As part of my Year of Mindfulness, I am using the Konmari Method to go through my entire house over the next 6 months or so. Like most women in these parts, I don’t live in a small Japanese apartment with just me and maybe a small husband, so I have to make some adjustments to the Konmari approach as I go along. I have 3 kids who have had a collective 21 birthdays and Christmases; a husband who grew up on a rural farm with the ingrained idea that you don’t get rid of anything ever and stock up on everything just in case you can’t get to town; a large house with lots of rooms, closets and nooks and crannies that hold a surprising amount of stuff; and an acreage with lots of room to spread things around so you never really know what you’ve got. Are you overwhelmed reading that, because I sure am living it. Luckily I discovered Marie Kondo’s book and I now have a plan!
Kondo recommends tidying by category and reiterates the personal nature of true tidying – you have to handle your own belongings to really know if they “spark joy.” That means, this endeavour will inevitably be a family affair! I needed to sort through my kids’ clothes anyway to see what they’ve outgrown before the new school year, so I decided to start Konmari with them. My five-year-old daughter was the first to go through the process and both the results and her response blew me away!
Before I go any further, let me clarify something. I’m no interior designer. As I share our Konmari adventure, don’t expect beautifully styled photos because what you’re going to get is our real home, our real life, flaws and all. Regardless of the photos, Kondo wants people to experience fast, dramatic results and that’s exactly what happened for me and my daughter.
Success is SO motivating! I started going through my boys’ room with them the very next day!
My 9 and 7-year-old share a room and have the tendency to pull toys and Lego out then walk away to the next thing. They’re hoarders of little things – rocks, coins, cards, etc. It drives me crazy. I knew I would have my Konmari cut out for me!
I feel like these photos should come with a viewer discretion warning…
I thought it would go faster having two workers for one room. I thought wrong. It ended up taking two days of diligent work to get through Marie Kondo’s list, including their toys in other parts of the house – one of my goals was to have all of their stuff in their room – spare sheets, toys, weapons bin*, etc. But, it was all worth it!
The Konmari Method was different with the boys compared to with my daughter. She seemed to operate more intuitively and they seemed to think more about each object…. I conducted a little interview with them to review the process.
How do you feel now that your room is tidy?
7yo : Awesome!
9yo: It’s pretty cool.
Do you think you’ll be able to keep your room tidy? How?
7yo : Once we have too much stuff, we will do it again.
9yo: I think we just constantly donate… but wait, it’s buy-nothing year so we won’t have a lot of stuff. We just keep folding our stuff and putting it back where we found it. (YES!!!)
What do you think about having less stuff?
7yo : It’s fun!
9yo: It’s a lot easier to play and it’s pretty cool to have everything in order so you can say this is here and nothing else is with it.
What do you think about the folding?
7yo : no comment
9yo: It’s more complicated but it’s easier to find your clothes. I have one t-shirt that’s pretty cool and two days ago I couldn’t find it in my drawer and I had to look pretty hard to find it. And today I just grabbed it and pulled it out and put it on.
Was it hard to decide what to keep and what to discard?
7yo : Yes because there’s stuff you’ve had for a really really long time and it’s really special.
9yo: No, some stuff wasn’t really that special and I forgot about them and never bothered trying to find them. Some books give us joy. You finish them then set them up like a trophy.
Do you think Mommy and Daddy will be able to do the Konmari Method in our closet?
7yo : (laughs)
9yo: 3/4 of that closet is yours. I think Daddy doesn’t even have to do it.
After using the Konmari Method with all 3 kids, in two bedrooms and the basement toys, we took a TRUCKLOAD plus 5 big bags for donation. Two rooms down, the rest of the house/garage/acreage to go!