One of the biggest challenges of spring cleaning or preparing for a move can be the process of decluttering. Parting with belongings can be an overwhelming and sometimes stressful process, but skipping this step will not lend the dramatic, Pinterest-worthy results you are dreaming of.

modern-farmhouse-interiorYou’ve probably heard of the KonMari method developed by Marie Kondo, author of the best-selling book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and host of a reality show on Netflix where she helps people, you guessed it, tidy their homes. For those of you unfamiliar with KonMari, it challenges traditional approaches to decluttering and organizing belongings in various ways. For example, instead of organizing room-by-room, Kondo developed a process for tackling one category at a time in a specific order:

  1. Clothing
  2. Books
  3. Papers
  4. Komono, defined as “miscellaneous”
  5. Sentimental items

This approach can be especially challenging for Bend-ites who embrace all four seasons, are resourceful (“Hey, can’t I repurpose that into something?”) and love being prepared for anything life throws at us. The “Komono” category, in particular, which includes all the stuff in your garage, can be daunting.

For most of us, an impending move can be a powerful motivator for decluttering. And for those of us not moving, the idea of reducing the time it takes to keep our homes clean, finding our gear and getting out the door to go play outside can provide inspiration as well. That’s where rule #2 of the KonMari method comes into play. All six rules are:

  1. Commit yourself to tidying up.
  2. Imagine your ideal Bend lifestyle.
  3. Finish discarding before organizing.
  4. Tidy by category, not by location.
  5. Follow the right order.
  6. Ask yourself if it sparks joy.

Starting with clothing is pretty easy for most people, which is why Kondo has you tackle it first. While the suggested process of holding each item individually, asking yourself if it brings you joy and then thanking the item for its service before discarding it can seem a little woo-woo, it can help people who have a hard time getting rid of things by making it OK to do so.

Here are a few resources for decluttering your home in Bend using the KonMari method:

  • Throw away items that are broken and not worthy of donation. In addition to typical recyclables, Deschutes Recycling located at the Knott Landfill safely disposes of appliances, electronics, tires and large plastic containers.
  • Donate clothing or household items that are no longer useful or “bring you joy” to various local charities including Goodwill, St. Vincent de Paul or the Humane Society of Central Oregon.
  • Did you relocate to Bend and bring your corporate wardrobe with you? You can consign clothing at various shops or donate it to a charity like Dress for Success Oregon that provides professional attire.
  • Donate books to the Deschutes County Library, pop them into one of the many Little Free Libraries around Bend for someone else to enjoy, or sell them at one of our local used book stores.
  • Taming the “paper tiger” by getting rid of old papers is made easier with shredding services like Secure Shred and community shredding events that benefit local charities.
  • In addition to accepting furniture and home decor, Bend Habitat for Humanity needs donations of major appliances, building materials, cabinets, garden tools, lighting, tile, paint and more.
  • Consign workout clothing and sports gear that has lots of life left at The Gear Fix or Gear Peddler.
  • Consider donating kids’ outdoor clothing and sports gear to local youth sports foundations including MBSEF and Bend Endurance Academy.
  • Bend has a robust marketplace for selling used items via multiple channels including Craig’s List, Facebook groups like the Bend Girlfriend Swap, and Facebook Marketplace. “Porch pickups” that use the honor system are common in Bend.
  • Protect the winter gear that brings you joy by cleaning and storing it after doing any necessary repairs. Get your skis and snowboards waxed to prevent them drying out over the summer.
  • Prepare the summer gear that brings you joy by having bikes serviced, paddle boards repaired and camping gear cleaned.
  • Sentimental items are the last category because they’re generally the most difficult to get rid of, but we’ve seen some creative ways to preserve the happy memories associated with things like lift tickets, race numbers and vintage outdoor gear.
Best of luck with your spring cleaning, and if you try the KonMari method, let us know how it went!