Konmari-ing

While the whole house dealt with the flu, I pulled a mom move and binged on Netflix. I searched for something to feel productive in doing, but didn’t have the actual strength to actually be productive- I just needed to break the Law and Order cycle and watch someone else HGTV their life.

Introducing Marie Kondo.

This lady is a famous organizer, tidy and genuine old soul that delights in tidying other people’s junk… I mean… stuff… I mean… things.

She is a little out there. While I’d never understand the entirety of her method, like thanking each item before donating, I do see the logic in her non-traditional approach. Most people either by a bunch of containers first before they organize, or they go room by room. The Konmari Method is something new and intriguing- rather than do the room by room approach, she goes by category.

Intrigued, I binged the whole thing in 2 days when my flu turned into strep. ( Go me.) Her method is actually quite simple.

The five categories include:

Clothes

Books

Papers

Komono (Miscellaneous)

Sentimental

The idea is once a true cleaning, tidying and organizing is done properly, you never have to do it on such a scale again. She encourages us to follow the six rules:

RULE 01

Commit yourself to tidying up.

RULE 02

Imagine your ideal lifestyle.

RULE 03

Finish discarding first.

RULE 04

Tidy by category, not by location.

RULE 05

Follow the right order.

RULE 06

Ask yourself if it sparks joy.

She starts the first day in each home by greeting the home itself. Marie sits on the floor, skirt draped Snow White style, and reflects/ greets/thanks the home. She encourages homeowners to do the same, reassuring them this re-directs some anxiety/tenseness about cleaning into focused energy. While others find that artsy-fartsy or “out there”, I understand this to an extent. Where we live/plant our roots is a direct representation of our lives. Why wouldn’t you want to thank the place that sheltered you or your children, the place where happiness and laughter abound? A home isn’t four walls and a roof, your family is your home, but your house is at least to me, an equal contributor to your home as you yourself.

I did not kneel and thank my townhome. I did reflect on the happiness this place brought me, our first house after we married, the place I brought my baby home to, the place we relax at and feel cozy and safe in. I decided I DID need to treat my house better- sweep more often, putting things away, etc. would not only contribute to my happiness as an individual, but to the ease of our family routine and our home.

I decided to adopt the minimalist lifestyle. Less stuff means less stuff to tidy, reorganize and clean. This doesn’t just apply to our things, minimalism is a lifestyle- it means decluttering our entire lives to better suit our needs- your unbox, apps on your phone, people in our lives, work, our very thoughts can create clutter until there’s no more room to breathe.

Follow me on my journey and learn with me. I can’t do it all at once as Marie suggests, but I can modify her method to suit my needs and get started. This week, I did clothing. My clothing, my beebee’s clothing, and Dad-man’s clothing. It’s all bagged, labeled by size and ready to go in beebee’s closet. Now, to force myself to take those bags and get in the car and get to the donation center, well, I guess I need help with rule # 3.

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Eco/Baby Friendly Cleaning

Cleaning with a baby can be tough. Is it safe? Is it non-toxic? Will it leave a sticky feeling so there are footprints all over my hardwood floors? Will his pants stain because he crawled right through my freshly mopped floor like Lucifer the cat from Cinderella?

That said, there are extra questions at our house- will it hurt anyone’s skin? Will the scent linger and cause headaches? Will it burn noses and give nosebleeds?

I do use heavy duty stuff as occasion calls for it- my house is clean, I promise. Bleach has a purpose and a place here. More often than not though, I can clean just as effectively as store-bought overly fragranced cleaners with a few things from my pantry. ( Not sure why people like their house to smell like fake “fresh linen” when they aren’t doing laundry- that’s not a real smell guys… really, it’s not.)

Here are a few easy recipes I use for most of our cleaners:

Degreaser: I take a sturdy mason jar. Fill it with orange peels from lunch. Pour enough white distilled food grade vinegar to cover the top of the peels. Add cinnamon sticks and/or whole cloves for extra delightful scent. Seal and wait for 3 weeks. Pour into spray bottle and spray away in the kitchen- counter tops, stove, etc.

All natural disinfectant: Sturdy mason jar filled with lemon peels and rosemary. Infuse for 2 weeks. Fill spray bottle and spray away on high chair table, germy plastic toys, plastic yard furniture, bathroom counters, etc.

Odor eliminator: Sturdy mason jar filled with dried lavender. (Noticing a trend? I do love me a strong, sturdy mason jar, hehe.) Add vinegar, and infuse for 10 days. Strain, and dilute with 1 cup water to 2 cups solution. The vinegar smell disappears as it dries, leaving a pleasant scent behind. Good for people beds, cat beds, couch cushions, car seats.

Floor cleaner: Another mason jar, more vinegar. Fill with pine needles. Infuse 3 weeks. Safe for treated wood floors and smells great! so great, the cat leaves my living room alone for a bit, always a plus.

Bath tub cleaner: I fill an old dishwand with equal parts vinegar and blue Dawn dish soap. (Blue dawn works best.) Wipe around the tub after each soak, rinse 30 min to 1 hour later. No scrubbing if done regularly. ( I DESPISE bending over to scrub my tub. I’m… efficient with my energy at all costs. It does get scrubbed for company, but maintaining it is so much easier than sweating for an hour while I scrub, hence the wand. )

Wood floor cleaner: For a heavy duty clean on my wood floors, I use this recipe.

  • 1/2 teaspoon dish soap 
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar 
  • 2 cups water 

Combine ingredients, and mop. I use a reusable microfiber cover on my swiffer. I’ll use a real mop when the floor is hailla nasty or I know baby kind of sick or Dad-man tracked dirt.

Carpet deodorizer: (Purr-ffect for the nasty cat or dog room) I use baking soda with a few drops of rosemary or lemon scented essential oil. Sprinkle liberally and leave on the carpet as long as possible to absorb all the odors. ( Overnight is best if possible.) Vacuum up the next day. That’s it. The video link has other methods, but I have limited carpet in my house, so this is my go-to method.

Toilet Cleaner: If I’m in an -efficient-with-my-energy moode, I just sprinkle baking soda and vinegar. Let if foam, and scrub with the toilet brust. After beebee goes to bed, I’ll do it again with bleach if it’s quite stanky. If I’m feeling all prepared and Pinterest-y, I make these toilet bombs.

Let the records show I regularly have baking soda, vinegar, mason jars, essential oils, dish soap, lavender, and citrus in my house. Total cost for these recipes average out to about $.30 a jar. I feel safer, my house is cleaner, and most importantly, beebee isn’t at risk for any flare-ups with these non-toxic ingredients. Please note, these recipes are pregnancy safe as well. Happy cleaning in a lazy I mean… efficient-with-your-energy minimalist fashion.

Taking back my sanity

Thanks for joining me!

My urge to clean, de-clutter and reorganize came about quite by accident. My son was born, and because of his health needs, he required a more down to earth approach. Thanks to his dad and myself, he was blessed with ultra sensitive skin requiring daily maintenance and some rather severe intestinal issues. This meant cloth diapers, a mostly eco friendly cotton wardrobe, no dairy or overly processed food, skin friendly detergent and soap, etc. He is a very high maintenance baby.

While he is now recovering well, this meant my house was a DISASTER, a pit of disease and despair. Dust lay everywhere on things I hadn’t touched in months, trash built up on the back porch, and the litter box… well… I don’t discuss that. ( Insert internal gag and involuntary shudder here.)

My house has gone ignored for months. I of course did the bare minimum- dishes, trash, washed enough laundry Dad-man didn’t go to work nekkid, and fed everyone. Somewhere along the way, stuff piled into every nook and cranny when I wasn’t looking.

One afternoon ( or several, let’s be honest about my pace) I deep cleaned, and I realized my stuff was holding me back.

So now the mission is simple. Reuse, reduce, recycle ( or upcycle), toss, give away or sell whatever I can. I’ve always been a fan of higher end reusable products ( an actual mop or pad cleans SO much better than those wet paper refills that smell like fake flowers). Dad-man teases, calling me “a secret granola hippy girl”, but the truth is, simplifying the amount of stuff I own has given me the one thing I’ve craved most- time to slow down and enjoy my life.

“The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.”

-Socrates