I picked up a copy the book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” in February and the timing was perfect because I was looking for some fresh ideas for decluttering my home. While I was excited about most of Marie Kondo’s methods, I giggled at the silliness of others, but she’s a wizard at tidying, so who am I to judge her if she talks to her socks?! I’ve started applying some of her approaches, but as a mom, I’ve had to make a few tweaks because some things are totally unrealistic, such as attacking your entire wardrobe all at once or greeting your home every time you enter it.
The first step in the KonMari method is to commit to tidying up your home and to visualize your ideal lifestyle. Getting your home to where you want it will take time, but Marie Kondo’s theory is that once you have achieved your ideal, you won’t need to do the entire tidying process again, you will simply maintain.
A few weeks ago, I tested the waters by starting in on my sock drawer (yikes). It was fine to dump all of them out on the floor because they are more manageable than my entire closet, but still, my socks were out of control and there was a pretty daunting mound. After spending a couple of days on them, I am now so proud of how they look, all standing at attention and sorted by colour and purpose – athletic, dressy, thick and thin. I didn’t thank them for their service, though, as Kondo suggests. Sorry, Marie.
I’m not looking forward to doing my daughter’s socks now, because we will need to get a little more creative with her drawer space. This is where the KonMari method of repurposing boxes comes in handy for moms. Kondo recommends using old shoe boxes and containers to use as drawer dividers, perfect for socks, underwear, jewellery and other small items. This is the best way to get kids involved because they typically like saving cool boxes to store their things. Have them help you make separators for all the drawers in your house, not just their own bedrooms.
The KonMari method of sorting by category instead of location works especially great for moms. Consult the handy checklist to see the different categories, and feel free to add your own. And like I mentioned, if heaping all of your clothing together and trying to sort it in one day isn’t practical for you, try starting with just one type of clothing at a time. Gather them up and put only the ones that “spark joy” in your “to keep” pile.
Marie Kondo says that instead of looking to discard items, look first at what you plan to keep. Afterwards, everything else can go. Continue to do this for all clothing until you’re done, and have your kids work on their belongings at the same time. Throughout the process, remember to ask yourself if an item “sparks joy” for you. If the answer is no, sayonara. This is especially fun for young kids as you can make a game out of it. Yell goodbye and thank you to unwanted items as you toss them into a big bag or box.
Teach kids the method by starting them off with easier tasks like learning how to fold and organizing their drawers, and make sure to keep sentimental items until the very end. Children should be allowed to “keep anything that continues to spark joy in them, no matter what it is and no matter what anybody else would think.”
Having a tidy home means your family knows where to find everything in the house and they won’t waste time searching for belongings. This is essential for busy families and is possible when you categorize your possessions and keep each item in a fixed position in your house. For clothing, you should fold each item according to the Konmari method and store in an upright position in a drawer or storage container.
While Marie Kondo has some great approaches to decluttering your home, her method doesn’t have to be the be-all and end-all of your tidying arsenal. Use her book to inspire you to look at decluttering in an entirely new way. I always appreciate any and all tips for keeping my home tidy and divesting myself of too many sentimental items!
Use our handy konmari checklist for moms to get started and work your way to a tidy home.
By Kristen Wint