By Andrea Vandiver, contributing writer
Six months ago I finally got around to reading Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. (I know, I’m way late to the trendy train.) I kept seeing everyone rave about it, and I finally have a Konmari update for you.
But you see, I’m the opposite of a packrat. I throw things away and later regret it. So I didn’t think I had much to learn. I’m not a naturally tidy person (like, at all) but I don’t keep a lot of STUFF, which keeps my life and home from spiraling into complete chaos.
But I’m also a book-lover, so I couldn’t pass up a book that had such great reviews. And I loved it. Now some of it was a little odd and made me giggle, but the meat and message of the book was true to its name – life-changing.
I’ll boil it down for ya – if it doesn’t bring you joy, get rid of it.
Toss it (trash, sell or donate).
Repeat until you’re done. Add in some organizing methods and you have the KonMari method.
I will say this… I had to find balance with my frugal side. Our family’s financial goals have motivated us to take some pretty drastic measures so there was no way I was willing to throw out my one and only slotted spoon simply because it didn’t make me feel warm and fuzzy on the inside.
I also wasn’t about to toss everything I hated and buy a new house full of beautiful, expensive things. But it helped me realize that maybe I didn’t need 32 slotted spoons. (And as it turns out, you actually CAN love a good stainless steel ladle.) 🙂
I lost track of exactly how many things I purged, but it was well over 400… books, kitchen items, clothes and shoes (the rest of my house I haven’t quite got to yet). At first I was so giddy about the whole ordeal I kept everything in perfect order. But then reality set in. Here’s what worked and what didn’t.
My dresser drawers look awesome. Kondo recommends and teaches a folding technique that allows all of your items to be seen at one time. I love being able to open my t-shirt drawer and see all of my options without having to rifle through them to find my absolute favorite. I was a little skeptical of folding my socks and underwear that way (I’d only started folding my underwear at all within the last few months) but yep, I’m a fan of that too!
This was probably the hardest category to purge but also the most desperately needed. Over the last decade I had crammed our two bookshelves full of every bargain book I could find. I would guesstimate over half of them had not been read. So, I got rid of a lot. Like stacks and stacks. Now, my shelves stay looking beautiful… filled with my favorite books. Ones that I want to re-read or loan to friends. I’m also determined to stick to getting library books, and only buying books that aren’t available there. Then, if I love it, it goes on the shelf. If I don’t, it gets donated.
Everything has a specific place now. Why? Because I have room! This has been the easiest area to maintain because putting things away is just so stinking easy.
Okay. This one is half and half. I’ve been able to keep my special-occasion shoes organized because, well, I don’t use them very often. My every day shoes are still just thrown into the closet at times.
What Didn’t Work
The biggest drawback to doing things the KonMari way is that you might possibly have someone in your house (who shall remain nameless *cough* my husband *cough*) who has zero desire to participate. And that’s okay, but that means folding laundry several different ways.
And it’s obvious whose bookshelves are whose. And I still have to cram clothes into overcrowded drawers. And every day I fight the temptation to secretly throw away that one t-shirt that is approximately 79 years old and has approximately 53 holes in it and that hasn’t been worn in 41 years and yet must be kept just in case. (Can you relate?)
The other downside is that I’ve gotten a little bit lazier about putting things away in the first place. It does take extra effort to do it the right way the first time so yeah, I tend to toss things onto the floor or dresser more often. Once I do put everything away it’s neat and organized and beautiful looking, but it just takes a little longer to get there.
- Extra toiletries
- Craft supplies
- Home decor (Related: 11 tips for the highly sensitive person at home)
- Important papers (Related: check out this post on reducing paper clutter!)
And honestly, writing this post has inspired me to purge even more of what I’ve already gone through. Last week I watched a documentary called “Minimalism” on Netflix. Again, I don’t agree with everything but it was inspirational.
The KonMari method isn’t exactly minimalism because there is no limit to what you can keep, but I think between the two there is a very happy medium.
I want to be pickier about the things I bring into my home. I don’t want more STUFF. I want more time and money to go toward my family. I want us to feel relaxed and inspired in our home. Clearing the clutter really has cleared my mind. It’s refreshing. You should try it.
Andrea Vandiver is a work-at-home mom and freelance writer in Oklahoma. She spends her days imitating animals and blowing bubbles. Her favorite things are those that taste, smell, feel, sound and look wonderful. The stuff that romance is made of.