Do you ever look around your house and feel like there’s just too much stuff? Almost like it starts to crowd your headspace as well? That’s how I started feeling towards the end of last year. We decided to replace one of the shelves that had fallen down in our closet a couple of years ago. Yes, a couple of years ago. This is what homeownership is really like. Lol. I also decided it would be the perfect time to get rid of some clothes and declutter the rest of our home as well. I chose to use the KonMari Method to do so. And now that we’ve lived with the changes for seven months, I want to share how it went.
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When we were replacing the broken shelf, I also decided that I needed to go through all my clothes. There were some things I hadn’t worn in years and some things I had never worn at all.
However, before I tackled my clothes I wanted to read a book that had been on my book list for quite some time. This was especially important to me since one of my goals for this year was to read at least four books because I haven’t been doing a good job with reading At. All.
It just so happens that the book I wanted to read also had a Netflix series to go along with it. I’m sure by now you’ve heard of Marie Kondo if you have Netflix or any social media account for that matter. If you haven’t, she’s the author of The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up and well known for her love of… tidying. She uses her method known as the KonMari Method to help people transform their spaces through decluttering and organizing into places that only have things that bring them joy.
Why The KonMari Method?
I’ve tried other methods, but they didn’t work well enough when it came to my clothes. I’ve tried getting rid of stuff that I didn’t wear often and even stuff that I didn’t wear for a year. But, I’d always tell myself that I was going to keep some of the items longer because it still looked good and looked good on me. However, another year would pass and I wouldn’t wear it. But I still wouldn’t get rid of it either. That’s where the KonMari Method helped me.
One of the key things about the KonMari Method is deciding whether to discard something or keep something based on whether or not the item brings you joy. This was like my “a-ha” moment. Just by asking myself if the item of clothing brought me joy, I was able to take that extra step to get rid of clothes that I hadn’t been able to get rid of before. It also helped when it came to other items such as shoes, jewelry, and scarves.
She recommends tidying by category instead of by room – starting with clothes, books, papers, Komono (miscellaneous items) and ending with sentimental items. The thought is to start with the area that it would be easiest to discard items and end with the hardest area, sentimental items.
While I can see the importance of doing it by category, it wasn’t feasible for me. I chose to tidy by room, but I did gather things that were supposed to be in that room if I knew for sure that they weren’t where they belonged.
For the purposes of this post and to not make it as long as a book, I’ll just cover clothing and the kitchen.
While neither of us likes excessive clutter it would still happen from time to time, especially in our closet and kitchen. Omar’s wardrobe is minimal. And mine is more than sufficient. However, there was still room for improvement on both of our parts. The truth is that we both had things that we didn’t wear. Some of it is because it didn’t fit and some of it is because we just didn’t like the item anymore. So why clutter up our closet with stuff we don’t use?
Does This Bring Me Joy?
While I like the question of, “Does this bring me joy?” to help decide whether or not to keep an item, I do think there’s a flaw with it as well. When it comes to clothing, for example, I did choose to keep some things that don’t bring me joy per se. Since we still have some home projects to work on and we work outside in the yard as well, I did decide to keep some old sweats and shirts. This way I won’t ruin any of my good clothes nor will I be tempted to go shopping.
Something that stood out to me in the book was how hard it is to discard something you’ve never used or something that’s expensive. Marie Kondo says to still discard it because if you’ve never used it, you’re not going to. So thank the item for the joy it brought you at the moment you bought it or received it, and then discard it. While I didn’t thank the items, what she said definitely resonated with me and made it easier to get rid of some more things.
Kondo also has her own method for folding clothes, and I like it for the most part. The way she recommends folding clothes creates a lot more useable space, especially for our kids’ drawers. However, it can be a bit tedious trying to remember how to fold different items so that everything fits neatly. And forget about it if you’re in a rush and just ready to be finished with folding clothes. Also, I had to show Omar how to fold the clothes and repeated this a couple of times before he remembered. We both have the folding of our clothes down to a science. However, folding the baby’s sleep n’ play outfits and onesies as well as our oldest son’s shorts and pajamas are always a work in progress every time I do their laundry. But I guess practice makes perfect, right?
I didn’t get rid of a lot of the kids’ clothing, especially since we have two boys… Hello, hand-me-downs! But I did get rid of some of the things that I know our youngest won’t be able to wear because he was born in a different season compared to his brother. I also got rid of some of the things that our oldest son didn’t really wear that much or at all because I figure that if I didn’t dress him in it, I still wasn’t going to dress the baby in it neither.
** editor’s note: I first started writing my thoughts about the KonMari Method three months after using it. Now that it’s been seven months, I no longer have any trouble with remembering how to fold any of the clothes. I’ve also gone back through my clothes and the kids’ clothes especially and got rid of even more stuff. What prompted it with the kids’ clothes is when I was pulling out Spring/Summer clothes for the baby and going through stuff for the upcoming Fall/Winter season. I thought that I had gone through everything until I pulled a container out of the closet and realized it was full of more clothes. It was so much stuff that I had enough to keep, share, and donate!
The system I had going in our pantries wasn’t working. No matter how often I reorganized everything, someone would always put something in the wrong place. And sometimes we would end up with more duplicates than needed because of this. I don’t know which one drove me crazier!
With our food pantry, it was a matter of reorganizing how I had the items on the shelves. And another big thing was emptying the boxes that once lined my pantry floor. The boxes came from my mom’s pantry. And come to find out, most of the stuff was expired! After I moved the boxes, rearranged the shelves, and added some better storage containers, the pantry looked a lot better.
With our second pantry that’s for extra kitchen appliances, toiletries, and miscellaneous household items, I basically did the same thing. I got rid of things that we didn’t use anymore and was taking up space at this point, like an old big George Foreman grill. And I grouped a lot of common items into storage baskets.
The main thing I noticed with organizing the pantries is that I prefer to not have a lot of stuff stored on the floor. It made our pantries feel a lot bigger.
I used a combination of storage containers. Some of the cheaper ones came from Dollar Tree (this place is great for things like this; I had no idea!). These were used to hold snacks, drinks, and seasoning packets in the food pantry. And in the other pantry, they were used to hold cleaning towels and group like items.
Some of the more expensive containers were used to hold other food items once they were decanted. The Sistema Storage Containers are perfect for family-size cereal and baking needs (sugar, flour, etc.). The Oxo POP Storage Containers are perfect for pasta noodles, grains, and bulk items if you get the larger size. I also used Ball Wide Mouth Mason Jars. They’re perfect for dry beans, nuts, and in the fridge for fresh fruits & vegetables.
Do I Agree With Everything In The KonMari Method?
There’s a lot of things I agree with when it comes to items to discard when using the KonMari Method. For example:
- Manuals for appliances and electronics because we never use them anyways. Instead, we use Google.
- Bank statements. Old checkbooks. We’ve never kept these and went paperless for bank statements a long time ago.
- Random cords, buttons, etc. Interesting enough, it was kind of hard to let go of old cords and chargers. However, we had no idea what some of them belonged to, so we discarded them.
Some of the things I don’t agree with discarding, but is recommended, include:
- Extra blankets and pillows for visitors. We won’t be getting rid of our extras since we don’t have a lot of “extra” anyways.
- The box from something we bought. We won’t throw boxes away immediately as suggested in case we need to return or exchange. I’ve learned this the hard way. However, we throw it away as soon as we’re sure we’re keeping the item.
How Has The KonMari Method Affected Our Family?
Eventually, after watching me tidy my things and how nicely they now looked, Omar wanted his items to look the same. So he went through his clothing as well as his bedside table after seeing how good my bedside table looked. He wanted me to do his bedside table for him, but I said no because you’re not supposed to get rid of other people’s things when using the KonMari Method (lol).
Another change that was prompted since the KonMari Method is that I switched around where we keep our shoes that we wear often. They use to be in the laundry room, which is right by the garage door. However, I moved the shoe rack to the hall closet so that we could put up our shoes and jackets/coats all at the same time. This also helps with the shoes actually making it onto the rack instead of next to it since the closet is smaller than the laundry room. Even our oldest son has been doing a good job at this as well. It’s nice to have their support in trying to keep our home tidy.
Using the KonMari Method is a long process. The process is long by itself, but throw in a couple of young kids and all of us taking turns being sick throughout this year, it felt like it took me forever! I started the process at the beginning of January and we’re still not completely finished with our home. This is in part due to summer break. I basically took the summer off from decluttering until our oldest son went back to school. Now that he’s back in school, I’m slowly getting back into it.
We have certain things left to do in the office and garage in regards to organizing. We’ve already gotten rid of most of the things that we don’t need. And we have the basement left to do as well as sentimental items. And honestly, I’ll probably go through my clothes and the kids’ clothes again.
Overall, I like the KonMari Method and have found it to be beneficial for us. If you’ve tried decluttering in the past and it didn’t work, I would suggest reading, The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up, and then giving the KonMari Method a try. It’s a lifestyle change that’s worth it in more ways than one.
- The Book That Started This All: The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up
- Sistema Storage Containers: cereal container | large container w/ measuring cup | medium container w/ measuring cup | small container
- Oxo Storage Containers: 5 piece set | 5.8 qt | 3.7 qt | 2.3 qt
- Wide Mouth Mason Jars: 64 oz| 32 oz| 16 oz| plastic lids
- Wall Mounted Wire Rack: ClosetMaid 4-tier wall rack
Have you ever decluttered and organized your home? What was the process like for you?
Feature Image: Unsplash