Hey there people. Back in November I started reading the “The life changing magic of tidying up: the Japanese art of organizing and decluttering”. It was a page-turner. I actually had a hard time putting it down. The book is filled with anecdotal stories about the author, Marie Kondo, and her journey to finding a method of tidying and organizing that actually works. I felt I had something in common with the author but also felt a bit at risk as her obsession for tidying can be a bit alarming at times. Tidying and cleaning should only take up so much of any persons thoughts and time. Even as a homemaker with a drive for excellence I don’t want to be consumed by my work. I want to tidy and clean to the purpose of making our home easier and more enjoyable for living in. (…which is very similar to her goal.) I can breath better when our space is free of clutter and find its far more relaxing for everyone. Especially me. I don’t mind house work but I do hate that feeling that its never done.
So I chose to take the plunge and give the Konmarie method a go. I’ve learned a lot in the process, gotten rid of a lot and had some surprising life changing paradigm shifts. When she said the book would be life changing I just sniffed at the thought but in all honesty there are some parts that have shifted my thinking over the last few months. More on that another time, maybe.
First let me show you what has happened in my apartment.
Kondo highly recommends beginning with clothes, so I heeded her advice and jumped into my closet. I pulled every last item out so that I was dealing with a completely blank slate. I also prepared two laundry baskets. One labeled “sparks joy” the other, “no joy”. I held each piece of clothing in my hands and passed them to the basket they were destined for. Some items passed more quickly then others. As soon as my eyes fell on some items I knew, ” yes you stay!” or “no! Why did I keep you captive for so long?!”
Other items didn’t spark as quickly one way or the other. I needed to hold them and look a little deeper. Most of those went in the “no joy” basket but not all of them.
One thing I’ve learned, that she warned about in the book, is that sorting really does take a lot of focus. I went in with so much motivation but found it hard to maintain with my toddler wanting to drag clothes hangers all over the tiny bedroom or unfold all of my carefully folded socks. (I also learned that a weird form of guilt can disguise itself as joy. When I did sense that guilt I used her quirky method of talking to the item in my head, thanking it for it’s use, for whoever gave it to me or whatever. I know it sounds silly but it was actually effective and admittedly I find myself thinking this way occasionally about other things.)
That brings me to the putting things away portion of the method. I was shocked to discover that I did in fact have all of the storage I needed to put everything away in an orderly fashion. My drawers and closet look beautiful when organized according to her method. A month and a half+ later I’ve been disciplining myself to maintain the method in order to develop a new habit of putting things away “just so”. I think the discipline is necessary to achieve the desired results but I’m giving up in one area. The socks just aren’t doing it for me. I miss my “lumpy potatoes” as she calls rolled up socks. When I’m folding laundry with my tot in tow, I don’t have to worry about him unrolling them. If he takes off with my potato socks I can quickly whip them back into the pretty box I discovered fits them perfectly. I was neglecting to put my clean folded laundry away because I knew the minute I started working at it, my meticulously folded socks would be everywhere. I even tried not folding until they were going into the closet but it didn’t work. They stayed in the clean laundry basket. So the lesson learned is that folding my socks into potatoes sparks more joy then folding them the Konmarie way. I wish it could have worked out but I’m letting go of the silly guilt of not being able follow through 100%.
After cleaning out my own side of the closet I wanted to tackle my husband’s side. I bagged up my clothes for donation and started fresh with two empty baskets. I emptied his closet completely and sent him in to sort his clothes. He did a great job. He was thankful that I was doing the majority of the work reorganizing our space. He’s been super helpful with caring arm loads of old stuff to donation.
Side note: our building has a community donation center! It means I’m a terrible procrastinator for not having everything out quickly! Gah!
Our closet space was lovely when it was finished. Here are some before and after pictures!
My side of the closet before and after.
Since purging my closet I find it easier to get dressed. I have basically created a capsule closet. I’m pretty happy with that. I only kept the clothes I enjoy wearing. I get more compliments on my outfits lately and I feel pretty good with how I look now. Getting rid of clutter really does make space in other area’s of life for a little more joy.
Stay tuned for another edition featuring our books, and the bathroom!