I’m a big fan of Marie Kondo and her KonMari method of organization. In December I re-read all of Marie Kondo’s books and I am in the process of using the KonMari method to get my life in order. If you are a longtime reader, you might know that I did this once already. You are right. It didn’t stick as well as I had hoped.
If you aren’t familiar with the KonMari method, it boils down to a few basic ideas:
- Finish discarding everything before you start tidying. Do it all at once, intensely and completely.
- Keep only those things which spark joy. Visualize the life you want after you tidy and instead of focusing on what to get rid of, focus on what you want to keep.
- Tidy by category, not by location. Go in order: clothing, books, papers, miscellaneous, sentimental.
- Treasure who you are now and thank the possessions you are discarding for getting out there. I didn’t thank everything individually but as I let go of certain items I am trying to thank them for the purpose they served before moving on.
- Store like with like. This should be obvious but it’s been a game changer as I’ve started moving all of my clothing, shoes, etc. into designated spaces. In this vein I’d also add: put things back where they belong the moment you finish with them.
- Vertical storage is key. You can find things at a glance and everything is easier to get to.
- Follow your intuition. There’s no right answer for how much to keep or discard, focus on what you love and when you hit that sweet spot that’s “just right” you’ll know you have enough.
- Appreciate your possessions. This goes back to thanking that which you discard and also treating items with respect.
In re-reading her books (I’d recommend starting with the original The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up or the manga adaptation rather than going for Spark Joy which feels very superfluous.) I realized I had been doing KonMari completely wrong in my previous attempts. I stopped midway through. I never finished discarding. I didn’t think about who I wanted to be once I was tidier. These were my mistakes.
So now I’m doing it all again.
The lifestyle I want:
My goal is pretty simple. I want to have more space in my storage areas in the apartment. I want to be able to find everything in one go. I want to think less about finding things and more about if I want to start yoga or sitting down to write or craft.
Last weekend in a fit of hubris I got the process started and KonMari’d all of my clothes, shoes, and handbags. It was a lot.
But something amazing happened as I started with my shirts. I got to one and realized I felt nothing. It did not, in fact, spark joy. It sparked no emotion at all. It went right into a bag of things to donate along with a lot of other stuff. All told I donated four bags of clothes and one suitcase that I knew in my heart I didn’t need anymore.
When I started sorting my dresses I found two that I had bought spares of to save because I knew they’d wear out quickly. I let go of the older, worn dresses and was shocked when I realized how much happier the new dresses felt as hung them in my closet. I even made a subtle change to store my shoes and they all actually fit in one place now.
KonMari recommends waiting to figure out storage, but my options are pretty set since I’m not buying new furniture or anything so i decided to finish up clothing storage before moving on. KonMari recommends arranging a closet from light to dark with things moving up (in length and lightness of color) and to the right. I never thought this mattered and instead arranged my closet according to the ROYGBIV color spectrum because I am that person. This time, since I am all in, I followed Kondo’s advice.
I still hang more than she recommends because I hate folding and am very bad at it (and don’t have storage space for it) but I arranged my hanging tops, dress and skirts with an up and to the right mindset. I can’t believe how well it’s working. I am finding things more easily and I am actually happier every time I reach into my closet now. Also, even though I felt like I hadn’t made a ton of progress after I reorganized and hanged everything I realized I had reduced the space I was using by half.
I had a few things that I wanted to wait and try on but as if the clothing sensed what was coming, these decisions have become very easy. The boots I kept because they were so warm hurt my feet, the pants I saved for the dead of winter ripped when I went to put them on. It’s as if my wardrobe is helping me to finish these last decisions.
Things I still have to do: My sweater storage is a mess. Vertical folding storage (KonMari approved) is hard with bulky sweaters and I’m still figuring out how to deal with that. I think my next step is making one drawer in my dress for pullovers and lighter things I can actually fold and then leaving the heavier button downs elsewhere. I have been wearing so many of my sweaters lately (it’s freezing here) that this has become low priority for now especially while I decide what to do.
I have covered all aspects of clothing now except for jewelry and hair accessories. I’m hoping to tackle both of those this weekend–maybe even as you’re reading this post–with the help of a new jewelry box and some freshly acquired insight in the form of my joy radar.
My plan is to try and tackle one area every weekend until I’m done (sentimental might be quick because I’m just not discarding photos–it’s not who I am) but this might end up running a little longer with having to take down holiday decorations and some other family obligations.
I will be blogging about the entire process though so stay tuned!