I know I’m about a year late to the party on this one, but in my Pinterest adventures, I recently stumbled upon the KonMari method of tidying up, and Oh. My. Gosh.
It’s a self-titled method by Marie Kondo, a Japanese decluttering expert (I think we call them professional organizers here, for the most part), and is detailed in her book- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
After reading about people’s experiences and the gist of the method across the internet, I was inspired. And I don’t just mean the sort of inspired that causes a person to speed-clean the kitchen and re-sort a bookshelf or two; I mean the lightning strikes sort of inspired. What I’d read and what I’d seen just clicked with me on a deep level, like it’s what I’ve always believed and felt about cleaning and organizing and I just needed someone to point it out to me. I ordered the book for my birthday present and have been devouring the contents since it arrived Friday. The basic breakdown- discard everything, and decide what to keep by whether it brings you joy -is remarkably simple, but utterly unique in the organizing world.
Marie doesn’t want you to sort your stuff and hide its overabundance behind fancy storage systems and organizational gizmos- she wants you to, one object at a time, thoroughly examine your possessions and find what truly adds to your life and be rid of the rest of it. She prescribes an order to working through each and every thing a person owns and, after you have decided what you truly want in your life, methods for storing it.
There are two major things that this book and method have confirmed for me:
- We have enough space; just too much stuff.
- Most of our stuff is just weighing us down.
She says in her books that her clients she has worked through the KonMari method usually end up with a quarter to a third of the possessions they had at the beginning, and not one has ever regressed into their previously cluttered state afterwards. This sounds incredible, but it makes sense- especially, as she also points out, few people actually realize the scope of what they own. Part of her method is proceeding by category rather than space- all the clothes at once, followed by all the books -and taking everything in the category from every place it is found into one space for decision-making. This shows you how many of something you actually own, bringing the excess to your attention.
The part that I find truly unique (as I mentioned above) is the idea that, when you gather everything up, it is to discard all of it. Your base assumption is that you are throwing (or donating, or selling, if you will realistically take the time and effort to do so in a timely manner) away everything. Yes, everything. Your sorting through is not to decide what to toss, as is the usual prescription (as in, toss anything you haven’t worn/used in a year, anything that’s a duplicate, etc), but on what to keep. It seems trivial, but in changing the mindset of de-cluttering, it really changes the process and the outcome. Joy is your measuring stick- not “Oh, but I only wore it once” or “_____ gave this to me, I can’t get rid of it!” guilt or nostalgia, but true and honest enjoyment of the item in question.
I am excited to get started- I’ve already been doing some preliminary discarding and re-sorting (on clothes, where I am between my “regular” wardrobe and my maternity wear), and some of the areas in my 40 Days of Cleaning project, but I am raring to go on giving our things the full KonMari treatment! I really think this is something that is going to work for us, and that feels great!
Do you know how I know it’s going to work? Because I am excited about the books step. Yes- this dedicated, book-hoarding bibliophile is excited to get rid of books. You read that right. There’s zero trepidation involved here; only drive and excitement, and already I want to buy my hoarding family members copies of her book!
Wish me luck- I’m more than likely going to start in on it tomorrow!