Tidying Up House & Heart

Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, along with her Netflix series, is very trendy this year! I don’t usually jump on the bandwagon, but before “everyone was doing it”, I planned to implement the KonMari Method in our home in 2019. Even though I had to wait a few extra weeks for my book to come in due to demand, I read it right away, following up with the Netflix series to get to know Marie a little more intimately. After a couple weeks of preparation, I felt ready to take on the project of tidying my house, but it turned into so much more than that for me.

First Things First

After the book and series, I was ready. I followed her directions to a T. My first mission was my clothing. I piled my bed high. Three and a half hours later, there were 6 bags of clothes ready to donate, one ready for the trash, a pile of unused hangers and a much small wardrobe, no longer bursting out of my drawers and closet. Each piece of clothing I kept fits me and I enjoy wearing. I love how simple getting dressed in the morning is so now. After 2 months of having a simplified wardrobe, I see that I used to have too many options, which caused my day to start off stressed. How silly!

Donations beginning to pile up!

Another thing I learned as I said goodbye to so many “favorites” was that I was saving things because of the memories I had with them (our first date, my favorite interview shirt, a concert, a wedding, etc.) While the reasoning to save them made sense, the stress that came with it was unneeded. Right away, I was put off by the high value placed on material things with this method, but I quickly saw that I’d already been doing that with all the things I was “saving”.

So, I tried embracing her suggestions and I felt the full impact of going through the “letting go” process. I thanked these items that I hadn’t worn in 5+ years. For the really special items, I held them for a full minute, remembering the event, but then was able to let them go with a smile. This practice has opened my eyes to a new way of cherishing memories, rather than the materials I associate with them. Chains to things started to break.

Sorting baby clothes!

Category by Category

As I moved through the categories, I found Marie’s philosophy held true. Going through the clothes first made it easier as I moved to other categories. I found papers to be difficult because of all the what ifs. However, I broke through that mentality quickly and condensed drastically! (Now I really don’t need the 2 drawer filing cabinet I refinished last fall, oops!) Our book collection is half of what it was, our kitchen actually has empty shelves and an empty drawer that our toddler has taken over! The counters are no longer cluttered with appliances and tools. Everything truly has it’s own place.

My favorite room in the house!

As I moved through the house, the process continued to get easier. It was amazing how much lighter I felt with each trash or donation bag I filled. Who knew a house full of stuff could weigh on you like that? It’s embarrassing to admit we actually decluttered our previous home last April and said goodbye to two TRUCKLOADS of stuff. To top it off, we moved 3 months later! If you are connecting dots, you are right, I packed up and moved all the stuff I parted ways with only 10 months later. When I realized it, I laughed out loud!

My office was last. Since the move, I’d shoved all my sentimental items in there, along with the books, papers and office supplies. I spent two days deep in memories. The amount of photos I discarded was unreal! As I relived my “glory days”, I found more healing from that dark part of my life. Healing that only happens when you look something square in the eye, thank it for what it gave you (or in my case, the lessons I learned), and let it go.

Everything Has a Place

My favorite piece is finding a place for everything and storing like items together. I believe this one KonMari Method strategy will change our household. I’ve been guilty of this my whole life — if I don’t know where something goes, why put it away? It’s a slippery slope mindset that can easily be shared with those you live with. It’s only been a few weeks, but I’m seeing some improvements for us.

So Much More Than Decluttering

I’ve heard plenty of people comment on how “extreme” Marie’s book, show and method seems. It seems extreme to go through your entire house and make a decision about every item you own and to put such value on material things. The question you have to ask yourself is “Why do you I want to tidy?”

Marie has a fantastic activity outlined in her book and she encourages you go through it before you even begin. By sitting down and writing out what I envision for our home and my life, it became clear that my endgame is to feel more at peace and have a home with a door-always-open mentality. As these hopes poured out on paper, I saw the fuel that would power me through this endeavor. Maybe it is extreme, but maybe it’s just what you need. Or maybe you can take some of her great philosophies and add them into what you already are doing.

Once armed with my Why, this whole process didn’t seem so daunting. I gave myself one month, the month of February to complete this (Marie says it can take up to 6 months!). I could always look at my Why to motivate me and I knew this would all be worth it! I’m grateful I took the time to touch every object I owned. Here are my top five takeaways from the KonMari Method.

Five Things I Learned From the KonMari Method

  1. Stop saving things. There were way too many clothes in my closet for events that may never happen. Too many craft items for projects I will likely never get to. And the big one, way too many “fancy things” I’d saved for a “special day” that were expired/went bad, etc. I have a new rule, no more saving things!
  2. When everything has a place, my house stays tidy. It’s amazing how well things stay picked up around our house, specifically the kitchen. She warned in the book that you only have to tidy once. After that it’s just learning to put things away and I’m finding that to be true!
  3. Less clothes makes getting ready MORE fun. When there are too many options, I feel overwhelmed and stressed before I’ve even started my day. By having less options, but only items that I love, getting ready each day is a fun process!
  4. Folding is enjoyable. Marie’s folding method seems extreme, but I am loving sitting down to watch a show at night and folding everyone’s laundry! And the best part is opening the drawers and seeing all the tiny rectangles — a true joy-sparker for me! 🙂
  5. Become an expert in knowing what made me happy. As a woman who never knows what I want, this has been a huge blessing. I still have my moments, but for the most part I’ve become much more in-tune with my initial gut reaction and overthinking a little less.

Is KonMari for You?

Donations Pile

With each category I crossed off the list, our donations pile grew. And the trash bags by the canister did too. We joyful took our donations to the Mission last week and although our house is more empty, my heart is full. As I roam the house each day, each room in the house makes me smile. I no longer feel “trapped in a messy house” or walk in the door immediately feeling overwhelmed. I’m beginning to feel some peace that was part of my overall goal for tidying. If you’re on the fence about trying the KonMari Method, I’d suggest you look into it a little more, figure out your Why and take my top 5 into consideration. If you try it, I’d love to hear what you think!

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