The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo | The Experience3:54 PM
If you haven't heard of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up or the KonMari Method at this point you either live under a rock or you are not as obsessed with organization as I am. I'm gonna guess it's the second reason.
Marie Kondo is a Japanese organization guru whose book got every one and their mothers desperate to declutter and rearrange their lives. Which meant I had to read it. Immediately.
Basically, Marie's technique is based on the philosophy of only owning things that bring you joy and are useful to your life. Her method tells you to organize in categories and in a certain correct order, asking yourself if each item brings you joy and designating a spot for everything.
Now, if we are talking solely about the book as a book, I have to say I found it awful. Granted I did read the portuguese translation, so maybe that's why I hated it so much, but it was just so incredibly repetitive, out of touch and, at times, annoying. Marie Kondo has great ideas and tips for organizing, however, the way she expresses herself did not convince me. I felt like I was reading a crazy person's diary.
I remember a certain moment in which she mentions women should always sleep in flowy, feminine night gowns and I felt like dying at how sexist that was. Let women sleep in whatever they love and feel comfortable in. Feminine or not. Flowy or not. Flannel or Silk. Lily Pebbles actually shared some of these weird book moments on a recent youtube video.
Despite these awkward moments, the book was an extremely quick read and it did make me think long and hard about the actual crap I have that I never even look at, let alone bring me joy. More than that, all the anecdotes and little techniques intrigued me to know how effective this method would actually be. And, so, considering my extreme obsession with organization, I could not resist trying it all out myself.
Following Marie Kondo's ideal order of decluttering, I started with all of my clothing. Since my room is quite small for all of my crap to be laying around for days (as I knew I was not going to be able to finish in a day), I abused of my sister's now empty old bedroom and deposited every single item of clothing I own everywhere.
Now, I do have a regular clean out every 6 months in which I separate items I no longer enjoy and give them away. However, I never did something as intense as this. The KonMari method tells you to go through each individual item, patiently, alone and, preferably, in silence, questioning if such item brings you joy. This idea scared me. I'm not sure what brings me joy. It's a very abstract concept and there were various moments in which I thought "this is incredibly stupid". So I defaulted to a second question when the first wasn't effective, one much more tangeable: would I purchase this again if I saw it at a store. This one worked. Every single time.
Slowly but steadily I went through every dress, every sock, every shoe and purse and separated the ones that I was getting rid of from the ones that were staying. This took me about a couple of weeks. It was exhausting.
Further on, it was time to go through my books. This was a tough category for me. Marie Kondo says in her book that people should not own that many books, as rarely do we reread them and it is unlikely that more than 10 books bring you happiness. Here, specially, I had to disagree. Having lots of books is a situation that brings me happiness on its own. Having a selection of the books I read and being able to lend them to friends, look at them everyday and admire all the beautiful colors and covers displayed on the shelf..
So, predictably, I did not end up with 10 books. I did end up giving away many more than I initially thought I would, however. Mostly I separated books that I did not enjoy reading, that I had gotten as a gift and knew I would never read or had no interest in reading or books that I had simply outgrown.
I did also have to keep a number of college books which I have no interest in keeping, but know that they will still be useful in my last semester. Those are books that basically have a death sentence. As soon as I graduate, they are out.
Since I was only doing my own room, I went ahead and laid every other random item I own on the floor and then went down KonMari's categories in order. Paper was the most tedious and also the one that took the longest. Once again, I ended up with a couple of big boxes of college papers and notebooks which I decided to only go through once I graduate, next year. Other than that, I managed to compilate all of my papers into one divider folder. I felt the magic.
Something that also took me a long long time, was going through jewelry. I had much more than I remembered and used basically 10% of what I owned. Which is just ridiculous. That's mostly all gone.
Helpful tip I learned in this step: any boxes you own, put it to the side. At the end of your discarding process, when you are ready to put things away and give every item a proper home, having all of the boxes set apart will help you identify which one is more suitable for what objects.
Last step was all of my medication, shower items, bathroom items, makeup and etc. This one is, I guess out of the proper KonMari order, but I just felt it easier this way.
Going through all of the stored medication and products, make sure to take a look at the expiration dates. This simple, but highly relevant, detail got me rid of basically half of my products.
Although the "does this give me joy" technique was helpful on the above categories, here you have to be a bit more objective. Cotton balls might not bring you happiness, but they sure are necessary. So is your toothbrush and toothpaste. You see what I mean right?
The KonMari question only really worked when related to vanity products, such as makeup, nail polish and beauty creams. I am that person that will use something until it's finished no matter if I enjoy it or not, just so I don't "waste it". This was the moment when all of such products were discarded. Life is too short to use products you don't enjoy, when others could be enjoying them much more.
By the end of this experience, I had 18 bags of goods to donate and 7 bags of trash. My room has so much empty space now and everything has it's home. Never have I felt more organized in my life. Despite the book being a tad bit crazy, Marie Kondo does indeed know what she is talking about. It's been a couple of months since I have done this and I do not regret it one bit.
A few last things I'd like to point out:
1 - Use this moment to deep clean. Marie Kondo does not mention much about actually cleaning your space when decluttering. To me, it sounds obvious. If you are taking everything out and emptying your closets in order to organize yourself, make sure you take advantage of it being empty of its contents and deep clean your storage spaces and surfaces. We might not see it, but our closets and drawers accumulate a huge amount of dust. Get rid of that.
2 - Trash. Donate. Sell. She also only mentions what to do with what you discard very en passant. Please note that you have three options and deciding which one is appropriate for each item is your own call. You either throw away, donate or sell. I will mostly be donating and throwing away, as I want to get rid of it sooner rather than later. But selling is a great option for getting in a couple of bucks.
3 - How to fold KonMari style. I do not know about the other versions of this book, but the Brazilian one did not have any graphics or pictures teaching you how to fold. As I have a bit of a difficulty understanding such description when they are written down, I did a bit of an online search and found this great girl whose videos were extremely helpful throughout this process. Her blog is Lavendaire and she even did a very cute pdf with a list of the correct order of the categories. Check her out if you need some help!
4 - Put everything away as soon as you are done with them. Something Lily pointed out in her video was that the idea of taking everything out of your bag and putting them away, everyday, seemed insane and unnecessary. At first, when I read it, I had to agree with Lily. I mostly take the same bag with the same things everywhere. However, when I started doing this, I realized how helpful this was to keeping myself in check of putting things away. I do it every day now.
All in all, this was insane, my parents thought I was going crazy, but also extremely interesting. I was able to define a bit more what is it that I like and what interests me. It has also drawn me to learning a bit more about minimalism, but that's a conversation for an entirely new post...
So... Have you tried out the KonMari method? What do you think?