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Our Journey to Simplicity: Part 25 – KonMari

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Why I follow/don’t follow, the KonMari Method.

I am currently reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. Her method is referred to as the KonMari method, based on her name. She has devoted her life to tidying and has a whole method of how to declutter your home from beginning to end.

She has a specific order to go in, and wants you to physically touch each item and decide if it sparks joy or not. I get where she is coming from. I get her methods and know she has devoted her life to this. She is a professional organizer who has a client waiting list 3 months long. She has written a book and has a lot of excellent ideas. I respect that. If I could do it all over again, I would use some of her methods. I’ve been working on this for a year and I blog about it to keep myself accountable, this isn’t my life’s ambition, so what do I know? Maybe not much, but I’ll tell you about it anyway 🙂

One issue I have is with making sure everything you own sparks joy. Well, insurance documents aren’t joy sparking for anyone, but they are necessary. She actually mentions that in the book. So something to keep in mind is that not everything you own will indeed spark joy, that’s not a 100% foolproof reason to discard it.

Aside from those few things, the rest of the items are things that spark joy. In her theory, when you clean out your closet, you only return the items that are joy sparkers. My issue is learning to be content with what you have. Sure, you want to like everything you own. But is that practical? We all have things we don’t care much about, but we have to have it, so we keep it. If we didn’t, we would be up a creek. I don’t care a whole lot about what my laptop looks like. As long as it functions, I am happy. If I threw it out because I didn’t like the way it looked, I wouldn’t be able to do my job (or blog as conveniently). And I like my job. And my blog. And my blog readers. However, the quality of the laptop is very important to Dave. I have feelings about my clothes. He pretty much wears what is comfy and what is in the closet. So my question is, how do you do this without completely focusing on yourself? Is that possible?

What matters to me is clearing it all out so I can focus on other people and have less distractions in life. A nice perk is indeed enjoying your surroundings, but I think it’s impossible to live your life for the Kingdom when the only thing you’re thinking about is yourself. What if Jesus had done that? “Jesus of Nazareth was born, Jesus was just like anyone else except He never made mistakes. And then He died of old age.” Uh.. no story there! I am SO glad that is not how it ended.

So what does all this selfishness do for your relationships? If you continue along with the idea that everything around you needs to bring you joy, what does that do to the people in your life? People don’t bring you joy so you shut them out? This whole thing is meant to be completed as quickly as you can. You dive into your home and do as much as you can in the shortest time frame possible. I think that can mess with your reasoning and can cause selfishness. If you are only thinking about yourself all day every day for months… it can skew your reality. The truth is, cutting ties with people is exactly the opposite of what we should be doing. If there are people who don’t bring us joy, the first place we need to be looking is inward.

KonMari puts a lot of emphasis on the feeling of things. If you are spending so much time getting the feeling of your things and evaluating how they make you feel, how much time and energy do you have left for anyone else? I don’t think this is a process where we should be shut in our homes until we are done.

How do you do it without being spoiled? Maybe my lawn doesn’t bring me joy. So I should spend the money to get underground sprinkling? Or once I notice it, I’ll be more frustrated that it doesn’t meet my new standards and now I cant afford to fix it. I don’t like that its a ME ME ME system.

So what did I learn that I DO like?

I like her folding method. It is brilliant. She wants you to fold things so they stand up and you can see them all at once. When you lay things on top of each other, sometimes you never get to the bottom of the pile and you’re missing out on some awesome shorts! I put it into practice in my rag drawer, Adelynn’s pajama drawer and in a bin of clothing I was going through. (You should YouTube the folding method when you finish this post.)

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I don’t have a before shot of Adelynn’s pajamas, but they were stuffed and splayed all over the drawer.
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I did take about 5 items out of the green bin, but still. LOOK AT ALL THAT SPACE!

One other recommendation I like is organizing by category instead of by room. So, since I had been working on this process for a year before I ever even heard of her book, that did not happen for me. I have to say though, that theory is legit. When you start clothes, for example, she wants you to gather them from every closet and drawer in the house and dump them all on the floor at the same time. That way if you decide to hang on to something, you might have forgotten a similar item in another place.

If I sat down and thought about where I keep my cleaning products, I could name 5 places in my house that hold them. However, when I was cleaning out the bathroom, I pitched a huge bag full of cleaning products. I recently found more cleaning products in our hall closet. SIGH. She was right. I would have gotten rid of them all at once if I had decluttered by category and not by location. It’s counter-intuitive, but it makes sense. Do you remember the post about the book shelf? Essentially I did that and it has worked perfectly!

I have actually learned about giving yourself closure from your items. It’s sounds insane, and you might feel like a loon when you say goodbye to the things, but the end result is worth it. If you are having trouble getting rid of something, but know you have no use for it anymore, that’s when she suggests that you thank it for it’s service since its purpose with you has been served. You thank it and tell it goodbye. It’s amazing how emotional some items can be for hardly any reason at all. She acts like all items have feelings and you need to feel them out to see if clothes would rather be hung or folded, she wants you to take all the books off of your shelf and lay them on the floor. Touch each one to “awaken” it. All of this is kooky to me. Items don’t have feelings, but people do, so if the closure process for getting rid of something helps, then by all means, do it!

Overall, my recommendation is to take her book with a grain of salt. You have my opinion. Do what works for you.

Have you read Marie Kondo’s book?

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