Tidying Mistakes I Wish I've Realized Sooner


my top 5 tidying mistakes

After going through the KonMari Method myself, I've learned so many lessons, light bulb moments that made me realize why my previous attempts did not bear much fruit and, to be honest, I wish I'd realized sooner.

So here are my top 5 tidying mistakes - hoping that you can learn from them too!

Being Tidy is an Innate Characteristic

I used to believe that people are either born messy or tidy. I considered myself as a pretty organized person - a trait I must have inherited from my mother who is a neat freak. This may be true at some extent, but I realized that tidying is actually a learned skill - much like other interests like baking, drawing, dancing. There is a logic behind it, and fulfillment afterwards.

However, tidying is more than a hobby - it is a skill we all need to learn to make our home livable and joyful.

So if you feel like you should be a pro at tidying yet doesn't see effective results, or you simply don't know how to, don't be discouraged.  The Konmari method prescribes only two skills you need to start:

  1. Ability to keep what sparks joy and chuck the rest
  2. Ability to decide where to keep each thing you choose and always put it back in place

Organizing without decluttering first

This is the most important lesson I've learned from all the organizing resources I've found. Marie Kondo also made a very good job in emphasizing this in her book. 

I've used to be guilty in jumping straight to shopping for pretty storage containers, and trying to copy beautifully staged spaces from magazines or Pinterest just to make my home look organized. It would give me a rush of joy at first, but not too soon after, they'll be overshadowed by growing clutter. Then I tell myself - those images from magazines and Pinterest must have been all lies!

The only time I was truly successful in keeping my spaces beautifully organized all the time is when I’ve finished discarding.

Actually, they are not. The only time I was truly successful in keeping my spaces beautifully organized all the time is when I've finished discarding. That is, by taking an inventory of ALL of my belongings per category, deciding which ones to keep and which ones to let go.  

Truth be told, decluttering is no easy task. It is physically, mentally and emotionally challenging but the result is definitely worth it. Check out my tips on decluttering to help you get started!

Confusing Clean with Tidy


Oh these two (as a word and as a task) are mixed up all the time! I did too for a very long time! 

We live in downtown Manila and the amount of dust in our area is just unimaginable. I used to give up dusting daily because I feel like it consumes a great deal of my time. I would always end up cleaning only a portion of what I've intended to clean because I was picking up clutter and organizing items at the same time!

Marie Kondo defined cleaning as dealing with dirt, while tidying as dealing with objects. While both shares the same goal of making a space look clean, tidying requires strategic thinking - what to purge, keep, and where to store. Cleaning on the other hand requires manual work - keep our hands moving while we wipe and sweep.

Much like decluttering before organizing, tidying must be done before cleaning. When you only have "enough" items in your space, and they have a designated home, cleaning daily can be done in such a breeze!

I'm so fascinated with this concept that I decided to write a separate blog entry for it!

Keeping items "just in case"

It might come in handy is taboo

During my decluttering process, I've come to realize that probably 90% of my clutter belong to the "just in case" category. Mostly, these are the items that I used to like but no longer used because of some reason (ie. clothes that does not fit me anymore) or items that I don't find appealing or useful at all (ie. gifts or souvenirs from others).


"just in case"

Unworn clothes used to pile up at the bottom of my closet "just in case" I'd like to wear them again. 

Because they have some level of emotional value, I feel regretful of letting them go. In Filipino term, "nakahihinayang". Worse is, I keep using the "just in case" mindset as an excuse for keeping them even if I know in my heart that I don't have any intention of using them in the future.  They end up "nakatambak" (being "detained") in the corner of my storage spaces. 

The "just in case" mindset just doesn't work. It's either you want it or not. If you want it, then use or display it. If you don't want it, then donate or discard it. I know, it seems overwhelming, but I guarantee you, you'll be freed up with a big amount of guilt afterwards!

tidying randomly

As I've mentioned, I would usually tidy my belongings as I clean. Which means, if I decide to clean my living area, then I try to tidy the random items I find cluttered in my living area. If I happen to clean my bedroom, then I try to tidy whatever clutter I find, and so on. This just resulted to shuffling my items from one area to another.

Tidying things entail an active mental process and may just result to a “rearranged disorder” if not planned well

Tidying things entail an active mental process and may just result to a "rearranged disorder" if not planned well. Decluttering and organizing must always be done per category that make sense to you as the owner.  Sort items into groups based on similarities and create sub categories as needed.

The Konmari Method prescribes following a defined list of categories in the right sequence - clothing, books, papers, kumono and lastly, sentimental items. This order is supposed to help people hone their "sensitivity to joy" as they learn in deciding which items to keep and toss.

Evelyn Tay