I read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up in 2015. I’m not tired of it yet.
For one, I still fold all of our clothing the way she suggests. That idea alone, in my opinion, is worth the price of her book (though of course there are now 9432 pinned pictures and YouTube videos available to get this advice for free!).
Secondly, I still CRAVE that light feeling that arises when a category is really and truly tidied (which to me means pared down to what is truly needed and/or wanted). The process and outcome really does make me happier, somehow streamlining my thoughts and actions in a deeper, more meaningful way. What can I say — I guess I just really believe in the power of Tidying Up! At least for me. I know there are people that could care less about what is in their closets (both of my parents! And I think my podcast cohost, too, even though we are similar in many other ways. Laura, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong!!).
However, I am sad to say that I have found several flaws in the famous Kondo plan. I actually have no objection to the hippie-dippie stuff, and I like the whole idea of thanking items and deciding what sparks joy. My issues are as follows:
1) Corralling every single item from any given category is hard to do all at once in a house with multiple rooms and 2 floors. We do not live in a huge house (we have ~2100 square feet, 3 bedrooms total, very little storage space, and no basement). But it isn’t a tiny Tokyo studio, either — which I suspect is where she tested/perfected her methods. I have my clothing, the kids’ clothing, Josh’s clothing, etc. It isn’t as straightforward as she makes it sound to gather everything in one category all together.
2) She promises that once you do this, it’s done. Nope — not for us. I’m not sure what the right interval is to repeat the process . . . yearly perhaps? A January tradition? Maybe it’s the fact that we have kids with ever-growing-and-changing-collecitons of stuff, or maybe it’s just that we’re WEAK and bad minimalists (possible), but things accumulate. And what was once perfectly Kondo’d starts to feel cluttered again. We are definitely in that zone now.
3) Given that I have children and a job and many more time constraints than Marie had when she was writing her book (I’m sure she’s much busier now with 2 young kids and a decluttering empire!), it is hard for me to get this all done in large chunks as she suggests. IE: a full category daily isn’t necessarily going to happen for me right now, even on maternity leave.
4) There are some methods that do clash with my desire to be efficient. I am NOT emptying out my purse/work bag/diaper bag daily (though I could probably be convinced to do it, say, weekly). It is not realistic for every flat surface to be clear — that coffee maker is staying on the counter!
Therefore, I am not going to go through her methods exactly as she lays out, nor am I going to expect them to be permanent. But I still have an intense desire to go through the process again, in my own way. I have decided to create a list of categories (see below). However, I then decided that this still isn’t granular enough to get done realistically during leave. So, what I’m going to try is 30 minutes/day of gradual progress.
Multiply it times 50 days or so, and I think I can get a LOT done. I have already done C’s toys, A’s clothing, and today I’m about to start on my clothing (which is daunting given that there is a hideous melange of maternity / post-maternity / not-really-quite-fitting regular-stuff all tangled up in there).
Oh! And I am guessing some of you are wondering how the kids do with this process. I think I’ll do a whole other post with pix, but the short answer is — shockingly well. Annabel especially. And C doesn’t seem to care (or notice) enough to really resist.
* we use “Kondo” or “Kon-Mari” as a verb in this house regularly; it means to weed through things and eliminate what does not spark joy. I don’t feel that another real word describes the process adequately.