Thursday, February 19, 2015

The KonMari Method: Conversations With My Socks.

Have you heard about the KonMari Method of tidying up your house? It's a big trend lately and I don't remember where I first heard about it, but Grechen, one of my favorite bloggers, has been applying the method so I decided to give it a shot too. For the uninitiated, the book is called:

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo 

The basic idea is to only keep the things that "spark joy." You start with your clothes, then books, papers, miscellany and finally mementos. As I read I realized that Marie Kondo is essentially giving her readers permission to get rid of the things that weigh them down. She encourages you to thank the items you’re getting rid of for the lessons they taught you, even if the lesson is that a particular color or style doesn’t suit you. It doesn't matter if it still has the tags on it, if it doesn't bring you joy you should accept the lesson and let it go.

Once you’ve purged the things that don't spark joy, you’re left surrounded by things you love and appreciate. Because you have less it's easier to find a place for everything and keep a tidy household. It sounded both simple and daunting and some of her suggestions are a little crazy balls (like, she wants you to empty out the contents of your handbag every single evening so it can have a nice rest) but as someone who anthropomorphized her toys as a child, the Shinto philosophy works really well for me. The guilt I felt while getting rid of things with memories and feelings attached was eased by being able to thank the items for their service. Basically, I was talking to my socks.

So far I’ve only tackled my clothing (and made a good start on books and papers) but an industrious morning produced five bags of clothes for donation (and one for the blog shop) and my closet and drawers are AMAZING right now. It's hard to take decent photos of a closet, but here's my before:

And now it looks like this:

I wish the pictures did it justice. There's a ton more room on the racks and the stuff in the storage bins is down by more than half. My dresser drawers were also a mess but I forgot to take "before" photos. The KonMari method advocates folding your clothes a specific way and stacking them vertically, which seemed insane to me until I did it:

I can see all my clothes at one time. No more messy stacks. And look at my happy socks:

I’m not 100% confident that I’ll be able to keep this up but it’s so…restful and Zen that I really hope I can. Just having less clutter in general calms me, so I'm planning on continuing until I've worked through all the categories. Are you doing the KonMari method? What's been your experience?


  1. I'm a freaky minimalist so I hate stuff. I LOVE to get rid of stuff (even though I hardly have any). I must be rebelling against my hoarding mother who keeps EVERYTHING and buys EVERYTHING.

    In the last 3 photos, are those drawers? If so, I think you're stacking stuff horizontally (not vertically), right? I saw another blogger do this, and I've been meaning to try it because I love that you can see everything all at once.

    1. Yes, those are drawers! Ignoring the socks, the rest of the clothes are folded and stood on end, thus vertical. Does that make sense? Like this:

    2. Hit publish too soon! I get what you're saying that I didn't then stack them vertically after standing them, but my dresser drawers are too long to "file" them down the length of the drawer.

  2. I must try it! My drawers and my wardrobe look like tornado victims.

  3. Good work!

    I've been attacking my wardrobe- and everything else in the house, too.
    I agree, the biggest step is getting over the guilt, and the Shinto send-off (and/or cherishment) puts one at peace with the process. And folding is fun...;)

  4. I started focusing on a room a month last year (small house) and kept up with it. Started over in January and will do each room again. Purge and deep clean. I also file my clothes (undies, socks, pj's, camis, shorts) that go into drawers and it is wonderful! 11 years ago when I bought my house and was pregnant my sister came over and organized my closet for me, all the clothes go into order (shells, short sleeve, long sleeve, hoodies, dresses, etc) and I have kept up with it ever since. I have a paper issue and sometimes I have this weird issue (is it guilt?) about throwing stuff out so I will thank everything as I purge.

    My favorite kitchen purge task is to put every single cooking accessory and utensil into a box/tub and only pull out as needed. Give yourself a month or six months and whatever is still left in the box/tub leaves the house. I didn't miss my immersion blender for 2 years. But then I realized I have a kick-ass Ninja blender so don't even need the hand blender which is why I got rid of it in the first place!

    I will check out the book. Thanks!!

  5. I finally ordered this book because I keep seeing all of my favorite bloggers talking about it. I always like a good closet clean-out, but I'm especially intrigued by the idea of bringing a Zen perspective to it.

  6. i'm in awe of your folding skills. i could NOT figure out how to do that. it still baffles me. i tried with tank tops, to roll them, and then stack them on end, but STILL i have more than one -ahem- white tank top, so when they're folded that way, it's harder to see exactly which one it is. same with white t-shirts...

    and thanks for the mention :)