The Dust Devils Blog

JULY 2021

TIPS TO KEEP YOUR HOME SMELLING NICE AND FRESH

One of our favorite things here at The Dust Devils is leaving our customers with a fresh smelling home. Of course, there are days that our team is not there, so we’d like to share some easy tips that you can do to help keep your home smelling nice. 

Candles, diffusers and fragrance sprays can do the trick, but spraying heavy fragrances is not always the solution. The strong smells can be a bit overwhelming and can just mask the odors. Try these techniques to help eliminate, instead of hide those bad smells. 

BAKING SODA 

Sprinkle a bit in the bottom of each trash can and keep an open box in your fridge to help absorb and neutralize odors

USE VINEGAR

Using vinegar when cleaning is helpful as it serves as a natural deodorizer.

Try this easy DIY fabric spray:

Mix ½ cup of white vinegar, half cup of rubbing alcohol, 1 teaspoon of cornstarch, and about 20 drips of your favorite essential oil. Be sure to shake before use each time, and just mist over clothing or upholstery. 

OPEN THE WINDOW

Bring in some fresh air and let the breeze help out your home. Having those open windows may even lift your mood a little!

ESSENTIAL OILS

Diffusers are a great way to add nice smells to your home, but you don’t necessarily need a diffuser in order to put essential oils to work. 

Try a few drops in the center of your toilet paper rolls to keep the bathrooms smelling nice, or  add some essential oils to your air conditioner or furnace filters to keep good smells throughout your home. 

COFFEE BEANS

Fill a small jar with coffee beans and place a tealight in the center. When lit, your home will smell delicious!

PUT YOUR KITCHEN TO WORK

Baking some of your favorite smelling spices on low will also fill your home with delicious smells, and you can even use the toasted spices in your cooking.

Try microwaving a little vanilla extract and water for a quick scent boost!

You can fill a pot with water and throw in some herbs, spices and citrus peels, and simmer on your stove. Your home will smell wonderful!

We hope you found some of these tips helpful. We’re also working to create our own signature scent, and would love to hear if you have a favorite smell that you would like for us to consider. Feel free to share with us on our Facebook page!

MAY 2021

LET THE SUNSHINE IN! 5 WINDOW CLEANING TIPS

BY Melissa Meyers

Spring has arrived along with flowers, plants, and more frequent visits from the sun! 

You may also notice that dust and grime has accumulated on your windows over the colder months, leaving you with a blurry, dirty view.

This month, we have a few window cleaning tips to help clear up your windows and provide a nice view to let in those beautiful sun rays! 

USE A CLOUDY DAY TO YOUR ADVANTAGE

You might think a sunny day would be the best time to tackle cleaning your windows. However, the sun shining through may cause the glass to dry too quickly, which will result in streaks. 

Instead, use those clouds to help avoid streaks. Don’t see a cloudy day in the forecast? You can also start cleaning those panes once the sun has set. Things will dry slowly, leaving things streak-free.

TRY A MICROFIBER CLOTH

Many people like to use newspapers or paper towels when drying off their window panes after a washing, but give a microfiber cloth a try instead. 

They are more absorbent, and can also help with those pesky streaks and spots. They won’t leave fibers or smudges behind, and they won’t scratch your glass. 

Plus, they are washable and reusable!

CLEAN FROM TOP TO BOTTOM

Start by wiping away the dirt and cobwebs that have collected in the crevices. If your vacuum has a dusting attachment, let that do some of the work for you.

Cleaning solutions can drip, so be sure to start at the top and work your way down to the bottom. 

Be sure to protect any wood surrounding the windows for drips that could cause damage as well. 

GET BACK TO THE BASICS

You don’t have to use a strong smelling cleanser or chemical to get good results. A little soap and water can get the job done. 

Try adding about two tablespoons of vinegar to a bucket of warm water to help clear the way for a good view!

DON’T FORGET YOUR BLINDS OR CURTAINS

Make sure to remove your blinds or curtains to get full access to your window surfaces. Now is a great time to wipe down your blinds, or give your curtains a good clean. 

Try putting your blinds in the bathtub with some warm water and dish soap and let them soak while you clean the windows. Rinse them off, and wipe away any excess dirt or dust. 

We hope that you will find these tips helpful! 

If you don’t feel like doing the work yourself, you can always hire The Dust Devils to help you with your interior window cleaning. You can add this service to one of your regular cleanings, just give us a call!


APRIL 2021

HOW TO MAKE YOUR HOME STAND OUT DURING A VIRTUAL HOUSE TOUR

by Julia Weaver

https://www.redfin.com/blog/how-to-make-your-home-stand-out-during-a-virtual-tour/


The real estate industry has been shifting to a digital landscape over the years, but no one expected the digital revolution to happen so quickly. In 2020, 63% of homebuyers across the US housing market made an offer on a house sight-unseen, thanks to virtual house tours. Even though it’s a seller’s market, it’s just as important to make your home shine on virtual house tours so you can sell your house for top dollar.

Virtual house tour options, such as 3D walkthroughs and video-chat tours, allow potential buyers to still interact with agents and explore every nook and cranny of your home, almost as if they were touring in-person. This means you can also attract homebuyers no matter where they reside. Maybe a potential buyer is currently living in Atlanta, GA and is looking to buy a home in Portland, OR – they can still virtually tour your home, no matter the distance. To stand out against the competition and draw in more buyers, here are 8 tips to make your home shine during a virtual house tour.

1. ENHANCE YOUR SPACE WITH THE RIGHT LIGHTING


Lighting is an essential component when it comes to creating an eye-catching and camera-ready atmosphere, and this is especially true during a virtual house tour. “Your home will look its best on camera if you film in the middle of the day. Keep your window shades open and bring in as much natural light as possible to help the room feel larger and look brighter” says Makayla Zurn, the Creative Production Manager at Redfin. “You can even try layering light by turning on lamps and accent lights to create a warm and cozy atmosphere. Just be sure to avoid artificial lighting that overpowers the space too much. “

2. TRANSFORM ROOMS WITH THE PERFECT PAINT COLOR


Whether you have faded and scuffed walls in the living room, or a bright orange accent wall in your kid’s room, take this opportunity to repaint the interior walls and opt for a camera-friendly shade. This is an easy and inexpensive fix that 68 percent of realtors recommend. “Lighter, neutral paint colors show best in video while darker colors tend to make spaces look smaller than they actually are,” says Zurn. “If you’re showcasing a room with darker paint it would be helpful to note the measurements of that particular space in the description.”

3. CLEAR YOUR HOME OF CLUTTER


During a virtual house tour, potential homebuyers will try to imagine your home as their own. This can be difficult if you have areas in your home where things have slowly piled up over the years. But the piles of paper, boxes of toys, and mounds of clothes will surely leave the wrong impression on potential buyers. “Personal items can take a buyer’s attention away from what you really want them to focus on, the features of your home!” says Zurn, “So clear off your kitchen and bathroom countertops, make the beds, and tidy up.” Maybe you have a pile of paperwork in the kitchen, excessive cords in your home office, or perhaps a box filled with board games in the living room. Find permanent homes for items that are sitting out, or donate things you no longer need.

To create a more open and calming atmosphere, try removing an item or two before taking photos and filming. One trick is to clear off any surfaces and then add items back one-by-one until the desired look is achieved. However, decluttering can be an overwhelming task for one individual. Consider hiring a professional to help sort through your belongings.

4. GET YOUR HOME LOOKING SPOTLESS


Cleaning is one of the simplest ways to create an appealing interior. Potential homebuyers will be able to detect a clean home from a dirty one, even over a virtual house tour. Washing mirrors and windows, vacuuming hardwood floors, deep-cleaning carpets, and organizing your closets are just a few tasks that will make your home look more attractive.

The potential homebuyer may even ask the agent to describe what they’re experiencing on the property, including certain odors (pets, kids, food, and other conditions that can make your home smell) and the cleanliness of the home. So make every inch of your home shine, from floor to ceiling. If you don’t have the time to do the job right, hire a professional cleaning service.

5. STAGE FOR A PICTURE-PERFECT HOME


Staging is now more important than ever. In fact, according to a recent survey, 83% of buyers’ agents agreed that a staged home helped their buyer picture themselves living there. Presenting a well-maintained home and giving a positive first impression is important when selling your house, so consider hiring a professional home stager to attract more buyers and even increase your sale price.

Begin staging rooms that could influence the buyer’s decision, including the entryway, living room, main bathroom, primary bedroom, and kitchen. Remove or rearrange furniture to make the space appear larger, add an indoor garden to bring in natural elements, and arrange decor in odd numbers to achieve balance. To help potential buyers picture themselves calling your house home, remove any family photos, knickknacks, or keepsakes.

6. HAVE PROFESSIONAL PHOTOS TAKEN


Listing photos will be the first thing a potential homebuyer sees of your home and may determine whether they request a virtual house tour. Poorly-lit pictures captured on an iPhone won’t bring in potential buyers, so make your home stand out from the competition with professional photos.

Real estate photographers know the correct lighting, angles, and minor details that give a much better depiction of the home, capture its selling points, and attract the attention of potential homebuyers. In fact, research shows that professional photos can help sell your house faster and for more money. If you want to showcase your entire property, capture a bit of the neighborhood, or highlight the breathtaking view, consider having aerial photos taken to offer a unique angle of your home.

7. HIGHLIGHT YOUR HOME’S BEST FEATURES


What characteristics of your home attracted you to it in the first place? Was it the new kitchen appliances, extensive breakfast bar, large outdoor space, or simply the open floor plan? Whatever it may be, it’s likely that your favorite features of the home will be what attracts potential homebuyers as well. Be sure to give special attention to these features in photos and during a virtual house tour.

8. SPRUCE UP THE EXTERIOR


Enhancing your curb appeal is just as important as sprucing up the interior of your home. A well-maintained landscape, lawn, and porch can make a great impression on potential homebuyers and can add perceived value to your home. Remove any dead debris, mow your lawn, and trim the plants or shrubs lining your property. Consider re-staining your front porch, pressure washing the siding of your home, and adding flowerpots to enhance the entryway. And if you have any outdoor furniture, be sure to stage it as you would with your furniture inside.

Virtual house tours are now more important than ever. Be sure to take time and prepare your home for showing just as you would for an in-person tour, and show your home in the best light.

March 2021

SPRING! CLEAN!

It’s that time of year again! We’ve been waiting for months to feel the sun on our skin and to see the spring’s blooms start to emerge. We’ve been stuck at home longer than normal over the past year, and the need to intensely clean our homes may be a little more apparent this spring. 

So how do we ‘spring clean’ our homes, and what’s the difference from a regular routine cleaning? We routinely dust surfaces in our homes, clean the bathrooms and kitchen and sweep and mop the floors, but what about the inside of your appliances, your drapes and shower curtains that have been hanging, unwashed for at least a year or more? Your dusty and grimey doors and baseboards? Your windows? The comforter, shams and pillows that have been on your bed for awhile? Pick a day to do all of these things that don’t get the love in your regular cleaning routine. 

To set yourself up for success

Don’t worry about trying to get your entire home spring-cleaned in one day. Our energy is higher when we get started, but by the time we’ve worked ourselves about a third of the way down the list of things we want to do, that energy has been zapped, and many will just give up or rush through the rest, not giving areas proper attention. For this task, it may be best to just focus on the things that don’t get cleaned in your regular cleaning routine. If you dust your home every week or every other week, leave that task for the next cleaning. For now, make a list of things that don’t normally get done, and map out a course of action. 

Start by: 

  • Set the self-clean function on your oven, if it has one. This won’t be all you have to do to clean the oven, but it’ll make your job much easier once it’s run this cycle, and it’ll help you get the oven more clean than if you hadn’t run it. The time that this takes varies from oven to oven, but it’s often a couple hours, so do this first or the night before. 
  • Remove the bedding from all the beds in your home, remove your shower curtains and drapes- basically anything that needs to be laundered. Pile like-items and start a wash cycle. While your mattresses are bare, sprinkle baking soda on your mattresses, allowing it to soak up any funk while you move onto the next task. 
  • If your blinds are pretty dirty, remove them and put them in hot, soapy water in your bathtub. Allow them to soak a bit to remove stubborn stuck-on grime. This shouldn’t have to be done too often, but if they’ve been neglected for awhile, this is an easier way to get them cleaned. Go handle another task and come back to rinse then wipe them down. Allow your blinds to completely dry before hanging them back in your window. If they aren’t too bad but need cleaning more than just a simple dusting, spray an all-purpose cleaner on a microfiber cloth and wipe both sides.
  • Clean the inside and outside of your windows. It’s best to start on a shady side of the house, as the sun makes it easier to leave streaks. 
  • Empty all trash cans, then wash the inside and outsides of your trash cans and wastebaskets. Place them outside to dry while you move on. 
  • Use an extension duster to dust the hard-to-reach places that often get neglected. Look up- what do you see that you normally don’t think about? Ceiling vents a little dusty? Be sure to get your fan blades, tops of door trim and doors (the doors get dusty, too!), corners, fixtures, etc.
  • Wipe down your doors. The trim and edges often get forgotten. Wipe down your baseboards. You can go from room to room, working your way around from the door, then move on to the next room.
  • Switch out loads of laundry as they finish. Before putting bedding back on your beds, vacuum up the baking soda you sprinkled on your mattresses. 
  • Remove dishes and pots and pans from your cabinets and drawers, and vacuum these areas. If necessary, use an all-purpose cleaner and a few microfiber towels. Now is a great time to wash any dishes that maybe got a little funky in your cabinets if you haven’t used them for awhile. 
  • Once your dishes are clean, clean the inside of your dishwasher. There are cleaning solutions and pods specially formulated for this. You can also run an empty cycle with white vinegar. 
  • When you put your dishes, pots and pans and lids back in your cabinets, be sure to organize them. This includes that cabinet for tupperware (is that still what we call it?). 
  • If your cabinets don’t go all the way to the ceiling, this is a great time to vacuum or wipe down the tops of your cabinets. Use a ladder (don’t climb on your counters) and be careful!
  • Oven- Return to the oven if the self-cleaning cycle has run. Be sure the oven has had a chance to cool off a bit. If you prefer a more green-cleaning, try making a vinegar and baking soda paste, allow it to sit on problem areas a bit and wipe clean. If the chemicals don’t bother you and maybe you need a deeper clean, a product like EasyOff works really well, but it can get VERY fumey. For super stubborn stuck-on grime, a razor may be used- but VERY careful with this. Always make sure the surface you are scraping is wet, and use your razor at a 45 degree angle. 
  • Refrigerator- Remove everything from your fridge, pull out the shelves and bins, and soak in soapy water in your sink. Wipe down the inside of the fridge, and don’t forget the condiment area- this may be messier than anything else in the fridge. After wiping down the drawers and shelves, make sure everything is dry before you put it back in the fridge and reload. 
  • The front door- Many of us are used to going in and out of our homes through the garage or a side/back door, so you may not notice how cobwebby and dirty your front door is. You can use a broom or an extension duster to knock down cobwebs. 
  • Bookshelves- Dusting usually includes dusting around books, but once a year, it’s a good idea to remove all the books on your shelves and dust/wipe down those shelves. 
  • Washing Machine- Once all of your bedding, drapes and shower curtains are washed, run a wash cycle with vinegar and hot water. Once drained, wipe dry the inside of your washing machine.
  • Microwave- This should be a weekly or biweekly cleaning item, but if it’s been neglected for awhile, it might need to be added to this list. If you have a lot of stuck-on mess, try microwaving a mug of soapy water for a minute to loosen the gunk on the inside of your microwave then wipe it clean and dry.
  • Showers- If you are regularly cleaning your showers, there shouldn’t be much buildup. But if you haven’t been intentional in keeping these areas maintained, or if you have really hard water, you may need a little extra elbow-grease and special tools. We like to use Bio-Clean. It’s safer than alternative acid-based cleaners and does a great job. Allow the chemicals to do some of the work for you. If you still have a lot of buildup after using this, try a couple applications. If you still are having issues, depending on the surface of your shower, you may be able to use a razor- again, on a wet surface and at a 45 degree angle. Don’t ever use this on fiberglass or softer surfaces. It can work well on glass and some tile surfaces, but test a small, inconspicuous area, or to play it safe, don’t use the razor and just use a cleaner like Bio-Clean regularly. 
  • Put everything back! Re-line your trash cans and waste baskets and put them back. Re-hang your blinds and curtains, and sleep well in your fresh, clean bedding after a hard-day’s work!

This is a pretty tough day, so it may be best to pick and choose the things that very rarely get done and do those first. The things that get cleaned on a regular basis can be skipped for the next time you do a routine cleaning. Or if this day is just too much, The Dust Devils can do most of the things on this list!


February 2021

Making Valentine’s Day Special at Home

As most of the nation is approaching a year of staying home, many couples are finding more strain on their relationships than before. More folks are working from home and spending way more time together, although this time isn’t necessarily quality time. It seems there’s never-ending laundry, dishes, house cleaning, meal preparation, and while resentment over the division of labor in a household has always been existent for most families, more time together in this environment is causing that strain to be at much higher levels than before. 

Whether there is [more] strain in your relationship, or perhaps you just want to make this Valentine’s Day more special, we have some tips. 

10 Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day at Home

  1. Get your favorite takeout and pull out the nice tablecloth, candles, and flowers. Whether your takeout is Thai or burgers, pull out the nice dishes, and make a special setting. Create some ambiance and a playlist of mutual favorites. Put down your phones and be present for each other.
  1. Make dinner together. Whether you’ve been ordering more take-out or preparing more meals at home, making your dinner together is a great bonding experience. As above, break out that playlist and crack open a bottle of wine to share while you work together in the kitchen. If you’re already doing a lot of cooking at home, choose something a little more special for this night. If you’re at a loss on a meal idea, try to recreate your first dinner together.
  1. Dance! Use your living room as your own private dance floor. Get close, turn up the tunes and be present in your own little world together. This is especially special if this isn’t something you normally do together. 
  1. Plan your next vacation. We might be stuck at home now, but the world, and our lives, will open back up. One of the most fun parts of taking a vacation is planning it. Whether you are able to go on vacation or not, planning a great vacation can be a lot of fun. 
  1. Handle a chore that the other always takes care of. Is your partner always cleaning the house? You clean the house instead. Is your partner the one who usually does the dishes? Or the laundry? You do it instead- as a surprise. If your partner does this for you, don’t be upset if he/she didn’t do it as well as you normally do. Done is better than perfect, and the intention is usually pretty solid. You can also hire someone to do this work for you (like hiring The Dust Devils to clean the house).
  2. Get dressed up for each other. You may not be leaving the house, but that doesn’t mean you can’t spruce yourself up a little more than usual. We all usually feel a little better when we’re looking our best.
  1. Go for a little walk- and hold hands. How long has it been since you and your partner held hands? Sometimes we forget this simple act that can produce a connection, whether it feels small or large. 
  1. Movie night at home. Don’t spare any of the extras. Most households have been watching movies at home a little more than usual; however, don’t spare the big, buttery popcorn, movie theatre-sized sweet snacks, soda, etc. Turn off the lights, grab your goodies, and pretend you’re at the theatre. 
  1. Make a flip deck of 52 Reasons you love your partner. This is a simple craft that carries so much personalized meaning. Take a deck of cards, write reasons you love your partner (or things you love about him/her) on cardstock, and glue them to each card. Punch two holes in each card, and place each card in book binding rings. See a tutorial at http://www.52reasonsblue.com/ 
  1. Make little ‘I Owe You’ coupons for your partner that he/she can cash in. You can make these yourself, or if you’re not too crafty or don’t have the time, you can download free templates. These can be coupons for: breakfast in bed, wash your car, make your favorite meal, a beer, etc. 

We will be selling gift cards at 10% off from February 1st- February 12th. If all else fails, you can always purchase a gift card! 

January 2021

HABITS 

What a year 2020 was. I’m sure most of us are glad to see that door close; However, if we’re at all realistic, we know that 2021 will carry over some of the challenges of 2020. Just because we’re still amidst a pandemic doesn’t mean that we can’t work on what we can control. And what better way to focus on what we can control than to evaluate and work on our habits? 

Whether it’s the bad habits that we’ve allowed to creep into our lives or whether it’s good habits we’d like to adopt, there’s no better time than the start of a new year to make that happen. And when there is a flurry of things we can’t control affecting our lives, it’s more important to focus on the controllables. 

How to Successfully Start Good Habits 

If you’ve ever read the book Atomic Habits by James Clear, this will sound very familiar. There’s a lot of info out there on habit formation and sticking with those good habits. Many of the principles are the same. 

Make it Easy

Make it Rewarding

Make it Repeatable

If you want to start out by grabbing the bull by the horns, you may want to hold your horses just a moment. Great, sustainable habits don’t happen at the drop of a hat, and they do take real work and time to keep them consistent. 

Making Your Habits Easy 

Maybe running a mile every day may turn you into the runner that you wish to be. But if you’re not coming from a place of that level of time and activity every day, running a mile every day may not be a realistic starting point. Maybe for you, shooting for 10,000 steps each day is that starting point. Maybe it’s committing to a 10-minute walk each day at first. Make sure that your new habit is easy to do consistently. We’re not looking to go all-out for three weeks only to ditch the habit completely. Your motivation may fade when it’s too rainy, too cold, your muscles hurt and the motivation to hit snooze seems to be a no-brainer.

Remember why you want to adopt the habit. This can be your answer to a lack of motivation. Post a sticky note in a place you look every day. Remind yourself from time to time why you want to develop said habit. The easier it is to take action on a new habit, the easier it is to create a consistent routine around it.

Making Your Habits Rewarding

There’s some real power in rewarding yourself for sticking with your new habits. As soon as your motivation fades, it’s so much more difficult to continue the new habit. Aside from reminding yourself of your ‘Why’ behind the habit, rewards can really help push you into more consistent behavior.

There are many ways you can reward yourself. Just make sure your rewards don’t cancel out the benefit of the habit. For example, if your habit supports your goal of losing weight, a cupcake may not be a good reward. Perhaps you can treat yourself to a bubble bath and a glass of wine for sticking with your habit for a week. Or maybe your reward for exercising is getting to listen to your favorite podcast while you do it.

Make Your Habits Repeatable 

Quite possibly the easiest way to form a new habit is to attach it to a pre-existing habit or environment. 

Cues– Use your environment to remind you of your habit in a consistent manner. Cues will not only remind you of your habit, they will direct you on when to execute. Your cue may be your walking/running shoes laid out right before you go to bed. When you wake up, your shoes will be your cue, and they’re ready for you to put on. Another cue can be placing your journal next to your coffee pot so that while your coffee is brewing, you may use your journal to plan out your day or reflect on what you’re grateful for, if either of those are habits you are wishing to enforce. 

Habit Stacking– Another great way to make your habits repeatable is to stack your habits. Attach a new habit to a pre-existing habit. We all have some level of habits, even if you don’t feel you have much of a routine. Everyone (hopefully!) wakes up every day. That’s part of your routine. Are you trying to create a habit of making your bed every day? This is a habit I adopted years ago, and I do that as soon as my feet hit the floor after waking up each morning. 

You can combine cues and habit stacking for extra help. Your shoes are in the doorway, ready for your walk or run. You can stack that habit to brushing your teeth. As soon as you’re done brushing your teeth, you put on your running/walking shoes. 

If you want to walk your dog every day, the new habit may be stacked to returning home from work. Use your cues. Try placing the dog’s leash in the same place you put your keys when you get home. 

Summary 

Habits can be hard to make habitual. Motivation wanes, the day gets too busy, or you may just forget. 

  1. Remember your why when you find you’re losing motivation. If this happens, write it on a sticky note and put it somewhere you look every day. 
  2. Make it EASY. Small, tiny habits lead to big change, even if it doesn’t seem like it at first. If it’s too complicated, you’re not likely to stick with it, especially on days that tend to be more difficult. Create cues that remind you to execute your new habit, and remember your why.
  3. Make it rewarding. Looking forward to a reward, even something small, can help give you a push to do it. 
  4. Make it repeatable. Habits form by repetition. Use habit stacking to stack your habit with a pre-existing habit/routine. Eventually, you won’t even have to think about it. Utilize cues that push you into your new habit. 
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January 2020

If you’ve been following us in our Dust Devils Facebook group, you may have noticed that we’ve been sharing some fun organizing hacks. We thought we’d kick off our blog by sharing some of our favorite methods to keep things organized and tidy.

We’ve likely all heard of Marie Kondo’s KonMari method of organizing and tidying up. And if you look for organizational tips on the internet, at least 80% of your results are likely to produce some form of KonMari. What is the KonMari method, and is this the only way to organize? 

First off, of course this isn’t the only method for organization. While an internet search for organizational tips, etc. will bring up mostly this method, before a few years ago, most people had never heard of KonMari. 

For those of you who have perhaps been living under a rock (or let’s face it- too busy!), Marie Kondo wrote the book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and has a show on Netflix “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo.” Kondo is a Japanese organizational expert who advises keeping only things in the home that “spark joy.”

Her method does require some hefty time upfront, an open mind, and a willingness to let go. KonMari is a lifestyle, and for it to work for you, you must really work at it and allow yourself to believe in it.

It’s not just five minutes here and there, once or twice a day. It’s not just organizing your “stuff.” It’s letting go of things that don’t contain mental, sentimental value. Letting go of things that don’t bring you joy. No more “I might need that one day” and finding a place for all of your stuff. Read a quick synopsis below of the KonMari method, how to maintain order in your home and tips, tricks and hacks to keep things organized.

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Quick Run-Down on the KonMari Method: 

1. First, you must prepare, both physically and mentally. Ideally, this should be done in one go, so be sure to block off an entire day. You’ll also want to prepare by mentally imagining your life not bogged down by clutter.

2.  The next step will be to go through everything. You’ll decide whether you really need to keep or discard each item. Rather than working room by room, we will work by category. You may have similar items in different rooms, and the way we’ll get through each category will be to grab all of those items to work on at once.

Start with clothing. Grab all articles of clothing. Pick up each item. Does it spark joy for you? Do you really enjoy this article of clothing? Are you keeping it because you have it? Are you keeping it just because it fits? If it doesn’t spark joy for you, place in a discard pile. Kondo will tell you to thank the item, thank it for serving you and let it go.

While I feel gratitude is powerful, I, personally, don’t feel the need to thank my belongings. But you do what you do. 

Do this for each article of clothing, then move on to books, then papers, then miscellaneous (break down into smaller categories like kitchen utensils, small appliances, office supplies, etc) and lastly, sentimental items/mementos. Mementos are saved for last, as it’s easy to fall down the rabbit hole of remembering the sentiment of the item.  

3. Now that we know what we will be keeping, we can begin to really organize our items. We can’t organize before we decide what we won’t be keeping. 

How to keep your home tidy and organized once you’ve decluttered

Decluttering can be exhausting, both physically and mentally. You’ve put in all this time, but to keep your home tidy, you’ll need to stay on top of a few things. The best way to maintain your tidy home is to build and maintain organizational habits. Here are a few: 

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1.  Make your bed- right when you get up. An unmade bed gives the illusion of a dirty room, even if the rest of the room is clean. Conversely, making your bed will make your bedroom look just a little more clean, even if it’s a mess. Make your bed the moment you get up. It should be pretty quick.

If this is too much when you wake up, or if your partner is still asleep in the bed, then make sure the habit of making your bed is consistent. It’s easiest to build habits in chunks together. I wake earlier than my partner, so once he’s awake, I brush my teeth then make the bed (then continue a small string of other habits).

Making your bed will help you feel a sense of order that carries on throughout the day. That’s why making your bed when you wake up can be very useful.

2. Put everything away after you use it. This seems pretty obvious, but it’s easy to get off track. Whether you leave things out because you’re in a hurry or just procrastinating and lazy if you put things back where they go after you use them, you’re creating a habit of this, and both cleaning and tidying up will be much quicker and effortless.

If your home is constantly tidy and organized, you’ll feel better and more organized, mentally. Creating a routine of instantly putting things back where they belong will eliminate the need to actually spend real time tidying up.

 3. Do dishes right after you use them. If you primarily use a dishwasher, then rinse your dishes and put them in the dishwasher right away. Be sure to empty the dishwasher when it’s done- all at once. Make a rule that clean dishes don’t get left in the dishwasher. When you pick clean dishes out of the dishwasher without unloading it, you’re only solidifying a bad habit.

If you don’t use a dishwasher, or if you used a dish that doesn’t go in the dishwasher, wash it right away. Doing this takes a few seconds per item, and washing dishes is no longer a chore. 

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4. Before you leave a room, be sure to scan the room for any items that belong in the room you’re going to. Going to the kitchen to grab a glass of water? Scan the room you’re in to see if there’s anything that needs to go to the kitchen. If I’m leaving my desk to grab a glass of water from the kitchen, I’m going to grab the mug from my morning coffee and wash it as soon as I get to the kitchen. It takes a few seconds. 

5. Take a few minutes each day to tidy the area you’re leaving for the night. Whether you work from home or work in an office, take a few minutes before ditching your desk to put everything back where it belongs. If you do this throughout the day, then it should just take a second.

6. If you just finished dinner, wash your plate and quickly wipe down the counter. When you come back in the morning, the clean and tidy kitchen will give you a good start in the morning. 

Check back soon for some tips to help you stay organized! 

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