tidying up

A while back I talked a bit about the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.  Well last month I put her trademark Konmari method into action, and I am so glad I did!

The Konmari method applies not just to clothes, but to all objects around the house including paper, books, momentos, housewares, etc.  Clothes though are the starting point.  I emptied my two closets onto the bed and floor.  My closets are averaged size by San Francisco standards, but relatively tiny in my opinion.  All of my clothes managed to fit inside, but just barely.  After going through each item, identifying those that still spark joy, and discarding the rest, my closets were transformed!

I’ve even gotten rid of more items since the purge and I haven’t missed a thing.  Goodbye jeans that no longer fit, goodbye dress I never wore, goodbye clothes that were loved and worn tons but are no longer my style, goodbye clothes I binge bought on a too-good-to-pass-up sale that no longer get me– goodbye and thank you.

But the changes went beyond the closets.  As I applied the Konmari method throughout the house the energy in the space shifted – and my energy shifted!  Guests that stopped by would comment on how nice the house looked — “Did you paint?  … The trim, you changed the color of the trim?! … What did you do?  Your house looks great!?!”  And the answer was simply that I got rid of stuff that I didn’t need and that didn’t spark joy!  That’s it.  It is so simple and has such a huge impact.

Imagine sitting in your home and everywhere you look are things that spark joy — no, everywhere you look there are only things that spark joy.  Can you imagine?!  How awesome would that be?!

I had heard about Marie Kondo’s methods and I’d thought I got the gist, but it wasn’t until I actually started listening to her book that I really drank the Kool-Aid.  I commute 2 hours a day for work and I fill the ride with audiobooks.  The first day I started listing, I could not wait to get home and to start the tidying process!

So if you haven’t already read or listened to Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up – IN ITS ENTIRETY – then do so stat!  You’re going to love yourself for it.



Happy tidying!

BFHU – preamble

Finally!  As promised this is the kickoff to several installments of Budget Friendly House Updates (BFHU), a series of blog entries that highlight some relatively simple and cost effective ways to take your space next level!

For those that don’t know, we live in San Francisco where the housing market is insane.  It is very common for multiple all cash offers to be made at well above the list price.  When we purchased our home 3 years ago, we did not have the option of making an all cash offer.  We barely had enough for 10% down.  To be as competitive as possible, we would routinely waive all contingencies, including inspections, and submit our offer with a personal cover letter detailing in earnest how we would love and care for the home.

When we made the offer on our current home, we had been house hunting for half a year, submitted offers on 4 homes, and were becoming discouraged.  We learned that 32 offers had been submitted, and that we were not the highest or the cleanest offer, and yet the seller chose us.  Then our lender tried to renege, but that’s another story.  We closed on the house 2 weeks later and words cannot describe how lucky we felt and still feel.

Since that time we have been tackling one project after another to fix up the house; keeping our promise to love and care for the home as we make it our own.

As a starting point, below are the photos from the original MLS listing for reference.

entry hallhouse2

living roomhouse3

dining roomhouse4





master bedroom and sunroomhouse7



(fyi – those are very large and thorny blackberry bushes)



spring cleaning

The official start of spring is just a few weeks away (yay!).  And it’s the perfect time to get a jump start on your spring cleaning.  I live in a small house and my guy has hoarding tendencies, so decluttering and organizing are recurring themes.

Here’s how I’ve managed to at least organize our spices and free up some much needed kitchen cabinet space.  And further below are some decluttering tips and motivational reading from Japanese organizing sensation Marie Kondo.  I love her notion that you should only keeps items that spark joy!  Then thank the items you decide to part with and then let them go.


With an inexpensive auto drip pan from Walmart and some magnetic spice canisters from World Market, I was able to free up several shelves in my kitchen– and I’m actually able to find the spices I’m looking for when I need them!  Just screw the metal pan to the wall, fill your spice canisters, and voila!  This project could not be simpler.

Below is a list of items if you want to order on-line.  Note that auto drip pans come in various sizes, so if you don’t see the size you’d like just have a Google for more options.  I simply walked into my local Walmart and bought one they had in-store in the auto section.

Lumax Galvz Drip Pan 47”x25” on sale at Walmart for $25 (was $31)

Lumax Galvz Drip Pan 18”x25” on sale at Walmart for $10 (was $13)

Blitz Oil Drop Pan from Ace for $15

Magnetic spice tins at World Market – set of 5 for $10

De-cluttering and organizing seem overwhelming?  Not sure where to start?  Marie Kondo is a Japanese organizational consultant who teaches that you should:

  1. Only keep items that spark joy!
  2. Thank the items that you decide to part with.
  3. Organize and tidy what is left.

Her books are best sellers and you can find tons of reviews and information about her philosophy on-online.  Good Morning America recently had Marie on to help declutter a couple’s apartment.  (View the GMA clip here.)  And several articles have been written on her work, like Purge sentimental tat and get rid of every ‘joyless’ item: The top 10 tips for decluttering your home, according to the ‘KonMari craze’ sweeping the world.  The top 10 tips list includes things like:

  • Avoid using stacking storage boxes as they encourage hoarding; and
  • Don’t keep things ‘just in case’.  It’s a false economy (they cause clutter, let them go).

But perhaps most important of all:  Don’t tell all your loved ones about your decluttering plans – especially if they have hoarding tendencies themselves.  Note to self.  😉


Happy spring cleaning!