I’m assuming if you’re reading this, you’ve heard of the insanely popular KonMari Method of tidying up your home. It’s a fabulous concept. Tidy up your home by letting go of those things that don’t spark joy. But is it for you? Do you really need this method in your life and will it make you happier?
If you take a look around my house, there’s a lot of stuff. I like decorating. And I like sentimental things. I’m sitting here writing this right now in my “office” area of my house and there are shelves and furniture all around with things I’ve collected, things that have been given to me, or things that just ended up there. And yes. It’s more than some people choose, but not messy or bordering on hoarding.
Last year in January, I did what all people do after the Christmas stuff gets packed away and realized I needed to “unload” my house. Too much stuff taking up space and collecting dust. Clothes (that haven’t fit in 20 years and I wouldn’t wear them anyway), 5 extra sheet sets, 8 million baking pans) and on and on. So how do you decide if this is for you?
Do You Really Need the KonMarie Method?
Random fact – I have the saddest closet compared to most. I’m not a clothes shopper. I don’t venture out of my black/white/gray color scheme very often. I’m super boring with clothes and I’m ok with that. It’s just not my thing. But. I did notice that I still had dresses from college. I’m in my 40s. I don’t need dresses from college. One in particular that I pulled from a bin definitely sparked “joy”. I had memories from meeting friends downtown wearing that dress. Happy memories. But does that mean I should keep that way out of style dress because it sparked joy?
Nope. Out it went. And it’s been over a year and I don’t miss that dress. Those happy thoughts are still in my head, but that dress doesn’t need to be in my closet.
Last January, I did an 8 week declutter challenge in my house. I didn’t follow any methods exactly. In fact I did the opposite of the KonMarie method and I went room by room. For my schedule with work and kids and everything else life throws at me, that system just worked better. Plus, I like to complete things. Everyone likes a good win and if you can complete just one small area, it’s motivating to continue.
How to Decide:
- Walk around your house and just look at each room. Do you feel overwhelmed? Are there piles of “stuff” just lying around begging you to go through them and sort? Do your kids have so many toys they never even touch?
- Open your kitchen cabinets. Do you get crushed by an avalanche of tupperware lids every time you try and get one? Are you like me and somehow collected enough baking pans to open your own shop even though you don’t bake? Why did I have all these – I’ve never baked more than a few cakes or pies – why did I decide to become a pan hoarder?
- Do you have piles of papers everywhere? If someone asks you for a bill or receipt, can you find it? Are you late paying bills because you have no system? When tax time rolls around, are you frantically trying to locate all the important stuff from the past year?
- Open the closets – how bad is it? If your kid pees the bed in the night, do you know where to go to get the extra sheets? If you spill something, can you get to extra towels?
Are you staring at rooms like my playroom below – don’t judge – it was really bad! I was pretty ruthless when clearing that one out for the $100 Playroom Makeover – and I think we did use the KonMarie method in here. If it didn’t spark joy with my kids, out it went. They were 100% onboard with helping in here and I was surprised at what they parted with!
What Did You Find and How Did You Feel?
- Did you find you’re crowded with stuff that makes your life harder and less organized? Does it bother you at all? Some people are truly not bothered by unorganized spaces. This idea is mind boggling to me. I’m not that way at all. It doesn’t mean I’m right and they’re wrong though.
- If you aren’t bothered by it and it doesn’t affect your life negatively, then I’d say no – you don’t need a KonMarie method or any other method.
- But – if you have feelings of frustration when looking around your house, it’s time to get it in gear. If you are tired of walking into clutter and chaos, it’s time to do something about it.
- Maybe you already have a few organization systems in place, but they aren’t working to make your life easier. One example for me is my kitchen counters. I’ve tried all sorts of ways to not have random piles of stuff, but it’s just not working. So I need to start over with this area.
- Do you have an overflowing craft closet like me with projects that “you’re going to get to one day”? Does it make you happy knowing that you have craft supplies at your fingertips should you decide to make something one day, or does it annoy you when you see all those unfinished “Pinterest” projects?
- Or do you feel disgusted and ashamed when you look around – if you’re in this group, you definitely need a method. Your house should be a place you feel happy and calm. Not disgusted or ashamed. And don’t worry if you’re in this group – there’s a way to get out and you can do it!
So How Do You Get Control?
No matter the method you choose, whether it’s the KonMarie Method or something different, you need to decide if you want to do it. If you decide to go for it, make sure it’s something you can sustain. You need habits and systems to keep it going.
And if you’ve got a house full of people, are they on board with your plans? If not, it’s time to have a family meeting. If you’re the one cleaning everything and picking up all the time, is there something that your peeps can be doing to help? My kids are 11 and 8 and they know when it’s time to go to bed, we always straighten up first. They’ve got jobs to do around the house just like us. Even little kids can help. Don’t expect a 3 year old to clean the whole house, but they are capable of helping you put toys away. And once you decide to clear your house of clutter, there’s less to clean up every day anyway!
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Choose a Method
You can certainly go the KonMarie method route which involves focusing on different items, deciding whether those items “spark joy” or not – rather than rooms first. For example, you go through all the clothes in the house, books, linens, and so on. I’m the opposite. I like to go room by room. This made it easier during my 8 week challenge to stay on task and not get overwhelmed. There is no “wrong” way to get your house in order. Whatever you choose, it’ll be good for you.
One thing I suggest when tackling a whole house job is to start small. I helped a friend redo her entryway recently. It’s a great little area in her house but it just had too much stuff and it wasn’t really working for her. Plus it’s the first thing you see when you come through the front door. So there’s that. What do you want to feel when you first walk in your house? By starting with a small area, we were able to completely change the look and make it function better without much money or time. It’s a “win”. You get motivated when you have a win.
So pick a method:
Decide what you want out of this process. More room to breathe in your house, less clutter, more organization, being able to find something when you need it – whatever it is. I think the short answer to “Do you really need the KonMarie Method?” is no. You don’t need to do it that way, but I think it’s certainly worth looking into to get some ideas. The most important thing is to get started.
Room By Room
This is what works for me. Again – I need small wins to stay motivated and having one completed space makes me happy. So my answer would be no. I don’t need the KonMarie method. But you can decide for yourself. Again – no wrong answers.
Make yourself a schedule based on your available time. If you’ve got a full Saturday and Sunday to work on this, choose a larger space. If you’ve only got the morning while the kids are at school, maybe you choose the pantry or linen closet.
- Decide which rooms need your attention the most and which ones you can reasonably get done in the time you have.
- Make sure you account for time to actually get rid of the things you’re taking out. They need to get out ASAP. Sell them or donate them, but whatever you do, get them out of your house. Don’t create more problems by having a house full of stuff in a pile that you don’t want.
- Don’t worry about fancy upgrades or time consuming DIY projects at first. Just pick your rooms, write out a schedule, and get started.
If you’d rather go this route – binge watch a few episodes of her amazing show and get your motivation in gear! Decide which items you’ll go through first and get started. This method is very effective especially when you have trouble parting with stuff. If you need to assess each item and truly think about it, you may be better off KonMarie’ing the crap out of your house!
If you prefer to follow a guideline and it’ll keep you motivated, then yes! I think it’s for you.
How to Make it Work For Good!
There’s a few things you need to do to control your chaos if you want to keep it clutter free and organized.
Stop Buying “Stuff”
This one is harder for some than others and possibly the most important.
But you can’t get rid of junk and clutter if you’re constantly bringing more stuff in.
I don’t mean necessities. I mean all the excess stuff that you just don’t need right now. By all means, if you want to go through all your unwanted crap and then buy a few things you truly want, go for it. But for now, just stop. If you’ve got a new box being delivered every day and the FedEx or UPS driver knows you by name, it’s time for a break. Not only will you stop adding stuff to your already cluttered house, but you’ll save money.
Do whatever you have to do – stay out of Target, get off Amazon, and spend your free time getting your house under control instead of shopping. This is what I have to do with Target. Dang that red bullseye store. I love it so much. Those clearance ends at the aisles – why do you do that to me Target?? And your glorious dollar spot that I just can’t resist. I have zero willpower at Target so I just stay away if I’m trying to cut clutter or save money. I’ll see you soon Target, but not now.
If it’s clothes you have an affliction for, commit to not buying anything new until you’re done with this project. This includes kids too. Unless theirs are too small, they’ll be fine for a bit.
Home decor is another area I love. However, over the past year after doing my 8 week decluttering project, I realized I just didn’t need or want anything else all the time. I still buy a few things here and there, but I make sure it’s something I love. And I generally get rid of something to make room for a new item. But until the house is in order – just hold off.
Start Small if You’re Overwhelmed
Just like my friend’s foyer area – it’s good to start with a small space and go from there. Especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Pick an area you can accomplish quickly. A linen closet, a foyer, a kid’s closet, under the kitchen sink, your bathroom counters. Somewhere that won’t take all day, but will still give you a big result for your effort.
Here’s an example from my project last year – My Zero Cost Pantry Organization. There’s nothing fancy involved. No elaborate systems or labels. Simply getting rid of crap and organizing it. And it didn’t take forever. One quick project to cross off the list and you’ll have a much easier time meal planning when you can actually see what’s in your pantry.
Sometimes you need a little help with your projects. Maybe you need a friend or relative that’ll give you the gentle push you need to actually part with things you no longer need. It’s helpful to have an objective point of view from someone that isn’t emotionally attached to your things. Invite a friend over, kick the rest of the peeps out of the house and get to it!
Control Paper Clutter
This is a tough one for lots of people because so much paper comes into our houses. Mail, magazines, school papers, bills, etc. Paper clutter is something that definitely needs a system. Or else you end up with piles and piles of crap sitting around and you can never find anything you actually need. I’ve got 10 Guaranteed Ways To Control Paper Clutter and Helpful Ways to Organize School Papers that’ll solve this problem for you!
Be Honest With Yourself
Ask yourself a few questions when you’re going through stuff:
- Do I Love It?
- Do I Use It?
- and Do I Need It?
Not everything fits into all three categories and that’s ok. My paperwork box doesn’t elicit feelings of joy from me – quite the opposite actually, but it’s necessary and I use it. The random faux plants I have sitting around aren’t necessary, but I love them and I use them for decorating. Those makeup samples I’ve had for three years fit into none of the above categories so they get tossed. Just like my dresses from college. I don’t love them, use them, or need them, so they go.
I can promise you after doing this last year in my house, there’s nothing I donated or sold that I’ve missed in over a year. Nothing. Same goes for my kids’ stuff. I let them help when we did their rooms and our playroom. Never once have either of them come to me saying they wish we’d kept whatever random object got tossed out.
So are you ready?
Do you really need the KonMarie Method to get your house in order? Maybe. Maybe not. The truth is it doesn’t really matter what method you use. The most important thing is to actually do something if you’re bothered by the current state of your house.
Let me know what you prefer! And I’d love to share some of your spaces – if you’ve got a great organizing system or hack – send it my way! It’s inspiring to see other’s organized rooms. Not everyone has the same style, budget, or abilities, but we can all learn from others. Email me and show me what you’ve got!
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