The basic rules of her system are as follows:
- First- visualize what you want to achieve by doing this, and then keep asking WHY? until you have the deep reasoning and motivation for you to do this. I just did this and had some eye-opening answers.
- Do one category of items at a time (not by room).
- Put all items of a category in one spot (floor if necessary) and do all at once- so you can see just how much you really have. You can sub-divide into smaller categories if really necessary.
- Do the categories and sub-categories in order (see her book for specifics- but in general, clothing, books, papers, and other).
- Touch each item in the category and hold it if possible. They are 'dormant' until you 'wake them up' by really holding them individually.
- Focus on what to keep, not what to get rid of. Items that 'spark joy' can be kept, all others cannot.
- Do not organize your items until you are completely done with the entire home.
- When you are done, each item you have kept must have a 'home' to 'rest' in/at when not in use.
- Only do this to your own belongings, or those of very young children that cannot do this themselves. Often times, the 'magic' of this mindset gets transferred to a resistant partner or child just by proximity and seeing the results.
I'm currently finishing up the first major category- clothing. I let go of a few items, but not much. I let go of much more clothing for my toddler (lots of hand-me-downs / next-size-up's, put away the keepers that are too small for possible child #2), and broke the rules a little bit by getting rid of a few things that have never fit my husband (he really won't care too much, but will never do it himself- at least, not yet). I've also done some things out of order, but I will revist them when I get to that category. For instance, I did quick toy and book sorts for sanity's sake.
This process is helping me realize how much we really HAVE (in excess) and is helping me quiet my shopping impulses. I'm getting a list of things I really would like to buy together for use when I am done with this- and by the way, none of the items on the list are clothing or craft related (my two biggest personal expenditures). I want to replace the couch, my nightstand, and curtains, finish the second half of the kitchen remodeling in the spring, get a big-girl bed for my toddler, and get an actual bed frame/headboard for my own bed. If I'm careful with my pennies I can do all of this! It's great motivation to stop and think before shopping and spending money on yet MORE things I don't need.