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The KonMari Method (and how it helped me!)

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The concepts of organizing and decluttering are not revolutionary by any means, but Marie Kondo puts a simple twist on the process that really resonated with me. I was attracted to her methods due to her notion of keeping what “sparks joy.”

Keep what makes you happy and what brings a smile to your face – even if the object is utterly ridiculous, like the faux leopard-print coat I have hanging in my closet. I have no idea how or to where I’d wear this thing, but I love it just the same. She also states the importance of thanking each discarded item for its service, which seemed crazy, but it does add closure.

Her methodology helped to declutter our entire house, resulting in 3 car loads of stuff donated to my local Goodwill. Hopefully they’ll be able to better use those items to provide for their mission.

This “spark joy” criteria was easy for my children to grasp as well. Never would I ask them to give up their favorite toys, books or activities. Never would I insist they part with the things they play with. When I told them it was time to clean their rooms, and we were going to truly question their things, they latched on immediately. It was completely self-guided as well, as I offered zero input or opinion as we went through the process. The biggest area of change pertained to their stuffed animals – of course, there were their favorites, but there were plenty where they wondered how they came into possession of it.

At the end of the day, their bedrooms reflected their favorite things – books, art supplies, Nerf guns galore, Legos, and dolls. Sports equipment that they had outgrown or had already been upgraded and replaced was also donated. The result, was extra play space they were excited about.

There were a few ideas of hers I didn’t think fit our situation. Marie Kondo writes about her Life Changing Magic from the perspective of a single woman living in a small flat in Japan. There is nothing wrong with her ideas, but my dynamic was a complete 180* difference from hers. I’m married, with children, and living in a 1500-square foot home in the suburbs. I cannot determine what “sparks joy” all at once, in one fell swoop over the course of a single day or weekend. I had to spread it out over a much longer time period.

It was also easier for me to go room by room, closet by closet. My process was further streamlined when we prepped the interior for paint. And while Marie Kondo states that “we do not need more storage, just less stuff,” I did identify a few things I needed to purchase for that purpose. We need a filing cabinet for our documents, as an example. It also lead to the purchase of my jewelry armoire, a stream-lined replacement to the cluttered dresser of random jewelry storage.

This process also shed light on why we accumulate what we have, and why we are now getting rid of it. While I don’t think we could be classified as hoarders, I do think a lot of it was impulsive. I set a personal goal to be more intentional, to truly question if a particular purchase would hinder some of my long-term goals and if it would serve a purpose beyond instant gratification. 

In the end, I do think I achieved what Marie Kondo intended. My home is organized, and filled with the things that make us happy and reflect the essence of who we are. It’s opened the door to the kind of life we wish to live, with the added consideration of how materialism would impact it. I do think it’s possible to “edit” her tactics to suit your unique situation, since the answer to what “sparks joy” is different for all of us.

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