If you’re one of the many people working from home at the moment, the days can start to blend together. We know we’re lucky to be safe inside but it’s easy to get a bit of cabin fever and forget whether it’s Tuesday or Friday or really what days are and why they used to matter so much.
It’s a good idea to have a longer-term project, with to-do lists you can check off. If it’s a project that makes a visible change in your environment, it’ll be even more satisfying. It’s spring out there – the perfect time to give your home a bit of an overhaul.
Following are some great online resources to get you started.
While some people thrive on organised chaos or Hobbit hole-style cosy clutter, others of us get overwhelmed by too much stuff. If you’re in the latter category, check out Marie Kondo’s work. Famed for her advice on thanking items for their service before donating them and her very specific folding technique, Marie Kondo’s focus is on decluttering and organising.
The KonMari method is about de-junking your life to make room for other people and more meaningful experiences. Essentially, she believes that we live with too many things, which distract and hold us back. Her big practical tip is to gather items by category, so you can see what you actually have. It’s a lot easier to get rid of an old jacket when you realise you have three better ones that you’re always meaning to wear.
To start your own declutter, here’s where you can get some tips, Kondo-style.
Listen to her book
Head over to YouTube and listen – for free – to the full audio version of her bestselling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Not only does she discuss her method but she also talks about her own life, with some interesting segments on how she used to steal and bin her family’s possessions. “I threw it out for you because you weren’t capable of doing it yourself” she said, when caught and confronted.
“In retrospect”, she muses, ‘I must admit that I was pretty arrogant.”
Watch her Netflix show
Watch her series on Netflix, Tidying up With Marie Kondo. “I’m so excited, because I love mess!” Kondo says, maniacally, while going through someone’s drawers. The premise of the series is that people invite Kondo into their homes to chuck out their stuff. They then cry over their paperwork and old t-shirts.
Visit her website
You can also visit her website. And you really should. Did you know that you could use a tuning fork to de-stress and awaken your spirit? No, nor did I. (Long pause.) Let's move on.
By the way – stay out of her online shop, which features lots of minimalist trinkets like a zen meditation egg and a flower paperweight that, if Kondo herself saw in your home, she would probably advise you to thank and throw away.
Buy her books
For another take on her best-selling book, you can buy the illustrated The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up, as well as her follow-up Spark Joy, an in-depth tidying masterclass, online at Waterstones.
If you don't need to tackle piles of stuff, you might want some inspiration for a deep clean, following by a new routine to keep on top of things. In that case, you might want to take note of Mrs Hinch. Instagram superstar Sophie Hinchcliffe is well-known for her extremely tidy home, which is decorated almost exclusively in shades of grey. Her focus is on cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning – which she calls ‘hinching’ as in Hinch Yourself Happy, the title of her first book.
Mrs Hinch’s method is simple: write a to-do list and roll up your sleeves. What's inspiring about her is that she genuinely seems to love cleaning, to the point of giving her cleaning products nicknames. Her fans say quite mad things like: "Is it sad I want a stainless steel sink so I can clean it like Mrs Hinch?" And no-one can force me to comment on that.
Check out her Instagram account
Follow her on YouTube
To get into the cleaning spirit, have a look at her YouTube channel. Don't miss this video, which illustrates her wild enthusiasm for sink cleaning. (No, really.) You can buy her beloved 'Minky' cloth and Zolflora disinfectant from Amazon in the UK.
Buy her books
Unfuck Your Habitat
If you're never going to get excited about sink cleaning or tuning forks, then maybe you need something a bit more straightforward and sweary. Unfuck Your Habitat (tagline: 'terrifying motivation for lazy people with messy homes') could be the place for you. Rachel Hoffman, the site's founder, sets out UfYH's manifesto:
"Our lives are complicated and sometimes messy, and we’re often distracted and overwhelmed and lazy. Yeah, I said it. We’re lazy. There’s no real shame in that, but it’s something to overcome, at least temporarily. Because no matter what our situations are, we deserve better than to live in filth. We deserve to live somewhere with nice things we love, and to have a clean, calm place to be, when we’re not at work or school or any of the fifty zillion other places we go."
UfYH is aimed at people who don't have an Instagram-worthy home. In fact, it can help you even if your place is in utter chaos. The plan is just to jump in. Set a timer and work at the worst of the mess for 20 minutes at a time. Then take a break.
Visit the website
Your first stop should be the website, where you can read up on subjects including why perfectionism is the enemy of getting anything done, why you should avoid marathon cleaning sessions and some good habits to get into.
Listen to her book
Buy the book in its papery version
If you're in the US, you can buy the book from Barnes & Noble.
Head over to Tumblr
There is nothing more satisfying than a before and after decluttering and cleaning photo set. The UfYH tumblr has loads of photos from people who have taken control of their homes and beaten their junk piles into submission. If they can do it, so can you.