If you’re anything like me, you’ve been hearing a LOT about Marie Kondo recently. The joyful Japanese woman has taken Netflix by storm with her show Tidying Up in which Marie helps families move their homes from chaos to calm using the “life-changing magic of tidying up” (also the title of her book). Hearing about the KonMari method has felt like being in a horror movie: one by one, all my friends have been picked off and fallen for the charms of Marie’s minimalism and started raving about how they’re getting rid of the things in their life that don’t spark joy. So finally, I decided to check it out.
The KonMari Method
Marie Kondo’s method involves piling your belongings into categories and going through them piece by piece. You hold each item to your chest and only keep it if it sparks joy. If it doesn’t spark joy, you thank it for its service, and let it go. The idea of the KonMari method is that having less clutter = less stress, and that if you only own things that bring you joy, your home will be a calming, peaceful place to live.
Can Cleaning Supplies Really Spark Joy?
When I watched Tidying Up, I couldn’t help but wonder, how do you be a minimalist when it comes to cleaning supplies? I used to think that I needed a different product for the stove, the oven, the bathroom, the floor, sinks, shower, toilet, and everything else! Of course, this is exactly what the people selling cleaning products want me to think! If I need a different product for every part of my house, they can convince to keep buying more stuff!
The other problem I had was that I’d often forget what I had. Because cleaning products were in different places all over the house, and often stashed in the back of the cupboard under the sink, it was easy to forget what I did and didn’t have. That’s how I ended up owning three tubs of Gumption – I kept losing it and buying more!
The other thing that stressed me out about my old way of doing cleaning was all the chemicals in the products. Most of my super-specialised cleaners had a long list of ingredients I can’t pronounce, accompanied by a long list of warnings: “wear gloves”, “keep away from eyes”, “keep out of reach of children”, “if irritation occurs, see a doctor”. Not exactly confidence-inspiring.
So, to solve my product panic, I KonMari’d my cleaning supplies. Here’s how you can too.
1. Discover the Natural Cleaning MVPs
You might be astounded to know that basically all of your expensive, chemical-filled cleaners can be replaced by just a few natural cleaning ingredients. Using some basic, cheap, healthy products you can mix up a cleaning solution for any occasion! Here are the star players:
White vinegar: great at dissolving dirt and scum, and an effective mould killer.
Bi-Carb: a mild abrasive, great at breaking down grime, and a natural deodoriser.
Lemon: degreasing, anti-bacterial and deodorising properties.
Tea Tree Oil: natural sanitiser, anti-fungal, disinfectant and insecticide qualities.
Vodka (or rubbing alcohol): Disinfects, cuts through grease and is great on glass and windows.
These safe, natural products are pretty much all you need!
2. Simplify Your Cleaning Cupboard
Now that you’ve discovered how to make effective cleaners from natural ingredients, you should be able to simplify your cleaning supplies. Time to get out all your cleaning products and put them in a pile. If it doesn’t bring you joy, let it go! (Or much better, use it up and then recycle it). Get rid of your five different cleaning sprays, and make our All-Purpose Cleaning Spray instead. And when it comes to tricky jobs like cleaning shower grout or cleaning the oven, not to worry! Using just the MVP ingredients we listed above, you can tackle both of these jobs with ease.
3. Store Your New Minimalist, Natural Cleaning Supplies
To avoid the problem of cleaning products getting lost in the back of a cupboard, take Marie Kondo’s advice and use boxes for storage! If you put your cleaning supplies into a box in the cupboard, you will be able to pull out the box and easily see what’s there! No more buying double-ups.
There you have it! Three easy steps to simplify your cleaning supplies.
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