LOOK MA! NO JUNK!

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I. am. so. excited. about. this. post. Technically, January is National Organizational Month and technically I am an incredibly unorganized person when it comes to my “stuff” but YOU GUYS I DID A THING!

Marie Kondo, the guru around which this post centers, says of the home, “The objective of cleaning is not just to clean, but to feel happiness living within that environment.” There are times in one’s life when all the forces collide to bring one the aforementioned happiness. This, for me, August. I happened to be Facebook stalking reading about some hyper-organized friends, I happened to be heading on a road trip, and I happened to have just received The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up in the mail when my neighbor casually mentioned they were having a garage sale in two weeks. Oh man, the purge was on.

In two days I powered through Marie Kondo’s book. Ate. it. up. It was my road trip book, my “number two” book, my sneakily read while putting Squishy to bed book…I couldn’t get enough of it. As I said, I am not a naturally organized person. Nor am I particularly clean. But, by golly, I can jump on a bandwagon like nobody’s business.

So here we are. It is weeks later and the KonMari Method has taken over my home, much to my husband’s happy surprise. It has also taken over my brain, much to my husband’s chagrin. If you’ve never heard of the bizarre sounding KonMari Method and think I’m maybe a) misspelling calamari b) sneezing or c) speaking a foreign language, you are sort of right. The KonMari Method is the brain-child of Japanese tidying expert, Marie Kondo. KonMari is her brilliant combining of her first and last names. Her de-cluttering and tidying method is, in the cleaning biz, revolutionary. And she holds an insanely high success rate. According to her statistics, over 90% of her one-on-one clients NEVER “relapse” to messiness. This is partly because she sticks like glue to a few unique rules:

  1. She focuses on keeping ONLY items that, in her trademark words, “spark joy”. At the end of the process, literally everything in your home brings you joy.

  2. You focus not on what you are discarding, but on cherishing what you choose to keep.

  3. Discard everything, then put away. This means you go through the entire contents of each category one at a time. Hold every item in your hand, decide if it sparks joy, either thank it for its service or keep it, and THEN, and only then, do you put things away.

  4. Every item in our home should be cherished. When we have clutter or too many things, we cannot care for them properly. Additionally, someone else might need that item that’s been collecting dust in the back of our closet. It does so much more good for humanity when we pass it along to someone who can truly find joy in it. This point sparks so many happy chords in my soul!

  5. One place for every type of item and ONLY one place. Shoes live with their buddies, the other shoes, and throw shade on all other spots. No more storing shoes in the front closet, shoe rack, and the bedroom closet. As they say, pick a team! … for every item in your house. This is one point that makes much more sense when living in a ranch or single floor dwelling…it is trickier/more cardio if you have stairs.

Now, back to my story. Marie Kondo has outlined 4 main categories and, for her own ingenious reasons dictated in the book, strongly recommends that you follow this order: clothing, books, papers, komono (miscellany). Since she’s the expert and I am NOT, I took her up on the challenge. She recommends about 6 months for the entire process which is great because it’s been two and I’ve only checked “clothing” and “books” off my list.

I present to you the fruit of my clothing category labor, as well as my musings:

Yeesh. I dimmed the lights on these pics so you can’t see my skivvies but it is still embarrassing. I have the hardest time putting clothes away, keeping them organized, and even with the bonkers amount of clothing, I ALWAYS feel like I have nothing to wear!

The mashed pile of clothes in the top right hand corner of the above pic is a great testament to my husband’s unending love. That is literally, in the flesh, his pet peeve. 

Per Marie’s instructions, I pulled EVERY ITEM OF CLOTHING I OWNED (including storage and off-season) out from its dusty home. This is Phase 1 of #THEDAMAGE. I painstakingly picked up each piece and decided if I truly loved it. I didn’t worry about whether I’d wear it in 6 months (a slippery slope) or if I’d wear it in -10lbs (a crazy slippery slope), my one and only criteria was whether or not it brought me joy. This phase of the process took one evening and I was surprised to find that I quite enjoyed the quiet and trips down memory lane. My favorite trip was holding and “thanking” the dress I wore when my husband and I had our first ever dance. I remember that Christmas dance like it was yesterday and while I had a few feels when I decided that it didn’t flatter my figure anymore, giving that dress to someone else who could enjoy it made my heart surprisingly happy. 

These are all the lovelies who were thanked for their service and passed along. I opened up my stash to whoever wanted to pick through it, then sold the rest at our garage sale.

Not gonna lie, I think my pile of “keeps” stayed on my bedroom floor for a few days. After I recovered from my night of raucous purging, I tackled the organization phase. Marie Kondo is a genius. First of all, just stepping into my closet is wonderful now because I LOVE everything. I literally do not own a piece of clothing I do not like. That’s a crazy wonderful thing. Secondly, I purged BAGS AND BAGS of clothes and still feel like I have an abundance. I feel so much more grateful for what I have. Lastly, organizing AFTER purging everything is much easier. 

Marie outlines some very specific guidelines for organizing closets, some of which I thought were psychotic. Namely her method of folding clothing. Google it, it is bonkers. But, as I’m learning, if Marie sounds bonkers, she’s probably right. Drawers as much as possible, organizing by texture of clothing, making sure the hanging clothes rise to the right… it all sounds crazy detailed but when executed it is insanely effective. Obviously, this post is strictly about organization, not decoration. I have zero decor bones in my body so my closet is still pretty bare BUT I am happy to report that weeks after the great purge, the closet still looks the same! 

While there is so much grace for us mommies and a messy house oftentimes seems par for the course of parenting, hopefully this has encouraged you that tidying can be both freeing and enjoyable. For a detailed description of her method along with checklists for your own tidying journey, go here. To order the book on Amazon, go here.

Stay tuned for the next phase of the journey: Books!

I’m curious to hear, have any of you tried her method? Anyone have their own tried and true methods for keeping the chaos at bay?

 

Until next time, you lovelies,

 

L

 

 

 

 

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Lauren is a Jesus-loving, Craig Peterson-loving, SAHM and coffee stain removal expert. She has a Masters in Social Work and has previously served in counseling and ministry capacities. Her and her husband Craig are local business owners and live in East Moline. They have a 3-year-old daughter aka Squishy who keeps them busy and entertained. Lauren's vices include an Amazon Prime addiction, and eating cooked spinach and vinegar by the pound, followed by Andy's Frozen Custard by the pound.

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