Maybe you’ve heard of the KonMari method.
(AKA the book, The Life-Changing Method of Tidying Up.)
It’s written by Japanese tidying guru Marie Kondo, who claims not ONE of her de-cluttering clients has ever relapsed. A bold claim!
Organizing does not come easy to me. I’ll spend hours picking up. Once done, I sit back, exhale with a big ahhhhhh. Then twenty minutes later, things start collecting in places they shouldn’t. The next day, the house is messy again. That’s my life, maybe it’s yours, too.
So I decided to give Kondo’s method a try. She calls it the KonMari Method cause it’s like the Branjelina of her own name. Here’s the gist:
Tidy All At Once
She doesn’t mean do it all in a day, but do it all in a short period of time, like a few weeks. Don’t just say, “I’m going to just start with my closet and see how it goes.” Commit to doing it all at once.
Tidy One Category at a Time
I LOVE this one. We’ve all heard that you should tackle one space at a time. Just one shelf. Just one drawer. Just your pantry. The KonMari method says you should tackle one category of items at a time. So ALL of clothes at once, including stuff in storage and things packed away in the guest bedroom closet. ALL papers at once, all the linens at once, all books at once, no matter where you store them in your house. That way, you get a good idea of everything you already have. She suggests categories in the book, so you don’t have to think too much about it.
Only Keep What Sparks Joy
It sounds hokey, but this one actually made sense to me once entrenched in my own KonMari-ing. As you’re tackling each category, Kondo says you must lay every item on a table or the floor, even if you know you will keep it. Then, pick up each thing. Ask yourself, “Does it spark joy?” If so, keep it. If not, get rid of it… even if it was a gift or meant something to you at one time, but you aren’t feeling it now.
It seems weird, but you do feel a spark of joy from some things, and not from others.
She also tells you to talk to your clothes and thank your socks, which I haven’t tried yet. Maybe that’s just a Japanese thing.
My First Category: Books
Kondo says you should start with clothes because they are the least personal. In my case, I thought books would be easier to deal with, so I worked on those instead.
I know a lot of people LOVE their books. I LIKE my books, but honestly would rather have them all on a Kindle than on shelves. I dunno, these things are heavy and take up a lot of space. And I had them everywhere. Not just on this bookshelf….
But in my pantry:
And my kitchen:
And my night stand… and the office… and you get the point.
I tackled magazines, too:
First things first:
I took every book off the shelf and placed it on the floor.
Seeing everything in a big pile was a bit alarming, but probably not as bad as most people.
SIDE NOTE: I left the husband’s books unscathed; what he wants to do with his decade-old text books from college that he has literally never looked at since is his decision, not mine. Hint hint, Joshy!).
Then, I picked up a book about HTML from a class I took five years ago. Hmmm… no spark of joy.
Next, The Abs Diet for Women. No joy.
A Spanish-English Dictionary. Wait. That could be useful. But really, if I wanted to know the word for something in Spanish, would I look at the book or my phone? Definitely phone. Discard pile.
Other books that didn’t spark joy? Signed cookbooks I’d never used, books I’d bought years ago and still never got around to reading (buh-bye, I can always find you at the library), and books I’d read and loved but never opened again (I’m looking at you, The Hottest State by Ethan Hawke).
By the end, all I had left where the handful of food-splattered cookbooks (How to Cook Everything, Well Fed & Well Fed 2, plus a few others); a book on Eleanor Roosevelt’s life, a few books I’m using to research my Hey Eleanor book proposal, Bruce Campbell’s autobiography If Chins Could Kill (I’m in the midst and adore it), a book by my favorite writer, Mary Roach, and a few others. I kept a magazine that included a story about our wedding.
I also had SEVEN bags of crap.
I took six bags to Half Price Books, where I made $60 (always way less than you think, but oh well… I got my nails done with the cash and had some left over for groceries!).
I put about a dozen books in the Little Library down the street from my house. I checked back and most were gone in a day!
I brought along a bag of especially great books to a group of women I meet with monthly– books I enjoyed, but didn’t need anymore. Sharing is caring!
I don’t have a single book in my pantry, and my kitchen only has the handful of books I use regularly. I love it!
On deck? My closet, dresser and all those clothes stashed away in the basement. Josh is traveling for work, so it’s the perfect time to throw my crap into huge piles and make sense of it. Hopefully one day is enough.
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Have you tried the KonMari Method? What do you think? Any great organizing tips for a gal like me?
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