Organization, Joy, and KonMari

A few days ago, the lady I work for, who is totally awesome, introduced me to the KonMari method of organizing. I’ve been trying my entire life to get organized, to purge all of the junk that I don’t need, and to keep the house tidy. This doesn’t come naturally to me. My inability to keep the house orderly causes friction between my husband and me. He is one of those people who was born organized. For him, keeping house is second nature. He’s a minimalist at heart, where I tend to accumulate stuff. So much stuff. Because maybe I might need it one day or I’ll get around to fixing it or sure it’s too small but what if I need it in a pinch? 

This year, after returning home from a lovely Christmas holiday with my parents, I walked into my closet and said, “This is enough.” I had a closet full of clothes that I haven’t worn in more than a year because I mostly just wear the same three outfits day in and day out. I had a pile of shoes that kept me from finding the ones I want. I had stacks of folded clothes that have been pawed through until they’re nothing more than piles. The closet felt like the manifestation of my feeling that I’d lost control of the house. I avoided it, only entering it when I had to, but on December 31st, I walked in and decided, “This is enough. I don’t have to live this way.”

 

I posted about this on facebook, and a few days ago, at work, while chatting with my boss about the new year, the subject of organization came up. We are facebook friends (no, it’s not as weird as you might think it is) and we have both seen each other organizing over the last couple of weeks, me in my closet, her in her bathroom cabinets. She mentioned this thing called KonMari, a Japanese tidying method created by a woman named Marie Kondo. I’d never heard of it, so my boss explained. When you organize, ask yourself:

  • Did this item bring me joy when I purchased it?
  • Does it bring me joy now?

Cue the lightbulb moment!

Do you ever keep things out of guilt? Do you ever look at something and say, “Ugh. I don’t use that anymore, but I can’t get rid of it because so-and-so gave it to me (or I spent good money on it or any other reason why you might keep something that is no longer useful). I guess I have to keep it.”

The KonMari method of tidying is based on the idea that instead of choosing what to get rid of, choose what you want to keep. Choose the things that spark joy and inspiration so that you surround yourself with that feeling of happiness. Here is a youtube video where Marie Kondo describes how her method works. It’s long, I know. But believe me, it’s worth it, and this is coming from someone who won’t watch a youtube video longer than 3 minutes!

 

There is a very specific way to go about doing this, so after watching the video, I snapped up a copy of her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

Thus began The Great New Year’s Eve Closet Purge. I was ruthless. I asked myself:

  • Is it maternity? If yes, donate
  • Is it broken? If yes, can I repair it? If yes, realistically, will I have time to repair it? If no, toss.
  • Does it fit? If no, donate.
  • Does it match other items in my closet? If no, donate. (You’d be amazed how many things I have that I can’t wear because they match absolutely nothing in my closet)
  • Do I enjoy wearing it? If yes, keep. If no, donate.

When I finished, I had a massive pile of clothes to donate (and of course a few that just needed to be pitched), an orderly closet that makes me smile, and a sense of order and control over my clothes that is expanding in tangible ways to other parts of the house.

Sure, I’d already done my closet, but it’s not just my closet that needs to be tidied. It’s my entire house. And wouldn’t it be wonderful to teach my children that instead of buying a bunch of stuff that fills spaces to surround themselves with joy and let go of things that no longer bring happiness?

Have any of you tried the KonMari method? How has it worked for you?

 

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