With everyone staying at home, spring cleaning has taken on a whole new meaning this year. For many, the need to share limited work space has been the driving factor. But some have been seeking the sense of calm and magic that comes from controlling clutter.
Reducing the amount of “stuff” in our space especially resonates with future neighbors of Truckee River CoHousing. The opportunity to live more lightly on this planet and to reduce duplicated items are key to the CoHousing community model. (Click here to read “What is CoHousing?”)
Last year we hosted a presentation with certified KonMari Consultant Jasmine Milligan of Upside Tidying. Jasmine shared her story and taught us about the decluttering process to identify only those items that “spark joy” in your life.
Now, amid the pandemic stay-at-home orders, Jasmine assures us that “the Magic of Tidying continues!” Many people who are stuck at home with extra time are fired up to simplify their belongings, and Jasmine is still helping clients succeed via teleconference.
“You’re confronted with it 24×7 since you’re stuck at home,” she said of the current situation. “You get to really see what you surround yourself with… it becomes much more obvious”
Jasmine knows that some families are struggling to find time, especially those with kids at home. But those who are able to declutter can reap some unexpected benefits.
“It’s a great way to look at the positive… here’s everything that I do have and love during this fearful time,” suggests Jasmine.
Truckee River CoHousing member Lisa Holan agrees. The uncertainty at the beginning of the lock-down was stressful, she said, and “a clean, clear, decluttered space is way more relaxing for me.”
Lisa is no newbie to decluttering. “I read the Marie Kondo book a few years ago and it inspired me to clean. I did her method initially,” Lisa explained, and now she does just incremental tidying. “I see a corner of clutter and I just attack it.”
During the stay-at-home orders, Lisa has cleared out her kitchen, a playroom outgrown by her son, both bathrooms, and her desk area. She also revisited her clothes.
“The biggest one – the hardest one to tackle – but also the most satisfying – was my desk space,” Lisa reported. It had become a repository of stuff she didn’t know what to do with, so it was unusable as a desk.
After completely decluttering the desk, Lisa turned it into an art space. “The mental relief of getting rid of all the crap and the excitement of having a dedicated art space has been so inspiring!”
Lisa’s veteran advice is to “go through the house and get rid of all duplicates. For the kitchen that was really helpful… you can make do with one spatula, and you may find that it can be even better that way.”
“I hope to have even less stuff when we move into our CoHousing home because I’ll just be able to borrow from a neighbor or cook bigger meals in the kitchen in the common house,” Lisa explained.
Meanwhile, suddenly homeschooling two teenagers left the Castellar Family scrambling to reclaim bedroom space for daily schoolwork. “Our daughter Clara had a large desk and bookshelves buried in projects,” bemoaned Mom Helen Pelster.
Helen helped her daughter follow the KonMari process to empty her bedroom of art supplies, komono (miscellany,) and mementos. It took weeks for the teen to move one shelf of “stuff” each day to a designated spot in the family room.
Finally, over the course of a few days, Clara touched every item, keeping only those that “sparked joy,” per the KonMari method. Clara had to resist the urge to organize her art supplies before she finished purging.
Now Clara follows a rule to clear her desk at the end of every school day. Clara is enjoying the reclaimed space, but especially “the fact that I can have a little box that has all of my highlighters in rainbow order really makes me happy.”
From clearing up physical space to creating positive mental space, the benefits of “tidying up” are tangible. According to Jasmine, “the magic is very personal and individualized!”
Truckee River CoHousing members are excited to share gear, tools, work areas, and more in order to clear space and live more lightly. Visit our website (TruckeeCoHousing.com) to learn more and RSVP for a tour!
Truckee River CoHousing is a grassroots group of North Tahoe locals collaboratively building an ecologically-designed community at 10925 West River Street, in Truckee, California. The community features private homes, shared community space, and exceptional access to mountain and river open space. To learn more, visit https://www.cohotruckee.org and RSVP for a virtual site tour or one of the group’s public events.