app? That’s right, you can list free items on the marketplace that others may be able to make use of (including local charities).
Happy spring cleaning, 5milers!