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!

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

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!

Konmari for Kids - Part Two

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.

I could stare at this exquisite vision all day long.
I could stare at this exquisite vision all day long.

Success is SO motivating!  I started going through my boys’ room with them the very next day!

Konmari for Kids - Part Two

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!

BEFORE

I feel like these photos should come with a viewer discretion warning…

The photo does not do justice to just how much stuff is on those shelves.
The photo does not do justice to just how much stuff is on those shelves.
AND there’s a third shelf for actual books… and *more* little stuff – Lego creations, robots, Nerf bullets and what not.
This is their bedtime table and stuffie chest.
This is their bedtime table and stuffie chest.  Just imagine opening it.
This is relatively tame Lego scene.
This is a relatively tame Lego scene.
View of the bunk beds.
View of the bunk beds AFTER tidying one day.  Pre-Konmari, this is as good as it gets.

DURING

In a strange turn of events right out of the Twilight Zone, they insisted on trying everything on.
In a strange turn of events right out of the Twilight Zone, they insisted on trying *everything* on.
Teach 'em while they're young. (Welcome to the rest of your lives, boys.)
Teach ’em while they’re young. (Welcome to the rest of your lives, boys.)
So. Many. Books.
So. Many. Books.
Going through these toy shelves took FOREVER.
Going through these toy shelves took FOREVER.

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!

AFTER

I can see the floor!!
I can see the floor!!
I can see the bedside table!!
I can see the bedside table!!  I switched the inaccessible chest for this canoe box that my hubby made (still sparks joy for him) that has been housing the dress-up clothes in the basement.  We donated most of them, put a few in a drawer and used this to hold all their Nerf guns, swords and light sabers* – now accessible without having to move things off the top!
The stuffie chest has been relocated and is now half empty.  I'm sharing these because one of the effects of the Konmari method is creating more empty space.
The stuffie chest has been relocated and is now half empty. I’m sharing these shots because one of the effects of the Konmari Method is creating more empty space.
And despite our best efforts, these toy shelves still don't have much empty space BUT the boys assure me everything they kept sparks joy and there is LESS stuff, all with its own place.
And despite our best efforts, these toy shelves still don’t have much empty space BUT the boys assure me everything they kept sparks joy and there IS less stuff, all with its own place!
The book shelf however has tons of space - they will use the upper shelves to hold Lego creations because you DO NOT mess with those.
The book shelf however has tons of space – they will use the upper shelves to hold Lego creations because you DO NOT mess with those.
Happy beds!  My son reported the next day that he slept better in his Konmari room.
Happy beds! My son reported the next day that he slept better in his Konmari room.
Tidy closet with a place for everything, including spare bedding, clothes to grow into.
Tidy closet with a place for everything, including spare bedding, and clothes to grow into.  Their dressers are in the closet but we needed a couple more bins – Konmari folded – to avoid the seasonal clothing switch-out which Kondo does not recommend (and I concur).

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

A 7-year-old boy did this.
A 7-year-old boy did this.

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.

 

Konmari for Kids - Part Two

 

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.

(Interview concluded!!!)

Peaceful room!
Peaceful room of a 9yo too smart for his own good!

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!

Konmari For Kids Before-After

9 Comments

  1. Wow, looks great! And love T’s answer about your closet haha

  2. SpiritedThriftr this looks great! Makes me want to take on my own cluttery mess

  3. Rose by His Grace Reply

    Very inspirational!  I can’t wait to see how this method works in your room!  Good job boys!

  4. NewMexicast Reply

    I am reading this with my 11 year old daughter after we just gathered ALL of her (and her 9 year old sister’s) clothing. It is sitting as a daunting pile beside us. Reading this gives me hope that we CAN do this. We HAVE to do this… we are moving onto a boat in two months! 

    Thanks for sharing your story!

  5. NewMexicast you CAN do it!  It is so liberating!  I have regular thoughts about a “tiny house” – though I might require a second tiny house for my own wardrobe – but all of it sparks joy!!  Good luck, keep at it and know that kids are so good at determining quickly whether something sparks joy!

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