My KonMari Journey – Part 1

April 21, 2015
As a professional organiser, I have of course read quite a few books by leading declutter professionals, my favourites being Julie Morgenstern and Peter Walsh. However, there is a relatively new book by Marie Kondo, the very successful author of ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’. Here is how I recently started my personal KonMari journey.

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My KonMari Journey Part 1

When I went back to visit family in Switzerland in December 2013, my mum gave me this book (in German it’s called ‘Magic Cleaning – Wie richtiges Aufräumen Ihr Leben verändert’). Apparently, it was already quite popular in Europe, but I hadn’t heard of it yet in Australia. I read it during my stay there and found it OK, but not extremely revolutionary.

However, during the last year, my thinking has changed a bit, and all of a sudden, I have to say that her approach does hit a nerve. So, here I am as a professional organiser, reading her book again and most importantly, going through the process myself. Yes, in our own home! It’s not very cluttered, but read on to find out what happened.

KonMari – as she calls herself – doesn’t declutter in the way that most others do. One main difference regarding her method is that she concentrates on items that are staying in the home, which are only things that spark joy. All the other items and possessions are being thanked for having served, and then they are released and discarded by donating, selling or tossing them.

She very clearly recommends decluttering your home in a certain sequence, and most importantly, by categories and not by rooms. After creating a vision for the home, she starts with the clothes and ends with sentimental items. This makes sense to me because clothes usually have less sentimental value to us, and it gives us a chance to hone our skills before we come to the really difficult decisions.

I will write in another post about what you need to know before you start with the KonMari method (sign up at the end of this post so you don’t miss it).

Let me tell you about my first experience going through all my clothes (please note that you should only make decisions about your own stuff and leave the items that belongs to other family members alone).

This was my wardrobe before:

 

Wardrobe before decluttering with Konmari method

 

1. Take it all out

“O.M.G.” was all I could say. Have a look at that (and I consider myself as a woman who has not so many clothes …).
Pile of clothes before decluttering with KonMari method

 

Even for me as an organiser who has seen worse, it felt a bit overwhelming. The thing is, you not only empty your wardrobe, but gather all your clothes from wherever they are stored in your house.

So, I listened to my own advice – just start! – and followed the sequence that Marie Kondo suggests in her book. First up were tops, and then bottom parts, etc.

 

2. Let the sparkling of joy begin!

Again, as suggested by KonMari, I picked up every single piece and asked myself whether or not it sparks joy. If yes, it stays. If not, you thank the garment for having served its purpose and discard it. Sounds crazy? Exactly my thoughts when I read the book first. However, I’ve tried it and also did some more reading about gratitude, and for me, it does work. If you don’t want to say it out loud, just do so silently in your head.

 

3. Find a home for your clothes

One can hang or fold their clothes. KonMari highly recommends folding most garments (see here how she folds a t-shirt). We renovated our walk-in-robe a couple of years ago and put in some drawers and shelves, which is great. (If you only have hanging rods, there are other solutions, such as hanging organisers with drawers.) I have folded everything stored in my drawers, and I will need to buy a couple of containers for my tops that are still folded and piled in the ‘pancake’ way. Just want to give it a try.

This is an example with scarfs. I always used a special hanger but that never really worked for me. I love how I can now see at a glance what scarfs I have (after purging 50 %!).

Scarfs before and after folding according to KonMari

 

 

Finally, this is how my wardrobe looks now:

 

Wardrobe after decluttering with Konmari method

 

It might not look much different than the previous photo, but believe me – it actually does spark joy when I look at it! I have 5 full bags for charity and one bag of rubbish because the garments were stained or torn (if you wouldn’t wear it anymore, why would anybody else? Don’t donate those things). As mentioned, I hadn’t regarded my wardrobe as cluttered, but I was still able to let go of so many things.

 

Clothes donations

What is my verdict after the first step of my KonMari journey? I think it’s a really good approach because one creates a vision to start with, and then concentrates on the joy and positiveness. It absolutely does make sense to declutter by category, and not by room, even if it can be very overwhelming. If it’s too much, start out with a sub-category only. Most people don’t have the time to spend whole days decluttering anyway, and they might have to break it up into smaller bites due to the lack of time.

 

Having said this, I have only done my clothes and will now move onto my books. This will be a challenge because I looove books. Read here how it went (sign up below to not miss any future blog posts).

 

Wish me luck, and as always, I would love to hear about your KonMari adventure.

 

Related posts:

My KonMari Journey – Part 2 – Books
What you need to know before starting with the KonMari method
Should You Apply the KonMari Method for Your Printed Photos?

 

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13 Comments

  1. Susanne

    great post, like you I thought the hype was not verifiable by anything revolutionary in this book – but I just red bits and pieces. Might have to read the whole book now.

    • Chantal Imbach

      Yes, I think it’s definitely worth reading again and I just want to go through the process myself to learn more about it. Have fun 🙂

  2. Olga@Peaceful Mothering

    It looks fantastic Chantal! I love how your scarves look. I totally believe in this method and I say that we should all look into our wardrobes and feel like we are stepping into a boutique ;). It makes such a difference to our wellbeing!

    Looking forward to your adventure unfolding. I am still busy with my kitchen :).

    xxx

    • Chantal Imbach

      Thanks Olga :-). So it seems you are already working the Komono or Miscellaneous category? How did you find the document category? I expect this one might be a bit overwhelming for me.

      xxx

  3. Michelle

    Well done Chantal! You have inspired me to have a go at my overcrowded wardrobe. I love your scarf storage idea. I wondered how you tackled storage of your shoes please?

    • Chantal Imbach

      You’re so right, we are drowning in stuff and others have nothing. It is really a so-called first world problem and I’m glad to see that many people are starting to realise that not the items are important but people.

  4. Chantal Imbach

    Hi Michelle
    I will post a picture of our shoe shelf on my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/simplyinordermel). We use two of these shelves from Ikea (http://www.ikea.com/au/en/catalog/products/30178092/) and they stand in our entryway. I do have shoe boxes for a couple of fancy shoes that I wear like once a year and I keep in the walk-in-robe. Shoe boxes also from Ikea but I actually wouldn’t recommend them because they don’t close completely and dust still gets in. In any case, I always recommend clear boxes/containers so you can actually see what’s in them.
    There are heaps of various storage options, check out some ideas here: https://www.pinterest.com/simplyinorder/simply-in-order-shoes/

  5. Carina Spring

    I enjoyed the post! It resonates with me because several years ago I decluttered my home. I decided to keep and display the things that I loved and/or that had special meaning (and inspired positive feelings) The result was pretty joyful! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  6. Honour Min

    I too am a Konvert having completed the process in our [Canadian] home May 2015. I hope you noticed that in interviews and script Ms Kondo explains that some things are retained because they are used regularly to serve practical needs like snow boots. I’ve found it practical to cut mostly shoe or sweater boxes to fit shelves or drawers to support 3 fold, standing garments book-like. They are easily painted with a small roller and ordinary paint or covered with a slash of fabric from a garment being released. [just dip in diluted white glue decoupage-like]
    BTW, check with your community’s thrift store, some larger ones send damaged clothes/fabric overseas for recycle to industrial carpet.

    The best feature of KM has been the change in spending habits . I never saw myself as an impulse shopper until I had to face 9 pairs of similar black shoes! ouch Also it’s been a bad patch of medical problems and hospitalization. Amazingly, our home stayed tidy. DH struggled with laundry but that was the only important issue. The family found it easy to stay with ‘a home for everything and everything in it’s home.’

    • Chantal Imbach

      Thanks for sharing your tips and experience!

  7. Bren Murphy

    Having read the book a few years back I completely turned my relationship around with de-cluttering and simplifying things. Now it is a real mindful moment for me and I can genuinely enjoy the puzzle of untangling a mess and leaving it in a better, more easily managed situation at the end of the exercise. Some great tips here and helpful comments.
    Thank you
    Bren

    • Chantal Imbach

      Thanks Bren, glad you found it helpful.

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