You have been hearing all about it. Your best friend KonMaried her closet and it looks amazing. Heck, your pinterest has a special inspiration board with articles and ideas for when you finally get your house just the way you want it.
And yet, week after week goes by without a dent in your clutter. You really want to try it, but getting started just sounds way too overwhelming. Let’s face it, unlike Marie Kondo, most of us aren’t born super motivated to clean up! Fear not, here are 5 tips to make the method work for you.
1. Truly commit
Take the first step. Once you make that decision you are already setting things in place. Sometimes that means retaining a consultant, in order to stay committed but a lot of people do just fine working along with their family or with friends. Others find that once they start, they get excited about it and become very motivated to see it through. When I first applied the method to my own home I actually created appointments on my calendar with which category I planned to do that day. Sometimes that meant just a block of two hours or so, but I stuck to the schedule. As I moved through it and the clutter started to disappear I became even more motivated to get it done. If you have little ones, maybe try to arrange a play-date that day, or swap babysitting with a friend who might want some alone time to Kondo their home too! But a decision to do it all the way through is what's key.
2. Stick to the categories, never tidy by area
I know you probably see that advice in every KonMari related article, and it may sound a bit random, but there is a reason for it. We start with clothes because we normally have quite a lot of it, and also generally it is quite easy to replace most items. That pair of skinny jeans will probably be much easier to substitute than that love letter from your high school sweetheart. You will be ready to deal with it once you get to mementos, I promise!
Do not proceed until the category is completely done. There are some handy printable checklists online. If you are worried about missing anything, print one of those out and go through each category or subcategory. The act of crossing categories off the definitely gives me joy!
3. Don't throw away other peoples' items
This one is a major no-no. Each person must follow their own road. Throwing away others’ stuff will only lead to resentment despite your good intentions. It is quite tempting to go through your partner’s closet or your kids’ toys and discard those items they never use, but resist it! Share the method, share the process, but don't do it for others.
That's actually the main reason why consultants don’t work without their clients. It’s a very personal process and you need to be engaged in it. Your family, roommates or children might get inspired by your journey and decide to start their own! You can then help them out.
4. Persevere through the books category
Everyone has their own trigger category, but I have noticed that most people have an initial resistance to tidying books. One of my client hauled a giant old atlas from 1976 between homes! Only because it held a sense of nostalgia for him. He hasn’t opened it in many years and he certainly does not consult it (there are many countries in that atlas that don’t even exist anymore!). So you have to be strong.
Take every single book out and it sounds strange, but you need to hold them and see their covers. Pour yourself a glass of wine if you have to! You might need to talk through books. Sometimes you need to rationalize out loud why you like that book and why you are holding back on discarding it. I moved between countries several times and I left clothes behind so I could bring my books along, so I feel your pain! Choose your hall of fame. Those 5 books you would take with you to a desert island. I promise you, once you compare the other books to those, you will know right away what brings you joy and which ones you must keep.
5. Don't buy additional storage at the beginning
This one might sound odd, but hear me out. Have you noticed that even when you move to a bigger home you always have issues with storage? Your closets are not magically shrinking overnight, you just keep adding to the inventory. I you buy more storage, you will fill it. So let’s start by deciding what stays, and I can assure you, the storage is already there, and as you move along, more space becomes available. If you need drawer dividers, use containers and boxes you already own for now. Once you are closer to being done, you will have a clearer understanding of what you will need. You can then get storage solutions that give you joy if you wish to do so.
I hope this little post is the last push you need to move forward with your own journey! And let me know how you do!
Of course if you need some support to get started or get to the finish line, you can always contact me.