We read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up in my book club, and I have to say, it really is magic. If you haven’t heard already about Marie Kondo’s book about how to tidy up for the last time, this post will tell you what the KonMari Method is all about. If you already know what it’s about, but don’t want to tackle the life-changing magic yourself, hopefully this post will help convince you.
The basic explanation for the KonMari Method is that you only keep things that spark joy. You don’t choose what you’re throwing out, you choose what you’re keeping, and you choose with joy. You hold everything in your hands and feel if there is joy. If there is, keep it. If not, thank it, and put it aside. I know that this sounds silly, and this one idea seems to have prevented a lot of people from doing the method. It feels strange to thank an object, but it really made sense to me.
On the section on clothes, she wrote about how there are things we buy, but never wear. I had a couple shirts I had bought for $2, but never liked to wear. Her philosophy on this is that I already got the joy out of them – the moment I got a great deal, that was the joy. But if they don’t continue to bring joy, that’s okay, let them go. Thank them for the joy they brought and move on. It was such a relief to be given permission to let go of something.
Another thing I had a hard time with was my box of clothes from college. These clothes no longer fit me, but I’ve kept them. Perhaps I hold out hope to be that size again, but the reality is that if I were ever that size again, I won’t want to wear dated, old clothes. There was one skirt, in particular, that I have been holding onto. I have to admit that holding it, thinking about my memories of it, thanking it, and putting it in the charity box with all the hopes and dreams of the future owner all helped me let go of it. I know that all my memories will remain, even if I don’t have the skirt anymore. Memories of my sweet basketball skills included:
Jesse and I have been living in this house for almost six years. That means the last time we went through all our stuff was six years ago, and even then, we just threw things in boxes and moved them from one place to another. I know that I had some boxes that had moved with my parents from house to house and finally to my house, never having been opened. Honestly, knowing that those boxes were in my attic stressed me out.
We started with clothes, and brought each and every article of clothing out to the living room and created clothes mountains. There were things like the skirt that I was sad to get rid of, but knowing that they didn’t bring me joy anymore, it was easy to put them in the donate pile. The girls’ clothes were easier to do that my own. I have a few boxes of clothes for the girls. I’m keeping some outfits forever and ever. I’m keeping some to turn into a quilt or two. I’m keeping some to pass on to future nieces.
Next was books. Another thing in the book said that if you bought a book a few years ago and never read it, you will probably never read it. There will never come a time that you look at your bookshelf and decide that it is finally time. The joy was in the buying, and every time you see the book on your self, you feel guilty that you never read it. This was totally true for so many of my books! I would love to have a whole library full of books, someday, but I know that I don’t need to fill it with books that don’t spark joy. We sold a bunch of books, then donated the rest.
Kitchen and bathroom stuff was next. The kitchen was awesome, and my mom helped me reorganize all the things that spark joy. I love the flow so much better now. The bathroom cracked me up. We had so much crap! Serious crap. Expired pills, random broken hair elastics, four Sonicare chargers, old gross lotions. The photo above is everything pulled out of all the cabinets and drawers (not what our counters usually look like… haha!). It feels so much better to open a drawer and see everything and know that it’s all useful.
It took me a long time to get to the next part of the KonMari Method. This was the mementos and keepsakes. This was those boxes that had followed me around for almost two decades. The photo above is everything I’m getting rid of. That means that I’ve basically moved four separate boxes that I should have thrown out every time I’ve moved. Isn’t that sort of depressing? What you don’t see pictured are the two small boxes of photos and keepsakes that I decided to save. It seriously stressed me out, knowing that there were boxes and boxes of this stuff up in the attic. I knew that I didn’t want to just get rid of the photos, but the thought of putting the vast numbers of photos in albums was dizzying. Now I have a shoebox sized box full of photos. I can totally tackle that someday and get them all in albums. Not dizzying anymore.
I’ll get to the Autumn decor, Christmas, and other seasonal decorations as they come, but I’m not going to take something back up to the attic that I don’t want to keep there.
So, the verdict? I love the KonMari Method. It feels great. I feel more free. I love seeing tidy surfaces and drawers. It’s hard with kids since they grow so quickly and seem to play with so many things, but it’s worth it. I have gone through their toys a few times since the first time, and I can usually find a few toys that don’t spark joy anymore. I also really think before I buy them something new. Do they really need this item? Will it be something that sparks joy in the long-term? Usually the answer is no, and it’s easy to just put it back on the shelf.
If you’re wondering, I feel like the book has already served its purpose in my life, so I passed it on.