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Decluttering your home: 5 alternatives to the KonMari method


These other tidying up methods could spark even more joy than the KonMari method.

Bedroom with gray tufted headboard
© Katarzyna Białasiewicz | 123rf

Ever since the KonMari craze came about, almost everyone jumped on the decluttering bandwagon and made an effort to sign up for the less-is-more lifestyle. Marie Kondo has definitely brought about a tidying up revolution in a world where we are constantly inundated with advertisements, prompting us to buy products we don’t need.

The KonMari method instils a fun element in decluttering your home with its ‘spark joy’ technique, but if that isn’t enough to ignite your passion for tidying, there are other decluttering methods for you to consider. These alternatives run the gamut – from a gamified procedure to clear out clutter to a sombre one where you sit down to consider whether your possessions are worth keeping. Take a look at the list we’ve compiled below:

1. The Minimalist Game

The Minimalist Game was introduced by Ryan Nicodemus and Joshua Fields Milburn. Popularly known as the #minsgame on Instagram, this decluttering method is a month-long process and begins on the first day of a month. This game challenges you to get rid of a number of items that corresponds to the day of the month. On the first day, you find one item to get rid of, the second day involves two items, the third day includes three items and so on. By the end of a 31-day month, you would have decluttered at least 496 items.

Read more: 6 minimalist home decor stores like MUJI

2. The One Method

©Jamie Grill/gettyimages

If the #minsgame is too challenging to keep up with, then consider the One Method. This method is similar to the Minimalist Game, where it involves getting rid of items on a daily basis but on a much smaller scale. You can begin the process any day you want – all you have to do is find one item to get rid of each day for a period of time.

The one item could be a singular item or a box of unused items. If you do this constantly for two weeks, you would have gotten rid of at least 14 items – definitely less demanding than finding fourteen items to throw away in one day. If you can adjust to practising this method, you’ll be well on your way to living a minimalist lifestyle.

Read more: Keep vs throw: Decluttering the bedroom

3. The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning

young man with a pile of folded clothes
© nito500 | 123rf

Don’t be alarmed by its gloomy name. This decluttering process was introduced by Margareta Magnusson who teaches people how to free yourself (and your family) from a lifetime of clutter. Magnusson writes about the Swedish döstädning, loosely translated to ‘death-cleaning’ that involves dealing with items that have been left behind by loved ones after their demise.

It doesn’t have to be done at one go and this method doesn’t involve getting rid of everything. This decluttering process encourages you to slowly chip away things in your life that will not be useful or meaningful to anyone else.

Identify things that are in good condition and donate them to those who have better use for said items. Only keep the things that hold significant meaning to you, such as your favourite childhood pillow, photos of loved ones or your favourite piece of jewellery into a ‘throw-away’ box. The idea of having this ‘throw-away’ box is to allow your loved ones to dispose of it after you’re gone whilst allowing you to cherish the items within it whilst you’re still around.

4. The F.A.S.T Method

Pile of compact disks
© Sergey Jarochkin | 123rf

This method was coined by Peter Walsh, an Australian-American professional organiser. F.A.S.T does not require you to speed through decluttering; instead, it is an acronym to be memorised when decluttering:

F: Fix a time

A: Anything not used within the last 12 months

S: Someone else’s stuff

T: Trash.

Firstly, it’s important to schedule a time each week and focus on decluttering items; you could set aside one hour each Saturday to identify items you may no longer need. Next comes the ‘A’ component which involves identifying anything that has not been used in the past year – chances are that you may not need it at all, so be brave and bin it. Then comes the ‘S’ which signifies someone else’s stuff.

You will be surprised at the number of items that you have in your room that does not belong to you. It could be your friend’s jacket that you borrowed during a movie that you forgot to return or gifts from an acrimonious ex. Return that jacket and get rid of stuff that brings back memories best forgotten. Take pride in the number of items that you dispose of during your cleansing spree and give yourself a big pat on the back for every bag of trash you throw out.

5. The Closet Hanger Method

© Getty

Popularised by Oprah, this closet hanger method is simple and genius, really. It involves switching the direction of your closet hangers so that they face back-to-front. For the next three months, when you take an item from the closet, hang it back the right way when you return it to the closet. Make sure you do this to the items that you have worn and not something you tried on and decided against wearing.

By the end of the three month period, you’ll be in for quite a surprise when you see the number of back-to-front hangers you will find. It is then that you should seriously consider giving away or eliminating those pieces that haven’t been worn regularly. This way, you’ll be able to maximise space in your closet and make room for better fashion choices.

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