Learning to clean with my new buddy, KonMari

Learning to clean the KonMari way / organized closet
Me – “Could you lead me to the cleaning book?”

Bookstore – “Ah. The KonMari method? The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo?”

“That’s the one…”

I first heard about the book from Colleen, at 58 Water Street, who is also cleaning with this method.

If you haven’t yet heard of this book, it’s one of the hottest sellers out there right now. And me so not being a tidy person, felt I should at the very least investigate.

You see, I’ve dropped the bucket on my cleaning efforts once again. I started working on taxes instead.

Purging or taxes… fabulous choice…

But something did trigger a tidying response in me yesterday.

See these clothes not even TOUCHING each other?

Learning to clean the KonMari way / The life changing magic of tidying up
the life-chainging magic of tidying up – mari kondo – buy HERE from Amazon (affiliate link)

Gotta blame it on Miss Marie Kondo.

And the gal at the bookstore.

I went into the store in search of a food book actually, but ended remembering the big hit this book is. So I asked about it. 

Once it was in my hand, I had to ask…

Me – “Have you read it? What’s your take?”

And that’s when everything changed.

It was like a bucket of real life just splashed on our heads as the sales girl left, letting in the real girl with issues like everyone else in the world. There was a pause, then her voice lowered…

“You know… I did. I’m actually a very tidy person. It was my husband that isn’t. But the book has taught me much more than about cleaning techniques. It reaches the heart of the matter, and explains WHY we are the way we are. It’s really helped me understand things better, and pull back.”

I could only wish I over cleaned…

But.. oh my. This was much deeper than I anticipated. Was I ready for a book like this?!

So I brought the book home, cracked it open, and with two furry cats shedding by my legs, while I munched on chips, watching flakes fall on this very book, I started to dig in.

Learning to clean the KonMari way / The life changing magic of tidying up
It is not a pretty picture book. In fact, there is not one picture in it.

But the reading is gentle, and friendly. And easy on the eyes.

The book’s premise:

We are clutter bugs because we have never been taught to clean properly. 

But once you learn, and implement the right strategies, you will never have to do this again to this degree.

Because you will ultimately have a place for EVERY THING. And that really is the key.

But it is not about purging from room to room. There’s a specific sequence, and it starts with clothes, for they don’t hold memories, stalling your progress. Starting here also helps train you for the harder things to come.

When we purge, we often focus on the things we need to let go of, when we should be focusing on the things that bring us joy instead. <— This right here… works!

While reading, I was ready to pounce out of bed and just start! But I obeyed, and read until the clothes category was done. 

At precisely 10:30pm, I bolted for the closet, following her method, and was done in about 10 minutes. Bagged and everything.

Last time I did this, it took me 2 weeks to bag the contents. Hmm…

Learning to clean the KonMari way / A tidy closet
As for my closet, I love EVERYTHING in there, and would wear anything you handed to me in a flannel covered heartbeat.

So, I’m going to try to keep moving with this, category by category, under her suggestions.

So, do I recommend the book? I would say yes. If you continue to have the same issues over and over again, this method could very well work for you. I’ll keep you posted on my own progress!

I purchased it locally, but you can get it at Amazon.com HERE (affiliate link) for a much lower price than I did! 

So to further give YOU a tug in the right direction, I’d love to share with you, spaces by 3 readers that have been working very hard behind the scenes!

entry before
entry after
Shawnda chose her front entry.

You can just feel the silence and quiet now, can’t you? Beautiful space!

closet before and after
closet before and after
Marci worked on her closet.

What a difference! Don’t you love how everything has a place?

basement before
basement after
Beth chose her basement.

She claims she has more to go, but I don’t have a clue where! Check out that amazing floor space!

Didn’t these ladies do an amazing job?!

Cleaning is such hard work, but the pay off so huge.

I even fell asleep last night with my closet open, so I could peek at it while I drifted off. 🙂

 

From Crap to Clean before Spring!.01 PM.png
So, from Crap to Clean before Spring is the new mantra for now!

So we have time later to…

weed our gardens. 

Sigh… 🙂

 

How are you managing? Think the book may be a must read for you?


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Categories: From Crap to Clean, Junk Drawer
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  1. Oh boy! The Kon Mari method. I started reading the book but only read half way through before giving up.

    Her regaling of the tales of her childhood cleaning endeavours left me cold. What child in their right mind spends all their time cleaning? Let alone sneakily going through other family member’s items and doing the same to their stuff? I’ve worked with kids my whole life and found her childhood behaviour’s concerning. But, if it helps people clear out clutter and fold t-shirts, underwear and socks neatly, go for it!

    I think most of us are able to make good decisions about what should be kept and what needs to be let go. There is a fellow, Peter ___???, who has also written books on this same subject and did a TV show. He helped people to go through their ‘things’ and to only keep what was needed, too. He even encouraged dumping keepsakes by taking pictures of them instead. We didn’t actually need the item to invoke the wonderful memories attached to it. Looking at a picture of the item does the same thing.

    What a rant! I’m glad you’ve had success doing a clean-up this week. I think all Marie really does is to give people ‘the permission’ to ruthlessly clear out stuff. Aftrr sll, she’s a cleaning ‘expert’ (neurotic, to say the least). So many people can’t declutter/clean up on their own because they feel guilty about the money they’ve invested in all their things. Ka-ching! Too much money spent to then turn around and throw so much away. Cue the music from ‘Frozen’. ..Let it go, let it go!

    • Haha, isn’t it interesting what strikes each of us growing up? I was about making a mess: you couldn’t see my bedroom floor… ever! I was too busy horseback riding. 🙂

      What I did enjoy was her telling us about the things she did that didn’t work, then figuring out a better way that did.

      I liken any good book reading to resemble going to a meeting, and getting pumped up about most any topic. How many of us mess makers would actually bother to sit and read a tidying book? Never! But perhaps if we did, we’d have clean houses by now? NO idea! haha I guess I needed this one hit wonder to cross my path to motivate me further.

      I do agree with you on the grounds that I connected well with her reasoning for ditching stuff. Just having an item for a small amount of time can do the job without keeping it for life. Sometimes we need something to tell us it’s the wrong thing for us all along. I loved that way of thinking!

    • Hi – I didn’t read all of the comments so if I am repeating, please forgive me. The fellow you were trying to remember is Peter Walsh. He has a few books but the one I use faithfully is “It’s All Too Much”. I first watched that show of his years ago and then bought the book. I have given that book to many friends having trouble purging & honoring their “stuff”. If I am on my game I read it every year to refresh & remind myself to have only the things in my home & around me that I LOVE.
      Blessings to all…..

    • I have to agree with you on that – I just kept telling myself over and over that perhaps it is a cultural difference thing. It creeped me out too, and I kinda don’t like all the chatter about why and how she got to where she is, time is short, get to the point, please lady! BUT anything that motivates me for anti-clutter change is a good thing, regardless of this lady’s childhood, haha.

  2. Hi,
    I enjoyed your blog today about clutter! I am everything you described! So, I have seen Marie Condo on television. While I was reading your blog I ordered the book.
    Thanks for the nudge!

    • I’m excited for you, Margaret! I think you’ll really enjoy it! But just wait until those clean spaces emerge. I keep staring at my closet. I don’t even want to buy more to fill it up. I love it empty! haha

  3. Marci has….has…..has…….EMPTY SPACE in her closet!!!!!!!!! I didn’t know we were allowed to have that!!!! Wow!!!!! Awesome work, everyone!

  4. While I didn’t read the book and only watched a couple videos, I got on famously with this method in the before Christmas C to C challenge and I must say that I’ve kept it up. Once you get rid of the stuff it’s infinitely easily to keep sushi rolling! I love it and my messy 20-something child loves it too. I’m not sure that each time I walk into my house or pick up a sweater I thank it for keeping me warm, but the thought is there sometimes and that makes my life a little nicer…and cleaner. 😀

    • So glad Veronica! You’ve done some great clean ups!

      Did you get to see the part about how Marie empties her purse each time she came home? I think my jaw hung open for 30 minutes! It’s involved. 🙂 I would just never have never thought to do that! But it makes sense. We unpack bags, but never all the floating receipts in our purses.

      It’s those tiny details that made the book itself rather fascinating. Not that I would do them, but so interesting to hear what others do and why!

  5. I checked it out from the library a few weeks ago and read it in a day. I’m neurotically tidy by nature, but it really helped with the unseen things. And I’m loving her clothes storage method. The upright t-shirts and such in drawers is awesome and still working well. I still have a nightmare attic and garage to tackle, but we’re getting there.

    • It is a very quick read! I nearly read the whole thing in one sitting as well. So glad it’s worked for you!

      I’m still unsure about all that folding… I don’t have a space issue in my closet, but I did try folding socks… I laughed out loud about her description of how they ‘need to rest’… and how she can spot someone who balls up their socks. LOL

    • Laura, those valentines are exquisite… and perhaps you already love what you have, so there’s no need to ditch in that regard.

      Her main philosophy was having a spot for every little thing, and I think that’s where most of us fail and need to let go. I certainly know that’s true for me!

  6. Too funny! I finally checked out the ebook from my library (cheaper choice) and read to 90%, and the check out expired. I checked out the audio download next and finished the book. I’ve been telling everyone I see how excited I am to do this. I have my husband listening to the audio version because I am not going to be able to convince him to do this on my own. I have sorted and tossed with abandon. It is so much easier with the idea of whether this sparks joy. Also the idea that you have already received what you needed out of items you mispurchased. (I think I made up that word) Anyway, LOVE the idea. I am so excited to eliminate all the extra EXTRA in my life.

    • So agree about the ‘spark joy’ theory. I was able to finally ditch so many things in my closet I thought I had to have, but never liked wearing. This includes a new jacket I’ve barely worn! GONE! 🙂

  7. I am under the spell of magical tidying up. I started about four months ago. I am in the process of downsizing and like you, I have many tantalizing hobbies with all the dodads and whirligigs. Starting with the clothes made it easier for me to tackle the rest of my place where previously I had been overwhelmed by where to begin.

    The best advice in her book? Two tips really helped me: 1. Get all like things in one room before you sort. OMG what a lot of duplicates, triplicates, kazillionates I have! That was very sobering to see the ridiculous waste of money and space in my chaotic brain and home. But I forgave myself and know this won’t happen again because everything has a place! 2. Thank each item. When I could says thanks for being of service or giving me the thrill of finding, it helped me forgive myself for all the “stuff” I have.

    In the end, I think her methods really bring a level of consciousness.

    Enjoy the journey! PS: love your blog …I am a fan girl.

  8. My clean-out started in December 2014 before you started the “Heap of Change Challenge” in January 2015. I documented along with you, and I continued after your challenge ended. I worked slowly and steadily to clear my house of stuff I no longer needed or wanted — no matter how much money I spent on it. I started with my crafting supplies. Eventually, I went to the kitchen. It was difficult to go through the decor that was still in boxes, because we were waiting to buy a house, and I felt that I still enjoyed those things. I decided to hold off on those and make a decision after decorating the new house.

    Now, a year has past, and the Kon Mari method emerges. It isn’t something I need, and I have heard enough about it from others. I already did what needed to be done, and I am satisfied with my accomplishments.

    I think it takes a change in attitude. It is a process of finally realizing that I made some mistakes, and I was ready to correct them. I spent money on some things, because what I really wanted was too expensive. I was settling. I also spent money on things I didn’t need just because they would be wonderful to own.

    Eventually, I realized my errors, and I acted accordingly. I cleaned out. It’s tough to be brutally honest with one’s self, but I did it. I packed up boxes and boxes of stuff that I no longer need in my house. {Luckily, my wife was with me every step of the way.} They are sitting in the garage right now. When it is a little warmer, I will be out there pricing them for a yard sale in the spring. I aim to be one of the first of the season! And, I also decided I’m going to warn all the people in my area so they can join me for a neighborhood event.

  9. I bought this book last fall at the request of my daughter, with the understanding that I would pass it along. (She lives in a studio apartment in Manhattan with her boyfriend and needs some help.) I find it a good read with some solid advice, but the “doing it all at once” mentality means I have to wait until summer, when I’m not working. After a day with teenagers, I’m pooped!

  10. For me, the book was a bit wordy, but I got it on Audible with my credit for the months and listened while I was working around the house, so it didn’t really bother me. I’ve read a number of books and sites and references about “decluttering” that usually center around “how many X do you really need? Or how often do you use Y?

    This book struck a different chord for me because it didn’t ask if I needed or used something. It asked if I LIKED it…did it spark joy? I never really thought much about it. If I had pants, and they were just a tad too long, but not really long enough to take the time to hem, I just didn’t wear them as often. I wore them, but every time I was tripping, I was annoyed. But they covered my body and kept me from freezing, so I kept them. This time, I really evaluated each item based on how it impacts my life whenever I use it.

    I think with any sort of “method” to doing things, you have to keep the pieces that speak to you and flush the rest. Some people really don’t like the aspect of thinking of the items as having thoughts and feelings, or of thanking the item. The Shinto aspect doesn’t resonate with them. That’s fine. Think of whatever entity or feeling you do relate with gratefulness and just be grateful that you have the resources to have acquired that item to begin with and those that allow you to pass this along to someone that might have better luck with it.

    Some of my more loved items are now seen and used more often. I agree with taking pictures of an item to a point…but I have to say that whenever I pick up my grandmother’s dough cutter, that well-worn handle fitting my own hand almost perfectly while I make her apple dumplings or some other family recipe…a picture doesn’t give me that warm feeling. 🙂

    • My pleasure Shawnda, your room transformation is amazing!

      I agree with you on the touching feeling holding aspect. If it’s small enough and I can use it, I’ll most certainly be keeping it too!

      The book was indeed wordy. It was more storyteller style, which is fine. It taught in a way that was easy to understand and relate to. I just wish the table of contents were more brief, so it would be easier to use as a reference.

  11. I bought her first book and her second book. See how that clutter things starts!!!! I love her book and have made a lot of changes. I don’t necessarily throw everything away; I donate to a few sources, sell or discard. I have always said to pick out the best stuff first, set it aside and then sort from there. Her technique is different, but fabulous. It never occurred to me to fold all my pjs, nightgowns, etc. all neatly; they were just tossed in a drawer and I thought it was organized because it was all in one drawer. Now that I fold and stand up stuff vertically, it’s a pleasure to open the drawer and pick something out. I can actually see stuff. I first thought vertical storage was a little nuts until I folded and vertically stacked all my husbands socks as well as his underwear. I couldn’t believe it. It’s so neat and took up 2/3rds the space that tossing them all in in a pile did. I thought she was a little strange and I still don’t thank my all my clothes every day, but I do understand that showing respect for your belongings is giving respect to yourself. Great books.

    • In Japan they believe all things, living and not have vibes/soul/whatever. They seldom, if ever buy used furniture and nearly never used musical instruments – because the past of the objects stay with the object….they usually ship musical instruments to the states for that very reason. One can always get a good deal on Japanese pianos, for fact. I bought flutes and piccolos like that in the past, but my favorite kind of piano isn’t the light treble-strong jazzy sounding pianos – give me an antique old deep moody base toned piano. But I DID see many available whenever I was shopping for a new piano.

      OK, this was long, sorry.

  12. I received an email from my local library telling me that my reserved copy is ready just five minutes before reading you blog, I kid you not. I’ve started seeing this book pop up all over the place. Quite ironically as I watch more and more pile of “stuff” popping up around my home. I’m eager to read through the book and get started.

  13. I quite enjoyed her book and love the notion of the method. It’s truly helping me clean out by not keeping things I’m not totally in love with. The biggest problem I’ve ran across is trying to corral the like things in one spot. So I was able to do my clothes and books but now that I’m to kimono I feel like I’m running around the house putting things where they belong instead of actually sorting them! My pride and joy accomplishment from this process is that I have all my important documents in 1 binder. I keep picking it up and flipping through it because the tidiness of it gives me so much pleasure. The more I throw out the lower my anxiety levels. I can find what I need in a moment. I love it. I wish I had started this decades ago!

  14. Well, about a week ago I bought this book, because about a month ago I cleaned under my sink (we have his and hers) and mine was just gross. It was difficult physically because it’s hard to sit on a cold tile floor, but I didn’t baby myself because I wanted to remember how bad I got it and how much time and energy it took to make it nice. And it is sooooooo nice now!

    So, THEN I got this book but truly – even without reading it – I had gotten ‘the bug” and started (am still) going through everything except the basement. That is last because it is REALLY badly cluttered!

    So far this week I have all my cabinets and cupboards and pantry in the kitchen big time organized. I wish I had taken before and after shots – but frankly it isn’t a before I am very proud of, but now I wish I had! At the moment I am a proud owner of one under cab and THREE drawers that are EMPTY! Now you must know that one of those drawers was the very same one that sometimes wouldn’t close for all the stuff crammed in it – or the items would fall down into the base cabinet below it. FOR SHAME!

    And it’s funny because I can’t seem to stop! Tomorrow my daughter (who needs money) is going to help me take everything out of my walk-in closet (again his/ hers we each have our own) and help me bag a lot of stuff and take another trip to charity. She has an SUV and I drive a tiny Mini Cooper, so I appreciate your youthful energy and help.

    Tonight hubs rewarded me with a trip to The Container Store – and I am so happy at the upgrades we’re making. I am almost (gasp) looking forward to making a wonderful niche out of my horrendous hoarderville of a basement. It is clean but oh my gosh I have entirely too much crap!

    GL keeping your nice – it’s really exciting isn’t it?

  15. One last thing: Donna you need to go to The Container Store and buy some of those awesome hangers called “Huggable Hangers!” right now they have a box of them on sale – nothing slips off them and they perform nicely. it even has the word JOY on the box, so it’s serendipity! Hurry, sale is off at end of month or earlier, I think!

  16. You did your closet in 10 minutes!? Good golly. That is AMAZING. I’ve gotten as far as clothes and part way through books. I also sort of jumped ahead and started tackling all my craft supplies. I’ll tell you what, I think I have a craft room that would make Ms. Konmari gag a little. It basically requires a PHD in Konmari. Which I sadly, don’t yet have. (Nor the attention span to ever get there, I’m afraid.) I look forward to admiring your super tidy house though 🙂

  17. I love all your posts and your home and am going to see about that book,clutter i do have.Your heart,i loved.Thanks Donna.