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Give your home the ultimate clear-out, with help from Marie Kondo

19 August 2020

Tired of seeing your kids’ massively messy rooms or your partner’s chaotic workspace? Here’s how to get everyone on the same page when it comes to decluttering, Marie Kondo style.

Unless you’ve been living under a shell, you’ll be familiar with the pint-sized Japanese dynamo of tidy, Marie Kondo, who has helped millions of us declutter through her “If you don’t love it, toss it” mantra.

Kondo’s concept is simple: living in less cluttered spaces helps “spark joy”. By getting rid of things we don’t really need, we can transform our lives.

It’s an alluring concept, but just how manageable is it for the average family, and how on earth do parents  convince everyone in the house that a major overhaul will actually make a difference?

“Discuss the benefits decluttering will bring,” suggests professional organiser Sarah Shanahan. “A calm, ordered, more manageable house will benefit everyone living in the space. Create a shared vision for how you want your home to feel ­— this will make the goal so much more achievable.”

Let’s look at how to declutter three of the most problematic domains in most homes.

Older kids’ rooms

No three words strike more fear into parents than “the teenage bedroom”. Many wisely choose to avoid entering these mess-filled spaces unless they absolutely have to. But clearing out an adolescent’s lair might be just what your teen needs, particularly if they’re older and heading into the intensive final few years of school. Shanahan suggests starting small. “That way it won’t be too overwhelming,” she says. Storage is key to getting your teen organised, but “let them have some input about the style of storage – if it’s appealing to them, they are much more likely to respect it and maintain it”. Floating shelves, storage tubs and hooks will be your new best friends. “Anything that can keep their stuff in manageable piles and areas is crucial. Giving everything a home is paramount, otherwise the clutter will creep back in.”

Young kids’ rooms

Don’t be fooled by their innocent little faces: young kids are probably the worst hoarders in the house, collapsing into tears if one piece of Lego is removed from their room. Rather than risk full-blown tantrums, Shanahan suggests using the “rotation method” to control the clutter. “They simply cannot play with all their toys. So take half of them away and store them somewhere safe, then rotate them back every few months.” This might be best done when they are asleep. Labelled tubs (“dress-ups”, “cars”, “Legos”, etc) make for easy access and easy packing away at the end of the day. If the space still feels overwhelmed, suggest donating some of the lesser-used toys to charity — you might be surprised at how compassionate and generous young children can be when they’re asked. (Want to use a real Marie Kondo trick? Hold up each thing you’re thinking of donating and show your child: their reaction will tell you which toys to keep and which to give away).

The “male” domains

We don’t want to reinforce gender stereotypes, but in most cases, the shed and the garage will be firmly in control of the male members of the household — or Dads, as we like to call them. How to convince your other half that his man cave needs a little Kondo-ing? Search “highly organised garages” on the internet and then show him the results: few men can resist the sight of seven hammers hung in perfect alignment. Sturdy, good-quality shelving and storage are absolutely key here, says Shanahan. “Then start by emptying everything out and sorting it into ‘like-with-like’ zones.” Throw out (or donate) anything that is duplicated, or anything that hasn’t been used in years — the layers of rust might be a dead giveaway. “I would suggest choosing storage in the same style to give the space a calm and unified look – then label, label, label!”  

Organise your personal finances too!

Just like organising storage, it makes sense to separate your savings into specific accounts – one for emergencies, one for monthly bills, one for your next holiday, etc.

With Suncorp Bank’s Everyday Options Account, you can create up to 9 sub-accounts for your spending and saving goals. Plus, there are no account keeping fees and heaps of other great benefits to spark a little joy in your finances!

Learn about our Everyday Accounts

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