The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Has anybody else become a fan of the KonMari method?
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  • Yes! We are doing this right now and it really is remarkable.  I'm pushing my husband to do his part because frankly we need the space in our small condo and his stuff is clogging up the place. 

    I read this article responding to the backlash about it and I thought it was spot on in describing the psychology/feelings etc. of why we keep and buy things.  Here's the article

    Have you finished the KonMari method? What did you think?
  • I've done my clothes, and the method was intuitive enough that my 5 year old (who is a tiny Marie Kondo in training, I swear) got rid of about 75% of her clothes. I tried with my 7 year old but "everything makes me happy!" kind of stalled progress.

    Right now my husband is reading the book so we can do a whole-house purge.
  • edited June 2015
    My husband, who has pretty serious hoarder tendencies, is reading it and if it enables him to get rid of so much as one pair of holey socks I will count it a success. Reading it was his own idea (after a dinner at which some friends raved about it).

    I was not planning on reading the book, but its presence on the house did inspire me to do a major wardrobe, linen closet, kitchen cupboard purge, with more to come.
  • I enjoyed the book - see my review here - but found her focus on clothing unhelpful; it was clear that she has a much greater amount of clothing and accessories (the "handbag" section!) than I do, and I have no interest in folding all my socks, underwear and T-shirts into compact little bundles.  (I was also aware of the differences between her small-Japanese-dwellings expectations and the much larger size of most suburban-US homes; the idea of doing ALL the sorting-and-purging of possessions in one fell swoop is tempting, but even my smallish house contains way more stuff than I could sort in a week.)

    Her basic premise, of purging any possessions that are neither vital nor joy-inducing, is a good one, and is part of any good get-organized system. While the idea wasn't new to me, I admit that after reading the book I was spurred to work a bit harder on offloading the things that don't give me joy. Now if only I dare brave the piles-o-stuff in the basement... {wry grin}
  • So, I haven't read the book, but does she give *any* acknowledgement to William Morris? What I keep hearing sounds like his philosophies!
  • @foodycatAlicia, no she doesn't. I'll have to look up William Morris and read up on his philosophies.  I don't think all of her ideas are new, for example her way of folding clothes is something I've done for years now.  I remember reading some personal finance book and I think I got the idea from there! That book had made the point that if you're not organized and don't know where your stuff is and/or you don't take care of your stuff, you end up buying it twice and wasting money. Now I wish I could remember which book it was.  
  • @LipstickDiva mostly he seemed to be into women swanning around without corsets on, but the quote of his that this keeps reminding me of is "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful"
  • Never heard of it - and my house, garage and office shows it!  Would you reco this book for someone "starting out"??  
  • @HomeOfficeGirl this was the first video I saw raving about it and then I was seeing it everywhere!

  • OMG - this is hilarious!  I can SO totally relate - I mean, here I am in Paris (Cincinnati) for a wedding (working on a database) on a balcony (in my cluttered office) with cute lipstick (PJs, matted hair) and adorable accent (did I mention Cincinnati?) 
    That said, I still ordered the book on Amazon just now...even tho books, books, books everywhere is half my clutter problem!  :-)
  • @HomeOfficeGirl, I would highly recommend this book.  I don't think it matters if you're starting out.  I found it interesting to find old papers and clothes etc. that reflected who I was at that time. I could appreciate it all for what it mattered then but throwing/donating things really makes me feel like I'm moving towards a fresh start.   

    @foodycatAlicia, OHHH I've heard that quote before but didn't know it was him.  Yes, it's a similar thinking but I think her book does a good job of going into the thinking of why people keep what they keep and how that thinking isn't always the best.  It's like her book expanded upon his thoughts.  

    @Spreecord I'd love to hear more about how your process is going. My husband is now just carrying the book around in his briefcase but I don't think he's read past the first few pages.  
  • For a starter decluttering book I'd recommend Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat? by Peter Walsh. It has the same basic ideas of getting rid of unused/unwanted/unloved stuff throughout the house, but with a focus on kitchen/pantry/refrigerator, something that's barely mentioned in the "Tidying Up" book.

    And then there's an old favorite of mine, Sidetracked Home Executives; that one was entertaining to read and also gave me some good ideas, some of which I still practice.

    And for contrast, there's A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder!
  • I like the idea of it; however, I'm one of those people who finds joy (or usefulness) in all my clothing.  I just like a large wardrobe and am good at utilizing all of it.  I think the method could work for me in cleaning out the basement storage area, though.
  • This seems interesting, I may have to read this.  I just wish my crap didn't make me so happy, because it does.  I wish I could get rid of my pajama shirts, because they don't necessarily make me happy, but then I'd have to do laundry way more than I want to.  And that's the real reason I started collecting clothes: I fucking hate doing laundry.  Hate hate hate it.
  • edited June 2015
    I like the idea of it; however, I'm one of those people who finds joy (or usefulness) in all my clothing.  I just like a large wardrobe and am good at utilizing all of it.  I think the method could work for me in cleaning out the basement storage area, though.
    One of the points that's brought up in the book is that each person has their own "right number" of items, and it's different for everyone. For me, I find my ideal number of clothing items very small. I've got a few dresses, a skirt or two, a couple pairs of jeans, a few shirts, and a couple hoodies. That usually does me very nicely.

    My "right number" of antique cookbooks, on the other hand, is probably higher than the average person's.

    @LipstickDiva No further progress so far. Waiting for my husband to finish the book so we can start sweeping through the house together.
  • I started reading it today and can't put it down......the next step is to start throwing stuff out tomorrow!
  • I have been at it for three days now. I have thrown out and/or donated over 20 bags of stuff. I found things that I didn't even realize I had. It feels like a weight has been lifted. :) It really is therapeutic to go through everything.

    I didn't follow everything - for example the clothes folding techniques. I also still have some storage boxes, but my house is much cleaner than it has ever been! :)

    Hooray!

  • Wow - yay for you @PeggyOlsen! That's great! I'm next in line for the library's copy. Hope it inspires me as it did you!
  • Thanks @PlasticMouse! :) I hope you find it motivating!
  • @PeggyOlson, that's so wonderful!  It really does feel freeing doesn't it?  When I threw out old clothes that were literally falling apart and old papers from graduate school and my first few jobs, it was nice to acknowledge that moment of my life and just let it go now.   We are trying to start a family and hopefully I'll be going back to school next year, so it feels like I'm making room for the next phase of my life. 

    My husband just started and he's sort of begrudgingly doing it.  He liked the impact it made when I cleaned out my stuff and he wanted me to clean out his stuff but I said, I don't know what's really important to you, that's just so individual.  I think he'd rather take a nap, lol.  
  • Is this a book worth buying?  I'm queued up for this from the library, but I don't know how many are before me and I'd like to strike while the I-feel-like-downsizing iron is hot.  Do those of you who have read it feel like it has rereadability?  Or is this a read-it-once-I-get-it type book?
  • I feel like it's probably only worth buying if you're planning on passing it around to multiple household members. If it's just you, just wait for it to come available at the library.
  • Gory Details,  I got my copy of Side Tracked Home Executives about 30 years ago.  I need to set up my card system again.  It should be easier now that the kids are out of the house.  Pam and Peggy were the inspirations fro Fly Lady which seemed to me to be a little too much a woman's place is in the home for me.
  • Munchkn said:
    Gory Details,  I got my copy of Side Tracked Home Executives about 30 years ago.  I need to set up my card system again.  It should be easier now that the kids are out of the house.  Pam and Peggy were the inspirations fro Fly Lady which seemed to me to be a little too much a woman's place is in the home for me.
    Yeah, I found Fly Lady a bit too hyper for my taste - though I admit that the "clean the kitchen sink" mantra was a good one as far as basic "keep things in order" processes go. If I *don't* empty the sink immediately it's all too easy for the pile of dishes-to-be-washed to spread across the nearby countertops. I like the card system (or a computerized version of same - if there isn't an app, there should be!) because it was so simple in concept and so easily tailored for individual needs.
  • I'll pass on this one.  I understand the interest in decluttering and having a more organized home/condo/whatever that helps you lead the life you want, but the business of clothes, etc. bringing me joy just brings on a gigantic eyeroll. 
  • bitchybitchybitchy I did the same eye roll too at first. I even had purged my closet right before I got this book so I didn't think I need to do it again. I did use this method for all the clothes in my dresser however and it was quite enlightening. I threw out a ton of socks for instance because they just pissed me off; stretched elastic, too tight, scratchy, etc. Just this weekend I put on a shirt from my closet that I had saved during my pre-konmari purge and by the end of the day I was ready to rip it off and toss it out. While it fit, looked cute, was a color I like but don't have a lot of, etc. it just annoyed me for some reason and definitely brought me the opposite of joy. So I tossed it in the donate bag as soon as it came out of the wash yesterday.

    I interpret the "joy" part of the process not as happyhappyjoyjoy but rather each item I choose to keep because it adds something to my life. That may be something deeply emotional or something very practical or somewhere in between. But if an item just annoys me, brings with it bad energy like a bad memory or association or has reached the end of its usefulness I get rid of it.

    I find now I have little need of "organizational systems" because I've only kept what I really need and use and have found a logical place for it to "live". I just keep up my daily routine and things stay pretty tidy. It's not perfect yet, probably never will be. But we have our house on the market right now and this has really made it easier to keep the house ready for showings. Hopefully when we move I will be able to purge more and when we unpack reinstate a similar system.

  • I still haven't come up on the library queue so I have yet to read this, but my crap definitely brings me joy.  My cousin and I talk about "clothes kismit," how sometimes you just find something perfect when you weren't even looking, and it fits absolutely and is a bargain.  Those moments, silly though they may be, always make me feel like life is on my side.  The perfect pair of comfortable ballet flats in just the right color for $15? Or the time I found a Catherine Malandrino sweater for $5 marked down several times from $90.  THIS IS DESTINY.
  • I'm scared to read it. I predict that I will become obsessed.

    Also, I have 2 kids under 6 and a full-time job, so I don't have ANY time to do this.

    I really, really, really want to though. I went to a capsule wardrobe last year and it has been wonderful.
  • @Tracy_Flick

    I've read the book, actually love most of the concepts, but for various reasons have not done much with it. If I could have a week alone in my house, I think I would madly obsessively tackle a lot of things. It really is a lot harder with even one family member who has a different mindset, or, of course, with little kids, and a full-time job. I'm mortified to recall many years ago when we had a house on the market, my husband had already moved across country to a new job, I was left with three boys, 2 of them teenagers, working full time and going to school, and the house looked like crap every time the realtor showed it. There really was no time, but this book might have helped me a lot back then, even under the circumstances. We each do what we can do. Don't beat yourself up about it.


    What I wanted to ask you was: could you describe the concepts behind a 'capsule wardrobe'? I am very intrigued.
  • edited August 2015
    @Qitkat, it's a way to pare down your wardrobe.

    Basically, the idea is:
    1. Make a list of everything you need in your work and casual wardrobe for each season.
    2. Take everything out of your closet.
    3. Don't put it back in unless it's on the list, it fits, and you like it.
    4. Take your off-season things and store them.

    You can google "capsule wardrobe" and find a bunch of different approaches, it's easy to modify to your needs.

    Here are the modifications I made:
    1. I included ALL my clothing. Most capsule wardrobe lists only include work and casual tops, bottoms, dresses, and outerwear. I also included swimwear, workout wear, intimates, socks, etc. because I had WAAAAY too much of everything and wanted to pare down to a reasonable number.

    2. I did a mix of season and function. I live in Alaska, and I don't really need 4 seasons' worth of clothes. But I do a lot of camping and fieldwork, and that stuff had to get pared down too. So I did:
        - Winter work and casual
        - Winter workout/outdoor
        - Non-winter work and casual
        - Non-winter workout
        - Camping/fieldwork
        - Vacation

    This is how I implemented it:
    1. Make a list in Word. This is the basic work of thinking about how many pairs of dress pants you need, how many winter coats, etc etc. Also the work of deciding how you want to structure your capsules, and whether you want to do neutrals and spice up with accessories, or have more prints. Pick your basic colors, etc.

    2. Clean out the closet and only keep the stuff that fits a place on the list.

    3. Make a set in polyvore that includes the things I have in good shape (or as close as I can get with the options) and the things I either need to replace or need to add. I just print it out and circle the things I need to replace, double-circle things I don't have and want to add.

    For example, here's my winter work/casual capsule:
    image
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