Don’t Organise, Tidy Up

If you have been following my blog, you would know that I am a “seasoned home mover“. I have been moving home almost every two years for the past eight years. You would also have read about my crazy outlet shopping trips when I was in the US for conferences as the stuff at the US outlets are easily 30% cheaper compared to buying in Singapore. I ended up buying lots of stuff that I do not need nor use.

Every home moved, I spent time organising, giving away some of my stuff and bought stackable plastic boxes to store the rest of my stuff. I am so good at storing stuff that I forgot what I have in storage and bought the same stuff again when I need to use them.

All the organising I did in that eight years was just a temporary solution. I kept decluttering and organising and also bought more. This organising finally stopped when I came across the KonMari method. I did a tidying marathon and was liberated from my clutter. So what is wrong with organising?

Organising is keeping stuff that we rarely use. Organising is keeping our stuff on shelves or cupboards. Organising is purchasing storage boxes to store our stuff in our store room or rent a storage space to store them or move to a bigger apartment that we may store stuff that we do not need nor use. Resulting in spending more time and money in stuff that we have no use of.

Organising is a temporary measure, as the problem of lack of space to store our stuff will not go away as long as we continue to buy more stuff. If we need to find additional storage space or buy storage boxes to store our stuff, it simply means that we have too much stuff that we do not need nor use. We should consider giving or selling them away, give our stuff a new lease of life by giving to others who need or use them more than we do.

Start your tidying marathon by category. Remove everything of one category from the shelf, cabinet and store room and place them on the floor. Pick and keep items that spark joy and serve a purpose.

Discard everything and pick what to keep. Every item that we keep should bring joy and serve a purpose. The rest of the stuff that we discard, we could either give them to family and friends, charity or sell them online. Remove the stuff that distracts us from living our life. Have three different bags ready, sort by what to sell, give or trash.

Do not hide, keep things openly. Put everything in the open that you will use them.

Target to finish the tidying marathon within a certain number of days. Stay focus. After completing one category, start the next category. Tidying by category provides us with a full view of what we have by category. I took two full days to complete my tidying marathon and feel liberated. I consider myself very efficient as I was rather ruthless in discarding my stuff. Others may take four to seven days depending if they are tidying their own stuff or for the family.

I used to organise and declutter every three to six months. Since my last tidying marathon in December 2016, I have not spent time organising nor decluttering as everything that I have are stuff that I use regularly.

Always remind ourselves the reason for tidying and reducing our possessions is so we have time and resources to focus and do what matters to us.

Happy tidying and discarding. You may get some money back just like me.


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20 thoughts on “Don’t Organise, Tidy Up

  1. Love your blog. My kitchen cabinets are set and easy to maintain. No junk food and only items that I will use regularly. Just enough pots and pans, dishes. My Mom had around 40 coffee cups in several cabinets – never having that many people at one time. I kept enough to have for each family member who visits – 5 of my favorite. There was a leak in my roof which meant the bins in the attic came downstairs. This part was great because it resulted in donating quite a bit. Now mainly Christmas bins (they was decluttered as well) and some hiking items. The attic is clean and in flow. DVDs are alphabetized and only those I love remain. Now to tackle the books once again – I do love having a library so I am thinking of keeping those I love and having them all in one room instead of shelves throughout the house. I have read Marie Kondo’s books and watch her show on Netflix. The other day I pulled out my dresser drawers and folded the clothing like she does. All clothing in the closet is hanging by color within each color the clothes hang by texture – thinnest to heaviest for the winter months. Those areas are in flow as is the bedrooms – only bed, dresser, end stand and no clutter. Great space for reading and sleeping. Now to figure out what to do with the living and dining room. Not overly cluttered but still do not feel in flow. One day at a time and it will eventually get there. Maybe its time to move. When I move it is easier to release as when I relocated from upstate NY to southern CA. I only had a very small van carrying my items. Everything in my house was sold, donated, or tossed. Sentimentality went out the window for that trip. Love your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing. I accumulated lots of stuff when I lived in a bigger apartment. I have been downsizing and have finally settled in an apartment of less than 870 sq feet. Got of rid of lots of stuff and glad I did. Happy tidying your home.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I used to buy cutlery and pots whenever there are sales and also gifts from Cold Storage and FairPrice. Glad I have given them away to my family members who have better use of them. No more buying because they are cheap and look good. 😉


  2. Audrey, Great advice! It’s so freeing to get rid of unnecessary things. Over the years, I’ve systematically paired down. Now, I have only what I need and use. A neighbor stopped by recently and kept asking, “where’s your stuff?” It seemed disturbing to her that there wasn’t a lot of “stuff” laying around. LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I recently picked up the KonMari method. I explained it to my husband and talked about why I am getting rid of some things…like my car. We have three cars and my car is on the last of its legs. I’m ok with letting it go.

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  4. That is true. When one see the sales… we turn into birds… “cheap cheap”…. heheh..
    So the way for birds not to pick up stuff in our opinion is to not to be tempted. Only head out to the outlet malls when one is prepared to be a bird!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol. Well, I just got back from US and shopped at the outlets in SJ and LV. I bought quite a bit of stuff but they are things I planned to buy. I bought because I need to use them and they are of good quality and value for money and not because they are cheap. In short, buy what you need not because they are cheap. Don’t be a bird.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lol. If I do not need to buy something, I would not have gone to the outlets. No justification needed. Once again, buy what you need and not because they are cheap.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s true. But you see, it probably is also about self control. One can window shop too! And it was also the easiest place to park, get a place to meet up old friends for a drink/meal!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. This is great advice on every level. I still have too much clutter three years after I sold my house (I’m retired and having an extended “holiday” until I find a place where I want to settle). I move further down the coast every year and packing up / unpacking is still a pain in the neck.

    Liked by 1 person

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