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I have a special talent. If I invited you to come to my home you would walk in and be in awe of how clean and put together it looks. Your eyes would move across the room and you would think of how nicely styled, or at least, how free of clutter it is. You’d glance around, noticing how each horizontal surface in my home looks purposefully decorated, supporting items that are meant to be there and free of any odds and ends that would typically collect on them.
But my special talent isn’t my ability to decorate or live a clutter free life. Nope. Far from it. My talent lies in my ability to hide all the things. You see, most days, the days where I don’t have guests coming into my home, those horizontal surfaces are anything but beautifully bare and decorated. Most days, our TV stand collects used dishes, baby wipes, diapers, and pens. Most days, our end table collects charging cables and books. Most days, our countertops collect papers, mail, coins, and cereal boxes. Most days, our floor is usually covered with toys, the previous day’s play clothes, socks, shoes, and books. Most days, we are overwhelmed with clutter.
Facing The Issue
The truth is, the disorganization in our home is so disruptive to our lives that it’s a constant source of stress and frustration. There are so many items without a designated place that we have to look for them anytime we need them. A computer charger will be placed on a table one day and hidden from view underneath the couch the next. Important documents will be shifted from desk to table to countertop to clear space when a surface is needed. One shoe will be in the coat closet while the other is nowhere to be found. We are in constant battle with our things and it is so exhausting.
My husband and I talk about our lack of organization often and how it is such a pain point in our lives. Our most recent conversation happened last week. We talked about how so much of our feeling “busy” comes from not having functional systems in place that help our household run smoothly. We likely spend twice the amount of time to get our the door because we can’t find what we need. Cleaning takes longer because we have to spend time thinking about where to put an item each time we pick it up. When it comes to organization, we need help…lots of help.
The KonMari Method
Growing up, I never took the time to learn how to organize my things properly so I knew I needed to find a resource to teach me how. Naturally, I scoured Pinterest for some inspiration and found recommendations for a book titled, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. In this book, the author discusses what she calls her KonMari method. She promises that if you use her method properly, you will never have a cluttered and disorganized home again. It’s a pretty steep claim, don’t you think? However, I was super intrigued and knew I had to read it for myself. Let’s delve a little deeper into the main principles!
Organize By Category
Although I don’t know much about organizing, I do know that most methods teach you to organize room by room. However, the KonMari Method suggests going category by category and in a specific order. Kondo claims that you should first begin by sorting through items where it is easier to make objective decisions and gradually make your way to items that have greater sentimental value, where emotions tend to play a role in what you decide to toss or keep. The hope is that by the time you get to items like photos and cards, you will be well-practiced in letting go of items and will be able to make better, well thought out decisions.
Clothing is the first category. You begin by grabbing every single item you own and place it all on your living room floor to sort through. Instead of tackling this category each time you get to a different room that contains clothing, you complete it all in the same go. Doing it this way allows you to see everything you own so you can make a more informed decision about what you need and want to keep.
Ask Yourself If it “Sparks Joy”
I usually struggle with deciding what to get rid of and what to keep. The most common advice is to get rid of everything you haven’t used within a certain time frame. But in the past, I would hang on to items regardless of how old it was or how much disliked it. I would convince myself that it would have been a waste to toss things that had some life left in them. That made getting rid of anything a real challenge.
However, the KonMari Method suggests that you ask yourself if the item you are considering “sparks joy” and base your decision off of that one measure. I really like this idea and think it will be highly effective in many areas of my home. It will be interesting to see how this method plays out in the end because there are things needed to run a household that may or may not “spark joy”. I’m not yet certain how they will be dealt with but I plan to figure it out!
Overall, I think this will be a great technique that will help us only hold on to the things we truly love.
Choose What You Will Keep
Another difference in the KonMari Method compared to others is that instead of choosing what to get rid of, you choose what you will keep. Instead of asking yourself if you hate an item and want to discard it, you ask if you love an item and have to keep it. I think approaching if from this angle could help to drastically reduce the number of items that are kept. If you only throw out what you hate, you will still end up with things that you are indifferent towards. By only keeping what you love you will ensure that every part of your home reflects you in the best possible way.
In her book, Kondo often tells stories about her clients who reduce their belongings to a fourth and sometimes a fifth of what they had started out with because they approach their belongings with this keep-only-what-you-love attitude. At first, the thought of getting rid of so much scared me a bit, but the more I thought about it, the more I grew to like the idea. It seems like it would be so freeing to say goodbye to everything we have held on to “just because”.
Keep Storage Simple
When it comes to storing your belongings, Kondo recommends not doing so until you have addressed each category and decluttered your entire home. She claims that this is the smartest and most efficient way to discover what your exact storage needs will be.
When the time comes to store your items, she suggests first using shoe boxes to organize and only buying prettier containers once you are happy with the placement of everything. For the most part, I think this is a great idea because you’ll save money in the beginning and practically eliminate the odds of purchasing storage units that aren’t right for your home.
A Little Odd
I’ll admit, some of her tips are a little too out there for me. She writes about talking to your belongings and thanking them for their service to you. For example, she will thank her clothes for protecting her body or her bed for providing a comfortable place to rest…literally.
Hello, home! Thank you for your shelter.
Thank you, handbag, for holding my wallet and keys.
You have my gratitude, sweet stockings, for providing a cushion to my weary feet.
Although I will likely never speak to my things, I do understand her reasoning behind it and that we should be appreciative of what we have been blessed with. I think taking the time to consider how our belongings help us to get through each day would go a long way to instill a spirit of gratitude and contentment.
Putting It To Practice
Creating an organized, functional, and clutter-free home is something that I have been wanting to do for a long time and I am so excited to get started! Over the next few weeks and months, I plan to work through our home using the KonMari Method. Only time will tell if it will work for our family but I am hopeful for the positive changes it could bring. I’ll be sharing our journey throughout this process so make sure to keep your eyes peeled for the next installment!
P.S. Have you ever tried the KonMari Method before? Did you love it or not? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Comment below!:)