If you haven’t already read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, you have at least heard of it. Something brings you joy – keep it; if it doesn’t – throw it out (aka KonMarie Method). Simple, right? Shortly after reading the book, I decided I would KonMarie my own home. I followed the steps in the book and can honestly say my house has remained tidy ever since. This post is not going to try to convince you to try the KonMari Method, and it is not going to tell you how it changed my life. But, I think there are some things you ought to know before you get started – things I wish I knew before.
The KonMari Method takes commitment.
Before you even think of starting the KonMari method, make sure you are fully committed! You heard it from the Queen of Half-Finished Projects: Make a mental and a time commitment. I decided to spend a long weekend tidying my house – start to finish. If I hadn’t made the time, I know I would not have been successful.
The support of your spouse/significant other is essential.
My husband saw me reading the book. He heard me speculate on how I would apply the KonMari method to our own home. But, it wasn’t until I made serious plans to overhaul our house that I made sure he was on board. I knew my efforts would be a complete waste of time if I did not have his support (he does, after all, live in the house too). When I chose the long weekend, I made sure he didn’t have anything going on. Our one deal was that I would not throw any of his things out – he would go through his own stuff.
The KonMari Method is nothing close to how you normally tidy.
Normally I would start in the messiest room and “put things away” in bins, baskets, and closets. The KonMari method actually has you tidy according to categories, not rooms. Example: take all the books you own – every book in the house – and put them on the floor. Pick up each book and decide “does this bring me joy?” Yes? Put it in the keep pile. No? Put it in the donation pile. You get the picture.
Prepare to get creative when it comes to toys.
The KonMari method is truly a game-changer, and I have recommended this book to every person I know. Unfortunately, there’s one glaring hole in her tidying method. She does not address children’s rooms or the mounds of toys that fill them. I read several articles on Pinterest and created a hybrid KonMari/Montessori approach. First I tossed the broken toys, donated toys that he outgrew/ didn’t play with, and sorted the rest. I decided to only make some of his toys available to him and put the rest in clear boxes in his closet. He has access to all his toys, just not all the time. This system might not work for you, but it works for me.
It will get worse before it gets better.
Imagine piles of boxes and bags leaned against the front door. Dozens of garbage bags lining the garage awaiting Garbage Day. Mounds of clothes covering the beds and couches. Random things covered every inch of counter space. If you follow the KonMari method strictly by the book, you will reach this moment. This was when I really thought my husband was going to lose it. Our house was an absolute wreck, yet I was almost “finished” tidying. First you go through EVERY ITEM YOU OWN. Afterwards, you put the things you deemed joy-inducing and keep-worthy in their places. Just when you think your house cannot possibly get any worse, it gets better – I promise.
You will still have to clean.
My house is consistently tidy, but I still have to actually clean. (Hello, Captain Obvious) Even though the towels have their place, I still have to wash, fold, and put them away. My toddler knows where his toys belong, but they still have to be put away each night. The floors still need mopping, and the bathrooms still need scrubbing. When I imagined my house after tidying up, I naively thought it would stay clean all the time, too. I guess the next step is to get a maid?