Keeping Your KonMari
2019 is the year of organizing, Marie Kondo style. The Netflix show based on her popular book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” was an instant hit after it was strategically released on New Year’s Day and the craze has led to people taking record-breaking donations to their local thrift stores while they simplify their homes and belongings.
In the KonMari method, Marie Kondo emphasizes showing gratitude for the things we have, and encourages only keeping items that “spark joy” for the owner. Her organization methods make life simpler by making our belongings more visible to us, and easier to access without creating more disorder. (We’ve been using her shirt folding and storage method for a year in our household, and I love that the shirts are easy to see and can be grabbed without disturbing the other shirts in the drawer.)
Have you adopted the KonMari method? Here are some ideas for making these changes stick when the newness of the year has worn off:
Have a storage place for everything.
A great thing about tidying is that it frees up space in your dressers and closets and cupboards so you have more room to put things away. Commit to finding an intentional storage space for everything you own, and then commit to returning items to their storage space after you use them. It only takes a moment, and putting things away as they’re used is usually easier than having to clean up a giant accumulated mess.
- Before you set something down on your counter, table, or that chair in your bedroom, think about whether it has a designated space. Put it there instead!
- Agree on storage places with the others in your household. Labels may be helpful!
Incorporate tidying into your everyday routine.
On the show, families work on their initial cleanup for weeks. Do you wonder what their homes looked like a few months after taping ended? It’s easy to fall back into old patterns. One way to maintain your newly found sense of order and simplicity is to make minor tidying part of your every day routine.
- Never walk past an item of clothing on the floor, or a dirty glass on the table. Pick it up and put it where it belongs.
- If you’re walking to a different room of the house, carry something with you to be put away.
Be aware of, and grateful for, what you already have.
In the KonMari method, decluttering is done by category: clothing, papers, miscellaneous, and sentimental items. With clothing, every item is gathered in a single place so that you can see all that you own at one time. It can be humbling to recognize that your clothing pile resembles a small mountain.
- Think about the things you already own. What amount is “enough” for you? How can you tell when you have enough?
It’s ok to be sentimental about some belongings.
The basis of asking, “does it spark joy?” when deciding whether or not to keep something is recognizing that we have connections to our belongings. They may remind us of a beloved friend or family member or a special event in our lives. Or they may just be something beautiful that we enjoy looking at. You get to determine what is special to you.
- Find ways to incorporate your special items in your life. This might mean putting photos in an album, or hanging a shelf to display keepsakes.
- Involve your family in choosing the items that are special to them.
Be thoughtful about what you bring home.
My mom once observed that it seemed like every time she came into the house, she was carrying something. But she didn’t as often carry something out. No wonder clutter accumulates so easily! Before buying something new, think twice. Do you really need it? Do you already have something like it? Would your money and storage space be better spent another way?
- If you haven’t already done a major purge, decide to donate two items for every one new thing you bring home.
- Ask yourself whether the item sparks joy before you bring it home.
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About the Author:
Helping people find homes has been a passion of mine and I am glad to be able to do that as a member of the NeighborWorks Home Partners team. As Marketing and Communications Coordinator, I am working to build community online and offline, spread the word about the services we offer, and share the success stories of our customers. I enjoy gardening (in theory; I don’t seem to have the time to keep up with it), volunteering, singing in choirs, finding treasures and deals at thrift stores, and living the hectic life of a parent to teen children.