KonMari, that magical unicorn, has (slowly) breathed new life into my musty and messy apartment, and I’m thrilled to share that just a short eight and a half weeks after beginning, KonMari has firmly settled herself into my bedroom and I’m not letting her leave.
For the uninitiated, the KonMari method is a ‘method’ of tidying developed by the ubiquitous Marie Kondo. Kondo began her tidying business in Japan, and has published two books explaining her (very) unique method: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Spark Joy (released in January 2016, this is the ‘illustrated companion’ to the first book). I’ve read the first, and have my name down at the library for the second.
The core premise of the KonMari method is to: 1. remove everything that doesn’t spark joy; 2. put everything that remains away in its place. Rinse and repeat, forever and ever and ever. It’s extremely simple, but the simplicity is what makes it so effective. You read the book and go ‘well, duh’. And that’s always a nice change to having to tunnel your way through complicated ideas and systems and programs to get to some kind of solution to your fear of facing overstuffed drawers, baskets and corners of your home.So the ‘well duh’ moment you have reading about life changing magic is a welcome experience.
I KonMari’d the bathroom, and remain thrilled at how effective the process has been. Seven weeks later, everything still lives nicely in its place. The drawers look as good as they did when I first cleaned them. Nothing manages to breed on the bathroom counter; in fact, the total number of items remaining continues to decline as I use things up because I actually know I have them, instead of buying eighteen of the same thing because I can’t locate it in overstuffed ‘storage drawers’ which I’m too scared to confront. The total percentage of items removed stays at 43%, and the aim is to work my way down to 60% by the end of 2016.
Thanks to the overwhelming success in the bathroom, I let KonMari into the bedroom. This ended up being a very long and tortuous process. Unlike the bathroom, which I smashed out in a jetlagged day, the bedroom involved a lot of emotion, frustration and laziness. I also cheated. Marie Kondo, the oracle of tidiness, says one must remove and reduce before one may purchase any form of storage. However, Ikea got the better of me, and I got some extra drawers for my existing Pax unit, in the dream of folding and storing my clothes like Marie does. Totally worth it, as I build the drawers myself (what a legend), and they did become an integral part of succeeding in this process. But I digress.
First, I took a good hard look at my wardrobe. Then I also looked at my floor, under my bed, and in some random wire baskets I have because my clothes lived everywhere. Embarrassingly, I also looked in the boyf’s section of clothing storage, because my clothes seem to wander off and hide under all kinds of glorious piles.
I’m getting heart palpitations just looking at those photos. In case you can’t tell, this level of total catastrophe was a cause of constant and significant stress. It was impossible to sleep well, and I was constantly overwhelmed at the sheer impossibility of addressing this disaster.
But not for long! Consistently with rule one, I made a tragic pile of all of my clothes on the bed (I couldn’t take a photo because the boyf and I got in a fight about the fact I was never going to deal with all of this mess [initiated by me] and that I was incapable of being tidy [also claimed by me] and that we were going to have to sleep on the floor [also initiated by me]). But I assure you, it was large enough to bury you.
I took a deep breath, looked to the sky, and summoned the power of Kondo to help me through this emotionally confronting moment of working out what of my clothes sparked joy. A deep breath later, a vast number of my clothes were in a garbage bag.
I ended up getting rid of 80 items of clothing. Many got donated to the Salvos. Quite a few became subject to my eBay experiments and have gone on to spark joy for others around the country thanks to the magic of eBay. And the rest were thanked for all they do for me, properly hung, or folded (in the tri-fold way), and put away. And finally, finally, some peace and order has been restored.
- Being honest with myself. There were so many things I’d held on to over the years, such as shirts from my exchange program, and dresses I’d worn for a special occasion, that I just knew didn’t spark joy but I wasn’t ready to let go of. But once I’d delved in, you could feel it within seconds of picking up the item – it was time to say goodbye. And it was necessary to just do it, and move on.
- Actually picking up each item. Something about picking up the item focusses you on the actual thing you’re holding, and you can ask some pretty tough questions.
- Moving quickly in bagging up the ‘nos’ and getting them out of the house. The longer I looked at the goodbye items, the more those old connections came back and I was desperate to return it back to my wardrobe. But once they were out of sight, they were out of mind.
- Having drawers before I finished my work (my personal piece of rebellion against the KonMari method). Knowing that my space was going to need to change to accommodate what I would keep meant I could make some smart decisions in advance so that I actually had somewhere to put all this crap.
- The folding. I love the KonMari folding. I don’t know why because folding sucks, but for some reason, I’m totally hooked.
What didn’t work?
- Taking my time. I got really stressed out having piles of crap everywhere. And whenever I did the washing, I had nowhere to put the washing…and then nothing changed for a while. Set aside a weekend, tackle the job through the end and be able to enjoy the benefits.
So Marie Kondo remains my favourite person on the planet. I love her method, I love having an organised space, and I love actually living a bit like a grown up for once – as in, someone who puts things away and has drawer dividers and gets a thrill from folding and goes, ‘Saturday night! Perfect opportunity for laundry and tidying while thinking of organising and how to optimise my space!’
It’s awesome. I hope you find your own brand of awesome through the KonMari method too.