“When you’ve finished putting your house in order, your life will change dramatically. Once you have experienced what it’s like to have a truly ordered house, you’ll feel your whole world brighten. Never again will you revert to clutter.” (The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo)
Doesn’t that sound so lovely? I can imagine that a cleaned up, clutter free home that only holds the things that truly bring me joy could actually change my life dramatically. I understand how my whole world could be brightened just by clearing out the junk that surrounds me. It excites me to imagine what life would be like if I actually let go of all the “extra” we have accumulated. And for more than a year, it has been my plan to follow the steps outlined in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up so that our house could be brighter, freer, tidied up, and our lives dramatically changed.
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But you see, it’s a big task. And although Marie outlines in the book exactly where to start and how to do each step, I have so many excuses that have kept me from even starting. Things like,
– It’s different for me, because I’m a mom, not a single woman living in a small apartment by myself like she is.
– Her categories are so general, what if I forget something and end up with boxes and places that I forget to go through, will I ever be done?
– What if I go through all the steps and then my family just brings in more clutter for me to start all over with?
– Some of the concepts in the book are really loony, do I really have to talk to my socks, empty out my purse everyday, and thank my belongings?
– This is such a big, big task, we have so much stuff, am I really ready to sort through and get rid of that much stuff? This is going to take the rest of my life!
And so, for over a year, I’ve done nothing but dream about a less cluttered life. Well, my friends, my dreaming days are over. I’m tired of being surrounded by clutter and excess and junk. I’m tired of shoving clothes around trying to make room. I’m tired of tripping over the boxes of junk in our basement. I’m tired of cleaning up toys that get poured out on the floor but never played with because nobody likes them in the first place (I’m looking at you, cheap Happy Meal Toys!).
Friends, I know I’m not alone in this. I’m not the only one with the desire to clear out the clutter, get rid of the excess that we don’t actually need or want, and surround ourselves only with the things that bring us true joy. Please join me. We’ll hold each other accountable, we’ll cheer on our progress, we’ll support each other through the difficult decisions, we’ll brainstorm ideas for getting the family involved, and we’ll help each other discover if talking to our things and thanking our homes is really a necessary part of the process. Sound like a plan?
What is the KonMari Method?
First, let me back up a little in case you really have no idea what I’m talking about. There is this little book that has become uber-popular called, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. The author, Marie Kondo, has developed a system of decluttering, called the KonMari method, that is supposed to change your life. Instead of buying more boxes and bins to keep your stuff more organized, you actually just get rid of your extra stuff. Instead of learning how to teach yourself and your kids how to keep “a place for everything and everything in its place,” you greatly reduce the amount of everything to only those things that truly bring you joy, and then it’s a whole lot easier to find everything and keep it in it’s place. I posted a review about this book about a year ago, you can read it here.
These days, our homes are filled with so much stuff, especially once you have kids. Many people feel claustrophobic in their own home because of all the extra surrounding them.
We buy bigger houses because we just can’t possibly fit our family of four in our tiny, 1500 square foot house. We buy containers and bins and organizers and extra shelving and more closet space trying to make all of our stuff look ordered and put away, organized and easy to find, because someday, we will absolutely need to use it and we must be able to find it. When we move we load up boxes and boxes of stuff that stays in those boxes until the next time we move, but we are certain that someday, we’ll need what is in those boxes, so it all must stay.
Join the WMB KonMari Method Challenge
If you are ready to stop this madness in your own home and discover once and for all, what is truly most important, what you truly need, and what actually sparks joy in your life, and then surround yourself with only those things, then I invite you to join us as we KonMari our homes in the coming months.
The first Saturday of each month, for as long as it takes, I’ll be posting about my progress. We’ll take things one category at a time. In the book, Marie says this should take about 6 months. When I first read that, it sounded like an eternity and far too long for me to keep interested, but looking around my home, it feels like not nearly enough time. We are busy, working moms with full schedules. But, that is why we are in this together. We can do this. Just think of how amazing it will feel when we are done, surrounded by happy, joyful things, everything in it’s place, and our lives dramatically changed as we have learned the power of letting go of excess and embracing a clutter free life.
Check out our schedule in the image below:
I’ll be posting my “in progress” photos and thoughts on Facebook and Instagram throughout each month to help us stay focused and excited. Be sure to follow me there so you don’t miss the reminders and encouragement. Also, please share your own pictures and tips too so we can motivate and help each other. Then, the first weekend of each month, come back here where I’ll share my end results for each category and start us off on the next category. You can share your own results in the comments of each post so we can all be excited together over our clutter free, happy homes.
First things first, you’ll want to get the book and give it a quick read if you haven’t already. I’ll be sharing tips and tricks along the way, but this method is really about getting into the right mindset and you really need to read the book to fully understand the concept. It’s a quick read, so it shouldn’t take too much time, and you’ll probably keep it handy as we work through each category to use as a reference manual to keep you on track. As I mentioned in my review, there are parts of the book that are just, weird, and some things that might not fit perfectly into the life of a busy mom. Just get through the weird parts and we can discuss as we go how to best fit the concepts of the method into our busy working mom lives.
One of the major concepts of the KonMari method is to declutter (or tidy as she likes to call it) by category instead of by location or room. This was a really hard piece for me to buy into, but after re-reading the book recently and reviewing the categories with my house in mind, I think I can make it successful. And I really understand why she wants you to go by category instead of location. I hate that there are 7,654 pens in every single room of my house and only one of them actually writes (good luck trying to find which room and pile that one pen is in). I cannot wait to get to a point where we have one central pen location with all joyfully happy working pens.
As I mentioned, for our project, we will take things one category at a time, just as she outlines in the book, using the schedule in the image above. I don’t suggest you do a little bit each day throughout the month as Marie believes that “tidying” should be a special event, not something you do everyday. If we do just a tiny bit at a time for 6 months straight, I think we might feel a little burnt out and frustrated at the painfully slow process. But this is a big project and most categories will take several days to comb through. You will have a whole month to fit the category into your schedule. Schedule a free weekend, work on it a few hours each Saturday, or whatever fits best for you.
Let’s Get This Party Started
The first category in the KonMari method is clothes! So for the month of April, our assignment is to sort through our clothes. For some of you, you will only go through your own clothing, because that is all you personally are responsible for. Marie discusses the danger of sorting through and discarding other people’s things in the book, so I agree it is wise to stick to your own stuff. However, if you have young children who are too small to sort through their own things, then you are welcome to tackle the kids clothes too.
I will be going through my clothes and both of my children’s clothes this month (the kids are 6 and 3, so the 6 year old will likely work with me a bit to start learning). I plan to keep my hands off my husband’s things, but make it clear to him what I’m doing in the hopes that he will join in the fun.
There are 2 steps to the KonMari process:
1. Discard completely before moving on to step 2
2. Decide where to keep things
The discarding is the most important step. The KonMari way means we decide what we what to keep, not what we want to get rid of. This is a mindset shift from the traditional decluttering approaches that focus on what you should get rid of. Here we focus only on deciding what we want to keep. What do you want to surround yourself with? What things make you feel happy? Hold each item in your hands and decide if it sparks joy. If it does, keep it. If it doesn’t, put it in the discard pile.
Other suggestions for creating a productive KonMari tidying session include no music, no Netflix, try early in the morning, treat this as a special event, and have fun!
There is a lot of information in the book, once you get to step 2, deciding where to keep things, about how to properly fold and store your clothes. It was hard for me to picture the folding and standing up of clothes that she described in the book, but fortunately, there are plenty of videos around the interwebs to help with this. I plan to share some of the ones I find most helpful to my Facebook page later in the month when I reach the storing step.
I’m thrilled to see our progress this month, and I’m really excited to do this together with you. So, grab your garbage bags and boxes, pile all of your clothes on the floor, and let’s get to work!
Here are the additional posts in this series to help you follow along as we work through each category in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up book.