I’m rarely the first person to jump on a new trend. I’m more of the “let’s-sit-back-and-see-how-this-plays-out-and-then-maybe-I’ll-consider-it” type. So I’ve only recently tried the KonMari method and “life-changing magic of tidying up” thing that everyone and their sister was raving about back in 2014. I may learn slow, but I learn good — and this was definitely worth the wait!
The KonMari Promise
From the website:
“Japanese organizational consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly declutter your home once, you’ll never have to do it again. Whereas most methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, the KonMari Method’s category-by-category, all-at-once prescription leads to lasting results. In fact, none of Kondo’s clients have been repeat customers (and she still has a three-month waiting list of new customers!). With detailed guidance for every type of item in the household, this quirky little manual from Japan’s newest lifestyle phenomenon will help readers clear their clutter and enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home–and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire.”
That’s a LOT to promise! Here’s what happened when I tried it.
The KonMari Reality
Day 1: Clothes
I’m a rule follower, so I started with clothing per the recommendation in the book. I handled each piece of clothing and decided if it gave me joy. If it didn’t, I thanked it for serving its purpose and put it aside to be donated. At the end of Day 1, I had 4 bags of clothes to give away, along with 9 clothing organizer containers.
Day 2: Books
I got through clothing pretty easily, so I was a little cocky going into Day 2. Wow! This category was MUCH harder than I expected! Many of my books carried a sense of obligation. Others held memories or resentment. Going forward, I’m not going to carry any assumptions into any category…I’ll just see what each one holds for me. This was a valuable learning experience for me.
At the end of Day 2, I had 2 bags of trash (old journals, etc.), and 2 bags of books to give away.
Days 3-4: Paper
Even with everything that is available to us in electronic format, paper is still the bane of modern existence. How often do you go to your mail box and *not* come back with junk mail? And that’s on top of all the papers we all feel compelled to keep — receipts, warranties, transaction records, etc. This category took me two days to complete instead of just one. At the end of Day 4, I had 2 big bags of trash, 1 bag of giveaways, and 10 (!) boxes of shredded papers (thank goodness for recycling!).
Days 5-14: Komono (Miscellany)
This took me 3 days just to get through my bathroom items! I’ve now learned I started in the wrong place and gathered the wrong things. I should’ve gone in this order: CDs/DVDs; stationary; electrical; skincare and cosmetics; relaxation goods; medicines; valuables; kits; tools; hobbies; collectibles; miscellaneous; linen/bedding; towels; stuffed toys; recreational items; seasonal items; emergency supplies; rain/winter gear; kitchen (ease of cleaning is the goal); eating utensils; cooking utensils; and then food (spices, pantry, refrigerator, and freezer).
So, after spending Days 5-7 on my bathroom items, I moved on to CDs, DVDs, and games on Day 8. Games was the first time I actually experienced pure joy when picking something up — the games Balderdash and Pictionary. I sort of got a “chill” of delight and a smile immediately came across my face. Interesting… I was going to throw out Pictionary until that happened :-). Days 5-8 yielded 3 bags of trash and 5 bags of giveaways.
On days 9-14, I tackled Jordan’s bathroom, my office, both linen closets, art stuff, electronic stuff, hutch stuff, kitchen stuff, and laundry room stuff.
After two weeks, I can say I’m finished…well, almost. I still have years of photos and sentimental items to go through. The reality is, not only do I need a little bit of a break, but I have other pressing priorities I need to address. I will work on these final areas this summer.
I *do* feel lighter and definitely feel more joy when I open drawers, etc. Going through the KonMari process has brought up so much more than just getting rid of stuff. Maintenance in the categories I’ve completed has been surprisingly easy. Overall, it has absolutely lived up to the hype and been worth doing!
I’m almost through the “sentimental items” category. Going through the kids’ stuff was hard! First, I didn’t realize just how many school pictures I’d bought, LOL! Second, I found I wanted to keep stuff out of obligation instead of joy. Nearly done now though. Once I started, it got easier. So far, this part of the process has yielded 2 bags of trash and 2 bags of giveaways.
I was fortunate to be able to devote full days to my decluttering. If that’s not realistic for you — and I know it isn’t for most folks — here’s a free 30-day de-cluttering program that breaks it down into more manageable chunks. The linked resource doesn’t follow the order prescribed by KonMari, but it does provide a solid framework that can be very useful for folks who have limited time to tackle their clutter.
One Last Thing
Having gone through the process now, I realized something else. This process can be hugely valuable if you are considering selling your house. I say that for two reasons:
- De-cluttering will absolutely make staging and packing more streamlined and successful.
- Getting clarity on what possessions you want to keep and what possessions bring you joy can also help you gain clarity on what you really want and what will bring you joy in your next home :-).
Have you tried the KonMari method? Did you find it worthwhile? Or has another method worked better? Please share in the comments!
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