The Konmari method has inspired many to tidy up their homes. But, will your home really be as tidy a few years down the road?
There has been a ton of new interest in the Konmari method of tidying recently. With the Netflix series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, it doesn’t come as a surprise. I love seeing the excitement of the Konmari newbies and have to admit I’m a bit jealous that they are only on the brink of this whole tidying experience. You see, I already read the book and completed the process three years ago after my first child turned one. It was a delightful experience and has prompted some lasting changes within our home. But to be honest, there are also some parts of this process that have been complete flops for us.
What is the Konmari Method?
The Konmari method is a method for getting your home in order. It differs from other organizational methods in 4 main ways:
- One fell swoop. The process has you complete your entire home in “one fell swoop”. None of this “discard one item each day” business. Once you start, you’re in it for the long-haul.
- Category is king. Instead of tidying by room, the process has you tidy by category. This helps you really see how much of any given type of item you have, and corral them all in a common location.
- Discard first. The process has you discarding items before even thinking about where to store them.
- Listen to your heart. Instead of weighing the pros and cons of each item, asking yourself when the last time you used it, considering how valuable it is, or whatever, the Konmari method has you refer to your heart. You hold each item in your hands and listen to whether your heart is lifted up or brought down. If it’s lifted up, Marie Kondo would say that the item “sparks joy” for you.
My Initial Experience with the Konmari Method
After I completed the Konmari method three years ago, our home was transformed. Instead of piles of baby gear, clothes, and remnants of my “old” life (that I had no desire to bring back), we were surrounded by a sort of peaceful semi-minimalism peppered with all the things that spark joy for us.
The process took me about three months. As my husband would tell you, I didn’t mess around. I took regular trips to Goodwill, posted items for sale, and filled up our trash bins to overflowing. Our neighbors must have thought we were nuts!
After it was all said and done, I found the process and the results to be absolutely liberating. I was kind of obsessed and didn’t want the tidying to end. I read as many books as I could find on cultivating a more peaceful and orderly home. I couldn’t get enough!
I remember realizing for the first time that maybe babies don’t need three different bouncer seats. Maybe I don’t need seven pairs of jeans (six of which I haven’t worn in years). Maybe I don’t need to jump on that new fashion or home trend after all because I kinda like the way my closet and home are right now and sure as heck don’t want to tamper with it thankyouverymuch!
How the Konmari Method Changed My Habits
As I alluded to above, one of the biggest transformations was in my shopping habits. After completing the Konmari method, I didn’t want to add anything to our space unless it was absolutely fabulous. I opted for purchases that would serve a variety of purposes, like using a set of versatile tumblers as all-purpose drinkware instead of beverage-specific glasses and developing a more versatile, back-to-basics capsule wardrobe instead of jumping on whatever fashion trend I saw at the moment.
I started taking my time with shopping. If I need a new jacket, I won’t buy one unless it sparked joy. In fact, while trying clothes on, I don’t engage in that internal debate on whether I should buy a certain piece. Instead of weighing the pros and cons in my mind, I do the joy check in my heart.
My daily tidying habits have changed too, but this admittedly took much longer than the actual process. I’m still refining these habits, but they are much better than they were three years ago!
My ongoing challenge in this area: Kids!
My kids will tote just about anything they can all over the house. Whether they bring their toys from the playroom to the living room or carry the blankets from the bedrooms to the kitchen, it is endless. My house feels cluttered almost all the time because they are constantly bringing things out of their “homes” and leaving them where they don’t belong.
[Shrugs shoulders and accepts defeat.]
Konmari Method | Do I still fold my clothes using the Konmari Method?
Yes. Keyword: “MY”
With two kids 4 and under, I feel like I’m always doing laundry. My husband and my clothes are either hung up (with matching hangers, yay!) or folded Konmari style and I will never go back. I love how easily I can access each item, and how orderly our closet looks.
My ongoing challenge in this area: My kids’ clothes!
I tried so many times to fold them beautifully, but the toddler would just open the drawers and tear through them aimlessly. Or, the preschooler would want to help me with laundry by putting her own clothes away. And, let’s be honest. I’d rather encourage helpful habits at this point than obsess over perfectly-organized kid drawers.
I will say that my daughter does like to help me fold from time to time. And she’s getting pretty good! Even if it only lasts for a minute or two, it’s a habit I want to continue to encourage in her.
Konmari Method | How does our book collection look 3 years later?
My husband’s and my books are still organized in the Konmari style in our office. Each one sparks joy and the collection is pretty easy to manage. Whenever I read a new book, it’s usually on my Kindle. I love having an entire collection of books in one slim reader. But sometimes I still like the feel of good ol’ paper. Once I finish a hardcopy book, I usually donate it to the local library.
My ongoing challenge in this area: The kids’ books! (Are you seeing a trend yet? Ha!) I keep trying to pare their books down, but the collection continues to grow.
And you know what?
I love it. I love reading with my kids and I want them to love it too.
I do try to pay attention to when a particular book has grown “stale” and then donate it. But otherwise, it’s a battle I choose not to fight. I do remind my kids on a daily basis (or more often, actually) to pick up their books and put them away. Maybe one of these days, the message will get through. 😉
Konmari Method | Are we buried in papers again?
No! And I’m not gonna lie. This category was probably the most challenging, yet most rewarding. We used to have a giant file cabinet and I used to save every.single.paper. Not anymore, baby! We had already switched bills to paperless, so just about everything else we get goes straight into the trash. We now have one small file bin for tax documents, and an accordion folder for personal items. I love knowing exactly where to find a paper if I need it.
My biggest challenge in this area: Solved (at least temporarily)! When it comes to the kids’ artwork, that’s a different story. My daughter loves crafts and makes new creations every day! She likes to hang them up all around the house. It was cute at first, but then it started driving me a little crazy.
Now, I have a special place on the side of the fridge for her artwork.
I also have a bin (hiding up in a cabinet she can’t see) that acts as a temporary home for my kids’ artwork. If I see one of her many pictures sitting out and she seems to be done with it, I’ll hide it in that bin. If she asks for it, I’ll pull it out. Otherwise, I go through the bin at the end of the school year and decide which ones to keep.
I also love taking digital photos of certain pieces!
Konmari Method | Komono kills me daily
This is Marie Kondo’s “miscellaneous” category. I enjoyed this category three years ago and still reap the benefits when it comes to my own things.
However, just about every other Komono-related item in our house is a toy of some sort. And it buries me on a daily basis. While I try to pursue a semi-minimalist, less-is-more, simplistic approach to play, the toys still accumulate.
But here’s the thing: Even if the toy collection is pared down, our house still looks like a disaster half the time. You know why?
Because the kids actually play with them.
And, I like to think they’re so passionately immersed in their experience of childhood that they usually forget to put the toys away when they’re done.
I know. Shocking, right?
If there’s any category of the Konmari method that has not worked for us, it’s this one. Because of toys. Because of kids. And that’s OK.
While the mess of toys does bother me sometimes, I often like to just stop and look at the toys and picture how my children were enjoying them, what they were imagining, how happy and engaged they were in play.
That alone brings me so much joy.