Declutter and Organize: It’s been a year since I tried the KonMari method. Here’s the truth about The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Here’s what I use and here’s the parts that I threw away.
Last year I decided to pick up The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. I’d read several reviews and the book sounded like the perfect solution to my need for decluttering around my own home. I was super excited by the whole KonMari method just from the introduction, and I couldn’t wait to try my hand at following the steps to make my whole house perfectly organized.
The first day was awesome.
I started with clothing, which the author insists is where you should get started, and purged my closet like a crazy woman. By the end of the day, I had tons of clothes and accessories to donate and the neatly organized closet I’d always wanted. Everything had a place and I loved that I could see every single piece of clothing with just one glance.
Here’s the thing. I have a small closet. Even worse, I share the closet with my husband. I had so many clothes that I had to take over another closet in another part of the house. After following the KonMari method, I now store every piece of clothing in my side of our small bedroom closet. And, surprisingly, I am happy with that. Sure, I still dream of those huge walk-in closets I see in magazines, but in reality, I’d just load a larger closet with stuff I probably wouldn’t wear anyway.
With that, this one step made the whole book worth it.
The next day was horrifying.
That’s when the author suggested organizing your book collection. As a former school teacher and book nerd, this step proved to be the most time-consuming and heart-wrenching of the entire process. I had tons of picture books stored in crates in our bonus room and several book shelves loaded with other books around the house.
Just gathering all the books I had accumulated from every nook and cranny took all morning. By the time I had gathered every book in my den, I was already exhausted and now overwhelmed looking at what a huge mess I’d made. It was at this point I decided I hated the KonMari method. The author suggested holding each book in your hand and deciding if it ‘gives you joy’ or not.
At that moment, nothing could make me happy. And to be honest, I just about gave up on decluttering anything else after looking at all those books piled across my den floor.
However, this step gave me the most insight about my own issues with organization. I’m actually a very organized person, but I realized I was cluttering my home with things I didn’t need anymore. I was holding on to these books for the sole purpose of holding on to my past years as a teacher. I missed it. But then I took that opportunity to celebrate how much I had enjoyed teaching and donated those books so that others could enjoy them, too.
For the rest of the day I plowed through it, sorting through every single book in my collection. Just as with clothes, I was able to get rid of probably 3/4 of my book collection so that now I can actually store all my books neatly in my office where they are easily accessible and look great organized on just one shelf.
After that, I was obsessed with this decluttering thing.
The next step was sorting papers and that one, for me, was super easy. Then I sorted through my makeup and skincare products, and then the kitchen and other appliances, which again, wasn’t at all that big of a deal since I kept those areas pretty organized already.
So far, it had been about a week’s worth of decluttering. I had dedicated that week after Christmas for getting my house organized and, by this time, I was very happy with what I’d accomplished and my beautifully organized space.
I didn’t declutter everything as the KonMari method suggested.
It’s important to note that I didn’t force my family to join me. There’s always a decluttering day for the boys after Christmas where they are required to give their rooms a good cleaning. I let them decide on what they want to keep or donate, and I’m satisfied as long as they keep things off the floor, make their beds, and put other things away.
As for my husband, he tends to be a hoarder when it comes to ratty looking t-shirts and he has an old shed in our backyard that’s so cluttered he can hardly move around in the space. As long as he corrals his things in his shed and on his side of the closet, I’m happy.
My family is great about putting things away and keeping our common areas tidy. So, as a mom, I’m satisfied with that and only use the KonMari method for my personal areas and things I keep organized myself.
The KonMari method isn’t for everyone.
Although I really enjoyed decluttering and organizing using the KonMari method, I don’t think it’s for everyone. Sometimes I thought the author’s suggestions were unreasonable. After all, she wrote the book as a single woman living by herself in a small apartment. I think what you keep and throw away depends on how much space you have to store things. To me, you can keep as much as you want as long as you have a designated space for it. And with a family, you must consider their favorite items that sometimes take up more space than you’d like.
If you love clothes, you won’t like the KonMari method, either. I seriously donated some really nice pieces of clothing. To my surprise, though, I’m actually happier now without them. I’ve discovered that I really only wear a handful of things from my closet. Now that I only have these items to choose from, it’s super easy for me to decide what to wear. After a year, I still keep my closet just as tidy. When I buy something new, I donate something else.
I also ignored some of her advice completely.
The author seems to have this idea that inanimate objects have feelings and that if you fold your clothes the right way, you’ll make ‘them’ happy. For example, she worries that rolling your socks into a ball keeps them from resting properly. Objects don’t have feelings. You do. It’s not about making your clothes happy, but rather storing them in a way that helps them last longer so you’ll be happy keeping them around.
With that, her advice for folding socks lasted until I sorted the laundry. I found that whole process time consuming. I’ve now resorted back to folding my socks how I did before (without stretching them) and my sock drawer still looks just as organized.
Some things we keep even if they don’t make us happy.
The main message of the book is keeping only what makes you happy. Well, that sounds great, but it’s impossible. Let’s face it. Sometimes my family members don’t make me happy, but still, I think I’ll keep them around.
Seriously, there are things in my house I just need to keep regardless. And I’m happy with that.
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