What Marie Kondo Taught Me

What Marie Kondo Taught Me

What Marie Kondo Taught Me

If you haven’t heard of Marie Kondo or the “KonMari” method, let me fill you in. Marie Kondo is a young Japanese woman who has literally transformed the organizational world and the minimalism movement.

She is a household name because of her book, “The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organization.”  This book has been published in more than 30 countries and she has sold more than 4 million copies.

Marie Kondo is taking the world by storm, but why? Marie Kondo’s book teaches anyone how to declutter once and promises that you will never have to do it again. Let me say, who wouldn’t love that. Sign me up for that!!

I wanted to see for myself if this book would actually deliver on the promise to declutter my home for good.

After listening to the book, I don’t think the book delivered on that promise, but it did give me some great ideas and inspiration to purge my home.

I had three golden nugget take-aways from Kondo’s book and three ideas that I didn’t agree with.

3 Take Aways From Marie Kondo

ONE

Keep what Sparks Joy

My biggest take away was to only keep things that bring me joy. I realized I was keeping things because it was given to me, I may need it someday, or I spent money on it. By asking myself the simple question, “does this spark joy,” I was able to let go and get rid of more items.

TWO

Thank Items That Don’t Spark Joy

Marie Kondo also thanks items for their service before donating or discarding. I thought that it seemed silly, but I did try it. By thanking the items for their service, I felt like it was a little bit easier to let it go and donate my stuff.

THREE

Shirt Folding Method

The KonMari method gives a solution to the common problem of not being able to see every shirt that you own when it is folded. Instead of stacking shirts on top of each other horizontally, Marie Kondo recommends folding and laying each shirt vertically, so you can see each one at once. This way you don’t have to pull out most of your shirts to find the one you are looking for, you can easily see every shirt you own. I really like using this method for all of my husbands t-shirts. I also use this folding method for my sweaters.

I’ve got to be real. This book had some great ideas sandwiched in with some pretty out-there ideas. So this is what I didn’t like about the KonMarie method…..

3 Ideas from Marie Kondo that I didn’t Agree With 

ONE

Unrealistic Ideas

Marie Kondo wrote this book before she was married or had any children. Let me give you a few examples of some out-there premises:

  • She talks to her stuff like they are humans. She says the way most people fold their socks into each other is suffocating them. Socks should be folded and rolled like sushi so they can rest. Marie also lets her purse ‘relax’ each time she enters her home by emptying all of the contents and refilling only what she needs when she leaves. I’m sorry, but I don’t have time for that and I don’t think my purse NEEDS to relax.
  • Marie keeps nothing in her shower. She takes out each item she will use and then puts it into the shower before she gets in. When she is done with her shower she dries off each item and puts them away. I don’t know any mom who has time to keep this up.

TWO

Throw Away Photos

Dang, I had a hard time with this. Marie says we should only keep a handful of photos from a vacation or whatever and get rid of the rest. You are only supposed to keep the best of the best. I love the photos of my kids doing mundane things. I want their lives to be documented, so we can look back and remember the past. I love minimalism, but this was way too far for me.

THREE

Bouts of Diarrhea

Yeah, you heard me right. She talks about how many of her clients have diarrhea after they purge. This is super strange to me. I can’t imagine a client telling her about their bowel movements and I thought it was pretty crazy that she felt it was important to include that in her book.
The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organization” was a good starting off point for me and helped me to create my own barometer of what to keep and what to donate.  There were some great ideas in this book.

I think it is great that Marie Kondo is helping people live with less.  I felt like it would be impossible to follow her steps to a T, and enjoy my life at the same time. Have you read this book? What did you think?

4 Tweaks to a Clutter-Free Home

4 Tweaks to a Clutter-Free Home

4 Tweaks to a Clutter-Free Home

I don’t know about you, but when my house is in utter chaos, I feel like my life is in chaos. Piles of dishes and laundry to fold can totally derail me. My endless to-do list can make me feel like I am not accomplishing anything.  I don’t think I am the only mom who feels like this.

Clutter affects us in so many ways and there is so much research proving that clutter is affecting pretty much every area of our lives. It affects our marriages, kids, keeps us in debt, hurts our productivity, our health, and our diets, and so much more.

Why do we as women see our homes as a direct reflection of us. If our house is put together, then our lives are put together. But there is a catch 22- I wanted to spend quality time with my kids, but when I did, my house suffered. I felt like I had to choose spending quality time with my kids and live with a messy house or have a clean house and not interact much with my kids.  I was realizing that I didn’t want either. There has to be some middle ground. This was the catalyst for my personal journey toward a more simplistic and minimalistic lifestyle.

Personally, I felt like I was in a rut and didn’t know where or how to start. I decided to listen to decluttering and organization books. I use the Hoopla App from my library so I can listen to audiobooks for free. Check out my post 4 Surprising Free Resources at the Library for a complete list of library resources.

While listening to the decluttering books on my phone, I started getting rid of the excess in my house. Listening to these books was so motivational for me. One of the first minimalism books I read was “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo. Check out my post here to learn more about this book.

I had several epiphanies on my journey. I realized that every item I own takes up my energy and time; I only wanted to keep what was important to me and my family. When I started to recognize how clutter causes such an emotional response in me, I was more driven to deal with my possessions. Clutter stifles my productivity and creativity.

I started to look at where most of my time was spent and it was in the kitchen making meals, cleaning, doing dishes and laundry. I was constantly picking up toys and shoes and random things dropped on the floors. I started to look at ways to free up time and creating small changes to make my life easier.

Here are some of these small tweaks that really help maintain our home…

ONE

Ditch the Dish Drying Rack

The drying rack was taking up prime counter real-estate, and I wasn’t good about putting the dishes away. I would make the excuse that the dishes need to dry for hours and sometimes days. I now use a towel to dry my pots and pans and everything else that I don’t put in the dishwasher and put them directly away. Check out my post 5 Steps to a Tidy Kitchen for more kitchen clutter hacks.

TWO

Run your Dishwasher at the Right Time

My dishes always seemed to accumulate because the dishwasher was running during meal time. So the dishes piled up while we waited for the dishwasher to finish running.  The dirty dishes from the meal filled the sink, so I didn’t have room to wash the pots and pans. This was a perpetual cycle of dish chaos.

Now I run the dishwasher after lunch so we directly put the dishes in the dishwasher instead of the sink. I unload the dishwasher before I start on dinner and then the dishes stay under control. Just figuring out the timing of running the dishes and loading them, has lightened my dish load significantly.

Discover when you should run your dishwasher so you can directly put dishes into it. Many people run their dishwasher at night and unload it in the morning. This didn’t work for me because it added one more chore to do in the morning. It derailed my morning routine.

THREE

Make Your Bed

I never used to make my bed, because I had the mindset that it was a waste of time.  I’m not sure what pushed me to try to create this new habit. I was surprised how my bedroom felt so much more relaxing and peaceful when the bed is made. I felt less sloppy when my bed was made, even if I was the only one who would see it. By making my bed, I also realized that I could start a new habit and be consistent. This was my baby step to adding more routines to help keep my house tidy.

FOUR

Have Routine Family Clean-up after Dinner

We started playing upbeat music after dinner while we all clean up. We clean up after the meal and the main living spaces. When we all pitch in, the cleaning process is so much faster and it makes it routine. I used to try to have family clean-up before bed, but it was so hard to be consistent with it. There were so many other routines for bedtime that adding one more didn’t work well for us.

These new small routines had a major impact on how our house runs and gave me momentum to continue to get my house into the peaceful oasis I wanted. We still have days where we slip up, but we are improving. What routines and tweaks have you made that helps you gain back your time?

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Marriage: 3 Ways to be More Intentional with Your Spouse

Marriage: 3 Ways to be More Intentional with Your Spouse

Marriage: 3 Ways to be More Intentional with Your Spouse

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Marriage is a big deal. It is so sad that so many marriages are failing and Christians aren’t excluded. I knew the statistic (40-50% of couples divorce and the rate is even higher for those with prior divorces) going into marriage, but the statistics never really impacted me. I grew up with great happily-married parents and my in-laws have a good marriage too. Most of my friends growing up had parents that were still together. I really didn’t have anyone close who was divorced.

Maybe I grew up in a bubble, I don’t know. But once I got married, I started seeing couples break up. My eyes were open and I saw friends and mentors getting divorced. I had no idea that these people were struggling in their marriages. What a burden that many bear alone.

Divorce really hit home for me when I found out a couple we were friends with were getting a divorce. They were married the same day and time as my husband and I.

Divorce has become our new societal norm, and that isn’t healthy. We see more movies and T.V. shows with unhappy and broken homes then ones with healthy marriages.

Please don’t get me wrong and think that I’m bashing people who are divorced or think that no one should ever get divorced. That is not my aim. I want to encourage people to actively work on improving their marriage. 

So how can we not be a statistic? How can we make our marriages thrive? I don’t have all the answers and my husband and I are not perfect by any means, but we have a good marriage.

Good marriages don’t just happen. They take effort and persistence.

Marriage: 3 Ways to be More Intentional with Your Spouse

ONE

Actively Work on Improving your Marriage

Many people get married and stop working at their marriages. You have probably heard that once you are married, you don’t have to date anymore. It is so easy to become comfortable with our spouse and not put in any effort into marriage. But when we aren’t actively working on our marriage, our marriage is slowly going downhill. We have to be intentional with our marriage and work on it.

When my husband and I were doing our premarital counseling, our pastor told us that we need to get a Ph.D. in knowing our spouse. He said most people have maybe a high school diploma in their spouse. We should be actively learning new things about our spouse. I love this idea.

So how do you get a Ph.D. in knowing your spouse? Talk together, share experiences, and date again.

TWO

Set Goals for the Future

This is huge! Goal setting is vital in having a clear vision of what you want to succeed in together. Set goals for your finances, job, spiritual, friendships, physical, relational, and whatever else is important to you.

My husband and I started setting goals in a variety of areas of life before we got married and we continue to adapt and add new goals in at least once a year. By setting goals together, you really become one-flesh with your spouse. Everything comes easier when you are on the same page for the future.

Write your goals down and revisit them. Writing goals down makes your goals more permanent and more likely to be achieved. We make sure to date when we wrote the goals and when we achieve them. It has been amazing for us to see that we have accomplished our goals and many of them we accomplished before we thought we could.

THREE

Change Your Mindset

Mindset is such an incredible factor in everything we do. If you go into your marriage trying to win, your marriage will lose. When you have a mindset shift from focusing on yourself to focusing on your spouse, your going to treat your spouse better.

Most fights usually boil down to selfishness and pride. If selfishness and pride were stripped away, fights would turn into a disagreement and our lives would be so much more peaceful. Selfishness is a deadly poison for marriages, it seeps into the cracks of everyday life. If we looked out for our spouses interests, how much better would our marriages become?

On a practical level, I try to actively put away my selfishness on the little things so I won’t be selfish on the big things, and by no means am I perfect! For example, I try to give my husband the bigger cookie, the better seat, or even admitting that I was wrong etc. By creating this habit, I am wanting the best for my husband, which in turn creates a better marriage.

Let’s get intentional with our marriage because our marriage don’t just affect us. They affect our spouse, our children and future generations. The way we live out our marriage is the most prominent marriage example for our children. I want my children to have amazing marriages, and I want to model that for them. Don’t settle for normal, because divorce is normal.
4 Surprising Free Resources at the Library

4 Surprising Free Resources at the Library

4 Surprising Free Resources at the Library

Let me just put this out there…I LOVE the library. If you haven’t been to a library recently, GO! Libraries are not like they were when I was a kid. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed going to the library as a child, but they pretty much only had books, a few movies, and CD’s. Now, libraries are totally upping their game! The resources are amazing and free!  Libraries give us so many resources that help us create a family culture that loves to read.

Libraries are perfect for anyone who wants to be more minimalistic. You can borrow books, toys, games, puzzles, and so much more and then return them when you are done. Talk about the perfect scenario, you check out what you want and you don’t have to keep and store it. Plus, libraries can save you SO much money.

Start taking advantage of the resources the library near you has. Here are some resources to look for:

4 Surprising Free Resources at the Library

ONE

Digital Resources

Many libraries have IPAD’s, SLR Camera Lenses, GoPro’s, portable WIFI, projectors/screens, and so much more to check out. Many libraries have 3D printing for super cheap, computer labs with expensive software on it like Photoshop. So if you need to use a program occasionally, use a library computer. In the town I live in, there is an entire branch of the library that is a digital library. They teach classes on coding, blogging and so much more.

Most libraries also have apps that give you access to free audiobooks, music, and movies. This is how I listen to my books. I don’t pay for a subscription service and I LOOOVE it. Many libraries have resources like free Lynda courses and a variety of online classes.

TWO

Entertainment

Libraries have tons of DVD’s to check out, so you don’t have to buy as many movies or rent them. My family owns less than 5 DVD’s, we just use Netflix and the library. You can put movies on hold online, so you don’t have to go through them at the library. New releases are available too.

 

Many libraries have games and puzzles. This is a great way to try out a new game without paying a high price. We checked out the game Ticket to Ride and loved it. That game is normally $50. It was nice to play it and not buy it. We end up playing the games more if we check them out, because we know we will need to return them. This has helped us just keep a few games we really like at home and check out the rest.

THREE

Home items

Many libraries are providing items that you might not have on hand but need occasionally. Our library has sewing machines, food dehydrators, scrapbooking tools, garden seeds, cake pans, energy efficient electrical tools, seed sifters, fishing poles, cake decorating tips, knitting items, bike repair kits and so much more. Some libraries even rent out tools. How practical!!

 

I threw a big birthday party for my mother-in-law and checked out pretty much everything for the party. I checked out the cake pans (our library has over a hundred different ones), cake decorating tips, cookie cutters, and all the scrapbooking punches I needed. I probably would not have bought those supplies normally, but I was able to make everything look so much nicer without spending a dime. Win-win!

FOUR

Classes and Programs

The classes the libraries provide are amazing. My kids love them. We go to classes that are specific for their ages, art classes for kids, plays, and bilingual classes. The adult classes are great. I have gone to classes where I made bath bombs, took yoga classes, painted a cute wooden sign, and made my own essential oil room spray.

 

The classes were free and I was able to take all these items home for free! The classes range from teaching new skills like coding, gardening, knitting to clothing swaps and escape rooms.

There is so much available for free at libraries. Find out what is available to you and GO to the library. What a great resource that is available to us. So let’s use it! Let’s create a family culture that loves to read!

How to Save 40% on Groceries Without Coupons

How to Save 40% on Groceries Without Coupons

How to Save 40% on Groceries Without Coupons

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Can you imagine saving 40% of your monthly grocery bill every month? This isn’t just a one time deal; it is a continual monthly savings source.  Now think back to how much you typically spend on groceries in a month, what is 40% of that number? Wouldn’t it be amazing to save that much each month!   You could pay down debt, buy something you love, save for a vacation, or whatever.

So how can you save your family 40% on groceries without clipping coupons? The answer may surprise you, quit throwing away your food. I know that this is super simple, but think back to how often you throw away rotten produce, expired products, and random leftovers. If you throw away your food often, get inspired to make it a priority to not throw your food away.

The average American throws away 40% of their food according to the latest research. This percentage is insane!! That means that 40% of your grocery bill, on average is thrown in the trash. Remember what your 40% number is, now image throwing that money in the trash each month. Yikes!!

This statistic is really upsetting to me for a myriad of reasons. I hate seeing money wasted especially when there are many people going hungry in our own communities and the majority of us throw almost half of our food out. It just isn’t right.

In America alone, we waste $160 billion dollars a year on food according to an article from the NY Times. Beyond just the waste of money and food that could be given to those in need, this causes a huge environmental factor contributing to more landfills.

I believe that God has entrusted us to be good stewards of the money he gives us. I don’t want to be wasting God’s money, because all that I have is His. I want to be a generous person, but when I am not spending my money wisely, it becomes harder to be more generous.

So what can you do about it? How can you cut down on your food waste and not be a statistic? Here are some tips to cut your grocery bill down and not throw money out the window.

3 Ways to Reduce Food Waste

ONE

Don’t Over Buy Produce

How often do you throw out rotten produce? Don’t go crazy on stocking up on food you won’t go through. Evaluate what foods you throw away most. Produce spoils quickly, so don’t go crazy buying a Costco-sized box of oranges or whatever if it goes bad before you finish it. If you do buy extra berries or grapes, take the time to freeze them so you can add them to smoothies or pancakes.

TWO

Know What is in Your Fridge

It is easy to just let food sit in your fridge for waaaay too long.  I’m sure I’m not the only one who has opened a jar of moldy nastiness.  By knowing what you have in your fridge, gives you a better idea of what needs to be used up = less waste. A practical way to make this easier is to organize where things go in your fridge, use clear containers for leftovers, chose a day to go through your fridge and toss what is needing to be tossed etc.

THREE

Freeze Extras

Instead of waiting until your leftovers are beyond the point of no return, freeze them. By freezing your leftovers (and labeling well), you save yourself time and money. You did the prep work already, why wait too long and then have to throw it away.

The process of reducing your food waste isn’t going to occur overnight. It is a process. Don’t get discouraged. Be empowered with the attitude that you are not going to be ok with throwing your food out. Give yourself grace when you do have to throw something away. It is a process, and you will get there!

Knowledge is power and let’s not settle for normal!

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