I talked about the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up a few times on the blog and we even had some fun periscope chats together about the book and the process.
I wanted to share my experience overall with Marie Kondo’s method and offer some inspiration to you to clear all the clutter in your home once and for all.
I was super skeptical about this book. Most organizing and tidying books are just a repeat of the same old same old and often I find they suggest 8 million bins and tubs and complicated systems that are just ridiculous. So I really wasn’t interested in this book at all but I kept hearing about it and seeing my friends mention it on social media and I finally caved. I listened to the book on audible and thought- “hmm. Sounds like a lot of work.” And I moved on and never did a thing. Then something clicked one day and I got tired of searching endlessly for things and having drawers stuffed to the max and decided Ok let’s give this Marie Kondo thing a whirl.
I am proud to say we are about 70% through the tidying process. It is a big deal. You basically go through every single item in your home so a massive project. But I am SO GLAD I started this adventure and I am loving the results I see in our home.
Let me quickly summarize the main points of the book for you:
So there is a lot more detail in the actual book but essentially her method differs from other methods because she wants you to really think about every single item in your home.
Does it make you happy? Are you saving those old sweats for painting or cleaning days? Toss em! Unless you feel fabulous putting them on or they have a fantastic memory associated with them get rid of them. You can clean in cute gym clothes that make you feel good about yourself not dumpy and frumpy. Are you saving a drawer full of old bank statements just in case? Toss em! You can get all that info online and that is just a pile of papers that makes you sad or stressed when you open the drawer. The list goes on and on and on. Don’t keep things that don’t truly make you happy to have in your home. There are some exceptions to this rule because we all have necessary stuff like an iron that isn’t bringing you joy. She suggests changing your mindset so instead of saying- Boo I hate this stupid iron and ironing is a miserable task. When you hold the iron think instead of how you feel with perfectly iron linens on the table- something that might make you happy and the iron is the means to the end.
It might sound silly at first but I think it makes a lot of sense. Who wants to be confronted with rooms filled with stuff you really don’t like? Yet we do! You know you have a few clothes that used to fit and now don’t. How can that make you feel joyful opening your dresser or closet? What about all the junk on the kitchen counter. I bet it makes you feel unorganized and stressed without even realizing it.
And I do want to make a small point that this isn’t about how much stuff can you purge? It isn’t a competition to see who has the largest Goodwill donation. It is about ensuring that your home is filled with things that make you happy and that in turn, you will take better care of and keep organized because you value them. That will look different for everyone.
The second part of the equation to decluttering once and for all is to purge your home according to category not location. So instead of saying, I am going to clean out my dresser instead decide to clean out all your clothing. Those sneaky boxes in the garage, the tub of too small stuff at the top of the closet, the five loads of laundry waiting to be folded on the couch. All your laundry. Get every item of clothing together and go through each piece with a critical eye and an open mind. Do you love it? Nope? Toss!
The idea is that once you have done this for every place in your home, you will love the result so much you won’t want to junk it all up again. And this does take discipline. Look critically at every purchase you make and item you bring into the home. Do you genuinely love it? If you just sort of like it or just want something new just don’t buy it. I have been so picky this year with the things we buy. I really want to be sure it is something I will use over and over and not just more stuff to clutter up the place.
So we are about 60% of the way through all of our items. It has been slow going because I really wanted to do this right the first time. I will say that I truly love the results so far. The places we have tidied in our home look wonderful. When I open a drawer or a closet I am met with happiness not stress.
I really look at our home as a tide that lifts me up and doesn’t bring me down anymore. We still have more work to do but all in all having neatly organized closets and rooms makes life more pleasurable. I also love the lessons it is teaching our kids. So much of today’s world is disposable and with her method it is really about respecting what you have not consuming more and more and more without caring about the money and the time invested in purchasing those items.
Here are a few spaces that have been decluttered and tidied in our home-
This space isn’t pinterest perfect- I should probably have painted or added graphic wallpaper 🙂 But it is a pantry area that I keep a lot of entertaining items and props for the blog. It was a complete and total mess with stuff jammed in everywhere and I do keep the vacuum in this closet so I had to open it all the time and just felt anxious about the mountains of junk. Now it is organized and I love opening this closet.
This is one of the dresser drawers- all of our dresser drawers are organized like this. It really works beautifully for the kids in particular. I used a $1.00 piece of foam board from Walmart and trimmed it to size and then create dividers. On the left are sports bras, workout tanks, regular tanks and camisoles and on the far right are t-shirts. I got rid of a ton of clothes so there is plenty of room to shop 🙂
My favorite transformation has been in the kitchen. We used to have a shelf of mismatched coffee mugs, mismatched drinking glasses and tumblers- with lids and straws all over the place and yet another shelf of sippy cups and assorted kid’s cups.
Gone. I tossed or donated every single one of them and just simplified it all with large mason jars for the adults and small mason jars for the kids. Sometimes people are horrified that I give my 6 and 8 year old mason jars but we have not had a single one break in years of very regular use. I moved the coffee mugs over to where the coffee pot is and edited that down to just a handful I really love. What I have realized in this process is that you will be tempted to spend a ton of money replacing things. That doesn’t need to be the case. I already had those mini mason jars from a blackberry cobbler dessert I did once for a party and the large mason jars I did buy. I want to replace most of our towels, a few other linens and the kitchen towels but I am just moving along with that at a slow pace. No need to panic the old stuff still works for now and as I do replace I will just toss or donate the old stuff.
The junk drawer in the kitchen that used to be crammed with tons of junk. Now it just has the basics in it- I don’t need screwdrivers and spare change and 200 Sharpies in the kitchen at all times. All of that stuff found other homes throughout the house.
And I have heard a lot of criticism of the Kon Marie method because many people say it doesn’t work with kids. I don’t buy it. It does work with my kids but I have to be very diligent. If I get lazy about it, things tend to creep in. Both of my girls are hoarders (said in the most loving way possible.) Seriously. If there is a rock, small string, bouncy ball, marble or one of 10,000 sheets of paper, it is a treasured item that can not possibly be parted with.
I knew this would be a battle with them so I started with a three prong attack plan. #1. We went to Pottery Barn Kids for a visit. My kids LOVE that store and they will play there until the employees finally show us to the door. 😉 #2. We toured some super fancy model homes in the area that were just crazy cool with fun details and beautiful interiors. #3. My oldest had a playdate with a good friend whose Mother just brings her A game when it comes to home decor. The house is beautiful, fresh and always meticulously clean. They are lovely people and so relaxed and open and friendly and Mom is just on the ball with a stunning home.
What do those things have to do with anything you might ask? Well the one common denominator is that all of the places make you feel good and lift your spirit because they are super clean and decluttered. That helped the kids understand they will actually feel better without all the stuff and it was easier to purge their rooms like no one’s business. My daughter’s desk in particular used to be a hot mess and now here it is:
I put her pencil back in the cup and closed the book because she was working on a book report last night but that is it. The drawers are super clean too- just a few coloring books, her multiplication flashcards, some art supplies and the books she reads at night. This is a massive achievement from where we started with every inch of the surface covered with junk and the drawer jammed full of things.
So I have to say all in all I am a convert to the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. It has made a huge improvement in our home and I can’t wait to finally finish. We have lived in these newly decluttered spaces for several months now and I do find the system to be sustainable as long as you are committed. I don’t think I am investing a lot of extra time in maintaining these areas- in fact I think I spend less time because I don’t have to search all over the place for things I need.
And here is a free printable that you can use to stay on track with tidying your home in the order she recommends:
Hopefully this inspired you to completely declutter your home once and for all! Happy Spring Cleaning!
Here are a few other posts you might also enjoy:
Homemade Window Cleaner (that works awesome).