Our family is pretty messy and unorganized. And while we don’t particularly mind this, it can feel pretty embarassing when we have people over to our house. We usually have to explain why our place looks like a tornado went through it. My husband and I work from home and homeschool, so we’ve got loads of books and papers everywhere, plus Kaya’s toys.
But late in 2016, we decided to do the Konmari method of decluttering ( or tidying as she calls it) to get rid of the things we don’t need anymore and that are mentally weighing us down. Things we’ve acquired over the years that we don’t want or need, or that was an impulse-buy.
I’m so happy that my husband was on board to help me do Konmari because I couldn’t go through the boxes of papers and books without him, since many of them were his or needed his seal of approval to discard ( in the case of old paperwork). Because all three of us did Konmari tidying together, it was a real bonding experience, and we all enjoyed it, although some of the phases of discarding were more challenging than others.
If you haven’t heard of Konmari, she is a Japanese organizing coach and expert that has two best-selling books that have revolutionized the field of tidying. Instead of getting rid of things by room, Konmari’s method is to discard by category. This is where the magic seems to happen, or at least it did for us. And the second revolutionary aspect to Konmari’s method is that you only keep what brings you joy. You don’t hold yourself to someone else’s standard, aka like the whole concept of only owning 100 items.
This is what attracted me to Konmari’s style of discarding because while I do enjoy many aspects of minimalism, I don’t agree with one having to possess a set number of items. Especially families! We have so many random things ( like collectables and video games) that bring us joy, and we have no intention to discard them because someone else things we own ‘too much’. Plus, we do enjoy shopping small as much as possible, like on Etsy and at thrift stores.
You start by going through all your clothing by bringing EVERY item you own and putting it in one room/pile for you to go through and see what brings you joy ( that you want to keep) and what you want to discard. You then move onto the next category, which I believe is books and do essentially the same thing. You can find out more details about the process by downloading her free app on iTunes or purchasing her books, particularly The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which goes in detail about the whole process of how to discard.
The way that the Konmari method of tidying and discarding has changed my life is that I feel less mentally weighed down, and feel great about the fact that we’ve gotten rid of unwanted things. This may sound strange, particularly if you have never decluttered before, but in reality, I think the worst effect of having excess items is the mental space those items take up, even if you’re not aware of it.
We aren’t yet finished with the categories we’ve got to tackle ( as part of the Konmari process) but are already feeling so much more peace of mind, and have more space in our house.
On top of that, doing this whole decluttering process has inspired me to delve deeper into organization, and I’ve begun building a mini library of decluttering resources to help us get inspiration and tips when we feel inspired to do more.
Related Post: How to have a clutter-free home in 2017
The Challenging Part
One of the many reasons I recommend the Konmari method to basically everyone is not only can it make a huge impact in your life, it’s extremely doable. But that doesn’t mean each phase of discarding is easy!
I found discarding books to be very challenging. Because many of the books we went through were in boxes ( since we’ve moved quite a few times and are in desperate need of shelves), we had to go through our storage area and confront books that I thought I’d like to read, but that I didn’t end up reading or that I lost interest in. Billy had to also go through books from when he was an actor, and this was a challenge as he quit acting when we left the States, partially because there were little acting opportunities where we lived and also because he didn’t have the time. He’s also unsure of if he wants to act here in Chiang Mai, so it meant he had to decide on if he will again pursue his passion as some of the books he owned were quite expensive. He ended up keeping those that he loved and found helpful and got rid of the ones he never got around to.
The paperwork was also challenging to go through and discard. We had bills, receipts, and sooooo much more to wade through. While it was less exhausting then doing Konmari on the books, it still took time and we had to yet again open boxes and go through drawers. But it was well worth it, and we feel so much better not having all of those pointless papers anymore!
Additional Decluttering & Homemaking Resources
I’ve also begun reading ( or listening to the audiobook of rather) How To Manage Your Home by Dana K. White, who has excellent suggestions for creating a doable cleaning schedule. I highly recommend her podcast and book, if you’ve already done Konmari and are looking for additional homemaking tips from a fellow slob. 😉
Have you done the Konmari method of tidying? If so, what benefits have you gained from doing it? Leave a comment below and let us know!