I am sick of moving items from place to place around the house – wasting too much time and never quite achieving my goals. Tons of my friends have been reading the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo and raving about their results, so I thought I would give it a try.
I certainly have too many things and need a plan of action that I can follow and stick with long term. The KonMari method is certainly not a quick process. However, maybe that is what makes the process so effective – it really forces you to look at each item, analyze your relationship with it, and then decide whether to keep, donate, or toss.
Over the course of the spring, I will be detailing you for you my triumphs and trials in attempting to organize our home and overcome the clutter with the KonMari method. Want to follow along? Grab the book and check out Making Lemonade’s KonMari cleaning cheat sheet!
Where to Start
One of the most interesting principles of the KonMari method is that you do not organize by room. For years, I have been organizing wrong, because I have always said things like, “Today I will clean the closet!” I end up with a spotless closet for three weeks and then the mess is back.
With KonMari, you organize by item (not space), starting with CLOTHING. She suggests gathering every item of clothing in the house by emptying the closets and drawers. I did this, but by family member. That means I went through the full process for me and each of the boys. My husband is still tiptoeing into the art of the KonMari method, but that’s ok!
In the book, they suggest working through clothing first, because it is one of the areas where we hold less personal attachment to the items. If we were to start with mementos, we would certainly fail – as those items can be much harder to get rid of.
You start with essentials like tops and bottoms and work your way through items like jewelry and costumes.
I haven’t gone back yet to do a folding of the items yet (next post?), but I did come up with 3 bags of clothing for trash and 3 more bags of clothing to donate. With three boys, by the time clothes are ready to donate after boy #3, they are usually ripped to shreds or stained. Therefore, those go right in the trash. However, I did donate some clothes that did not fit well, were not their style (they are more sporty than hipster), or were fabrics they found to be uncomfortable.
I did get inspired by going through my items, and fixed two of my favorite necklaces my son had broken as a baby. Then, by adding a sheet of pegboard to an awkward space in my closet, I hung my necklaces so that I could see them and enjoy them each day. This simple action as sparked joy in my life, so I count that as a win.
Does it Spark Joy?
The KonMari method, requires you to ask if individual items spark joy. At first I thought this was silly, but as I asked myself (in my head) whether each item sparked joy, I realized it was working.
I realized I had been surrounding myself with clothing items that do not make me happy for many reasons. Some had a sentimental value (I wore this on a special date with my husband.). Some were given to me (My mom bought this for me.). And some clothes were perfectly nice clothes (It still has tags on it!).
So when I asked my clothes if they made me happy, I was surprised to see how many did not make me happy. Ratty clothes, ill-fitting clothes, and out-of style clothes were donated or tossed without too much stress. Eventually I would like to pare down my clothing to a capsule wardrobe, but I am not quite ready for that yet!
Get the Troops on Board
I have learned it is best to go through the boys’ items without them there. Otherwise, they declare their attachment to every item. Without the boys’ around, I was able to get rid of clothes that were being passed from boy to boy but never worn. I also rid them of some ridiculous shirts and torn pants that they had accumulated along the way.
I am trying to encourage my husband to look at his clothing and see if it sparks joy. He is a neat freak, but his two weak areas are sentimental clothing and notebooks (he has hundreds of tiny notebooks in boxes). I am not pushing the notebook issue any time soon, but I have asked him if some of his clothing that he has never worn in our 9 years of marriage really “spark joy”.
In protest, he grabbed a few plaid shirts from high school or college and argued that they are indeed in style right now. I couldn’t argue against the plaid, but asked why – if these items sparked joy – did he never wear them?
After brushing off a layer of dust, he put one on and wore it for the day. The next day, I found the plaid shirts in my donate pile.
I am convinced, sometimes we just might need a little more time to assess our relationship with our belongings. My husband took the time to reflect on his past relationship with his plaid beauties, and realized that he has moved on.
There is a sweatshirt blazer that I need to come to this conclusion with myself, but my beloved blazer and I still need a little more time together before this can happen.