I’m a woman obsessed! Anyone who follows me on Facebook and Twitter will have had me spamming them with photos of newly tidy bits of my house. I’ve discovered konmari and I’m completely hooked.
What is Konmari?
Konmari is a system of de cluttering and organising your home. It was invented by Marie Kondo who wrote a best selling book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying. As soon as I started reading this book I couldn’t put it down. I finished it in 2 days.
There are a few key principles (I’m really just giving a tiny taste of how it works I would completely recommend that you read the book to get the full idea).
- Tidy your house by category not room by room – starting with clothes, books etc.
- Focus on sorting through each category one at a time
- Only keep the items that you really love or love using – the items that give you a spark of joy, this makes you think about your possessions really differently.
- Discard everything that you don’t love before you start storing items.
- The items that you have chosen to keep are then all assigned a specific place to live
The book suggests that you will end up with about a third of your original belongings.
Drowning in possessions
My new devotion to tidying is a bit out of character. I have messy genes. I struggle to keep on top of the never ending housework even though I live in a small house. Over the years we have accumulated a lot of stuff. The kids magnetically attract stuff. It is getting trickier to put things away as a lot of our cupboards and shelves are very full. The boys are into everything and scatter stuff all around the house daily. They are constantly break things they get hold of. We always seem to be loosing stuff. Tidying and cleaning the house eats up way too much of my time.
Could KM be the answer to living a zen like, joyful existence (even with three kids)? I’ve been trying it out to see.
Category 1, clothes
First up was the kids clothes. I was getting fed up with their overflowing clothes drawers and no one being able to find anything to wear. I hated putting washing away so clean washing often built up on an arm chair in the living room which looked really untidy.
We started on my daughter’s clothes. Sofia completely embraced the idea of only keeping things she absolutely loved. She gleefully chucked scratchy jumpers and unloved T-shirts into the discard pile (I think she was delighted to get to exercise her opinion). I blitzed through the boys clothes getting rid of an incredible number of items that were too small, damaged or that the boys don’t like.
It was trickier to go through my clothes. Probably because I’ve paid for all this stuff plus I was worrying that I wouldn’t have any clothes left! I found that if I sorted through things quickly and really trusted my gut feelings I could decide what gave me sparks of joy. In the discard pile went a very expensive dress from Coast (that never felt right), a gap coat, a leather jacket, lots of boring dull clothes and things that don’t suit me since having kids. It reminded me that I love colourful clothes!
I donated everything that was still wearable to charity. This made it a bit easier to part with clothes that were in good condition but that we didn’t love. We ended up with 6 bin bags in total plus about 8 pairs of shoes.
A revelation is the km way of folding and storing your clothes. You arrange all your folded clothes so that they stand up, rather than stacking things on top of each other (as in the photo below). Opening my drawers now makes me happy! You can see everything at a glance so it is much easier to find things.
Category 2, books and magazines
Next up for the cull was books. Sofia helped me with this category too. We binned anything that was damaged and donated all of the books that no one liked (and the ones that I can’t stand reading!). It was a bit harder to decide which adult books to keep. I only kept books I genuinely think we will re-read. It helped that I generally read on my kindle these days so I don’t buy many books anymore. For magazines we just kept current issues and recycled handfuls of old ones.
Category 3, toiletries
I had somehow accumulated an insane number of creams and cosmetics. I had a lot of things that didn’t suit my skin type or makeup that I didn’t like. Some of this was cluttering up my bathroom and some was stashed away in pretty boxes in my bedroom. It was quite cathartic pile it all up and bin anything that I don’t use, although it felt a bit wrong to chuck out full bottles of stuff. I threw away nearly a bin bag full of things.
Verdict so far
Even though I’ve only just started I’m totally convinced by km. You need to be quite committed to ruthlessly sort each category. It has almost given me permission to get rid of stuff that I know I don’t like or need, it is a bit sad to admit I’ve bought lots of things that turned out to be mistakes.
It is generating a lot of rubbish. I think we have binned/donated about 10 bin bags worth of stuff so far. My wheelie bins are full to bursting. I anticipate a lot of charity shop trips to come.
The areas that I have km-ed like the bathroom and our clothes storage look amazing and are much easier to clean. I’ve found lots of lovely things that I’d lost or didn’t even remember we owned. My treasured items have space to breath now, I can see them and appreciate them more. My wardrobe only contains clothes that I genuinely love. My washing is 100% easier to put away and we are wearing more of our clothes as everything is easier to find. I haven’t missed anything that we’ve got rid of so far.
I think some of the categories still to do are going to be quite hard. I’m not looking forward to going through papers or tackling the kids toys plus there is a lot of general bits and bobs that don’t really fit into a category that need sorting out.
I think it will take me at least two months to fully km my house but I’m excited to really go for it. I’ll do some follow up posts along the way to document our km progress. I would really recommend this book. I’ve just started reading the follow up Spark Joy for further km inspiration.