So lets back up. Years ago, and I mean years, 2014 to be exact; I got a stack of books from my husband for Christmas. We have several traditions; one of which is always exchanging books on Christmas morning with breakfast.
Now in hindsight, this was not my proudest moment, but live and learn right? Opening the books Christmas morning, among various parenting books, kids food recipe books….is this book ; The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. All it took was reading that cover, and GAME OVER! My opinionated, independent woman brain immediately went into defensive mode. “Why on earth would he give me books on organizing? Does he think that’s my job? Is that supposed to be a suggestion for me as a woman? Is he trying to tell me I’m not doing a good job at this stay at home mom thing?” Yup….my brain went into vomit mode and it wasn’t pretty.
Needless to say, I should have known him better than that. This was coming from a guy, that for fun, watches youtube tutorials to learn. He sits down at the end of the night and learns a new code for computer “stuff”, how to build a 3D printer, how to make a crib….the list goes on and on. So when he gave me this pile of books, in his head, he was giving me the gift of control.
He was trying to help me learn how to take control and master something new. A new way that would help me to be happier. Once again, he knew me better than I knew myself. Well, at the time I was too butt-hurt to be excited about them, let alone read. As a result, they got forgotten in my book box; gradually inching closer to the bottom as I read through my fun novels.
Eye opening Christmas in Brazil
Fast forward to this Christmas when I was in Brazil with our kids, and he was back home in Bozeman. Read more about that adventure of traveling alone with 3 kiddos if you want a good laugh 🙂 My phone dinged as a notification alert from WhatsApp came through from him inquiring if I would take a look at this awesome documentary he had just watched.
Ummm, good thing he was thousands of miles away and missed my massive eye roll at this suggestion. Again, a guy that loves learning and documentaries. Me? I’m a busy mama. At the end of a crazy day, I’ve always love sitting down for a movie or tv show while I fold the laundry or feed the baby. Learning and thinking at the end of a hectic day just didn’t sound relaxing to be honest.
Well, I started a new side gig a little over a year ago. A huge part of that business is personal development (aka this book he gave me 5 years ago). Well, I’ve grown to love that part of my business. I’ve read some amazing books and they truly are changing the way I think, approach life and have also helped me to be happier and know myself better.
So in the spirit of that new train of thought, I decided for once….I would take his advice. (If he is reading this…..he’s jaw is probably on the floor and he’s ready to go buy some lottery tickets. This is a very rare occasion 🙂
I had gotten 6 of the 7 kiddos in bed, and only one left was
Before leaving for Brazil, I had felt like I was drowning and failing in all of
Where to begin…
When I came home, I had already started planning my first areas to attack; my office drawers, kitchen drawers and bedroom closet. So alongside watching the series, I went and dug that little book out from the bottom of the pile. Since then, I’ve started to work my way through and implement her suggestions.
Every time I pick it up, I kick myself for taking offense to a gift that was the most thoughtful gift he could share with me. He wanted me happy and relaxed. He was sharing a solution to my stress back then.
Well, maybe you’ll learn from my mistakes and hear me out on why this method could change your life through the process of simplification?
To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose.Marie Kondo
*DISCLAIMER* I’ve seen various posts floating around Facebook criticizing this way of organization. I ask one thing….read this and approach with an open mind.
My interpretation of this method is not that we are required to give up everything, or that we should do something that makes us unhappy just for the sake of following her method. GOODNESS NO! If as you are reading, she makes a suggestion, and it sparks anger in you (or a similar feeling), then don’t do it!
She may suggest pairing down to just a couple of pairs of shoes. Or drastically reducing your book or music collection. But here is the thing, if those items bring you JOY, true happiness; then keep the darn shoes!
My interpretation is take the overall idea, and use it to help simplify your life so you spend more time on what is most important for you. Remove the excess and leave the joy.
What is Konmari?
Ok, now that you know all the reasons that you should jump in and give this a try and not wait like me….Let me get to the main point; What is the Konmari method?
Contrary to what I first believed, Konmari isn’t an actual word; it is a method based off the name of its inventor, Marie Kondo.
A Japanese author, and organization specialist, this is her method for de-cluttering homes and lives which in turn de-clutters our minds. The idea behind the de-cluttering is to differentiate between the items that ‘spark joy’ and those that don’t.
How it is different
Differing from other organizational methods, hers follows the idea of organizing by section, instead of room by room. This method allows you to begin a organizational process that is a means to a end. She teaches that if you properly simplify and organize your home, then you shouldn’t have to do it again.
This idea of organizing by category, addresses beginning with areas that are perhaps easier to tackle, then finally ending with the hardest area in which to let items go, sentimental items.
This journey allows you to master the concept of what truly brings you joy through items that speak to your heart and therefore should be kept. Items that no longer trigger this feeling, should be ‘thanked’ for their service; then let go.
What is ‘Sparking Joy?’
‘Spark Joy’. Truthfully, when I first heard this term, I raised my eyebrows at the idea a little. How was an item supposed to spark joy? After continuing to read, her thought began to make more sense.
Ponder for a moment about something that makes you really happy. Maybe it is cuddling a little puppy? Maybe it is hearing your child’s deep, genuine belly laugh; or maybe its laying on the beach with perfect weather and hearing waves crash while the sun warms your face? (Can you tell what mine
Now when you think of whatever that is for you; pay attention to that little zing of pleasure
This focus on your feelings allows you to let go of possessions in your home that have served their purpose, and instead only surround yourself with items that bring you joy and speak to your heart.
The action of touch is another factor that Kondo places importance on. As you go through each section on your de-cluttering journey, every item should be held between your hands before making a decision. If the item makes you feel that joy; through a fond memory of how amazing you felt when you glanced in the mirror wearing it, then you should keep it! But if it never quite fit right, or you feel anything other than that ‘joy’, then its time to let it go.
This idea of giving thanks is applied to all other items in your home as you work your way through the various sections.
Ready to jump on the KonMari band wagon? Here is what to do next:
Step 1 / Ideal lifestyle
Before anything, you need to imagine your ideal lifestyle. What is there? What is not? Try to focus on what you imagined as you begin this process of deciding whether an item speaks to your heart and therefore should be kept.
Step 2 / Section by section
Start with a certain section of the house to tackle. As you conquer each section, move on to the next and so forth. She suggests going in this order and not skipping around! :
Komono (kitchen, bathroom, garage and miscellaneous)
Step 3 / Break it down
Choose an area within the section to tackle first. Instead of jumping into all closets at once for example, start with just one. Begin wherever you are most motivated to purge, and go from there! Doesn’t matter if its your closet or the coat closet, just get going!
Step 4 / Remove everything
Once you have chosen the area in which to begin, remove everything! I mean everything. Empty the space and place it in a big pile. This allows you to to see just how much “stuff” you have accumulated.
Step 5 / Sorting
Arrange three boxes for sorting. One for items to keep (they ‘spark joy’ ), a second for donating, and a third to discard . (I did a minor tweak on this one and it worked well for me. I added a fourth box for items to re-home. Anyone else have items that don’t belong there but somewhere along the way, got stuffed? Yup, this fourth box is for those items).
Step 5 / Thank you
Pick up each item one at a time, and hold it in both hands. Determine how it makes you feel and separate accordingly. She suggests thanking each item before moving onto the next.
Once you have gone through all the items, you are ready to put them back!
A suggestion if you are having difficulty purging and discarding items “in case you need it later.” Take yhe donate box and determine a spot to store it in the garage. Decide on an appropriate amount of time to wait, and MARK IT IN YOUR PHONE/CALENDER! When that date arrives, if you haven’t yet used anything, then it is truly time to let it go. This helped me to let go of more than what I wanted to at the time.
Keep in mind as you are going through this process, it is going to get worse before it gets better. But if you stick with it, you are bound to be able to wrangle your possessions, and gain control of the clutter. So stay committed to the process, and know that there is an end 🙂
Have you tried this method in your home? What have you found? Any suggestions that you can share with the rest of us?