A Review of the Kon-Mari Method – the life changing magic of tidying up

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I didn’t need the Kon-Mari method. I’m not a hoarder. Neither is my husband. We keep a pretty tight ship. But we have these little secret hoarders pockets throughout our house. A few drawers in my dresser, a shelf in the bedroom closet, a section of my office closet, a drawer in my desk (okay, maybe WE don’t have secret hoarders pockets…this might be my issue). We did, however, have a not-so-secret hoarding space that had grown out of control without our awareness. Our attic.

It wasn’t that we were like, “No one will ever see it! Hide it in the attic! Your mother is coming, we have to do something!” It was a slow, gradual, creeping-of-crap that grew and grew, until it took over and started its own system of government and free commerce. We had to intervene.

The issue really is that I become emotionally attached to things, as many of us do, or I’m too thrifty to get rid of perfectly good things. But, rather than find a use for or display them, because I truly have no need for them, I just stick it in my hoarders attic. Home decor I no longer have a place for? Banished to the attic. Kitchen items I don’t really don’t use anymore? To the attic they go. Some expensive piece of electronic equipment Apple replaced five minutes ago? The attic is your new home.

The issue really was the needing to make peace with things that no longer served us. In comes The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.  I’d heard people talking about the Kon-Mari method, and thought, “whatever”. I mean, seriously, a method that instructs people to find what sparks joy? It sounded ridiculous even to me, and I’m a bit hippy-dippy. But it intrigued me enough to check into it, and before long, I had bought the book and I was hooked.

The Kon-Mari method essentially instructs you to hold onto your belongings to see if they “spark joy”. If they don’t, it’s probably something you can do without. So, two weeks ago, hubs and I took to the hoarders attic, made peace with our tendency to love on and save things, and started to purge. Bit by bit, we sorted our things into save, donate and throw away piles.

I’m embarrassed to admit how much was actually worthless and went straight to the trash. There were plenty of great things we had to admit would be better off with someone who could use it. Then of course, there were the sentimental things that I feel like have somehow etched themselves into my very DNA and of course I can never part with or I will die. These are not things of monetary value, and when I’m dead my daughter will likely just shake her head at her mother’s secret hoarding that no one else knew about as she’s tossing it all in a Dumpster.

To say that I used Marie Kondo’s Kon-Mari method to the letter may be a bit of a stretch. I’m emotional, so I have to make quick decisions, much like tearing off a band-aid. To see if it sparks joy? It worked for me some of the time, but for other things, it sparked tears of nostalgia and feelings of guilt about getting rid of it because “that was from when she was a baby” and getting rid of it means I’m a horrible mother. OBVIOUSLY.

Still, the method overall really works. I’ve now moved on to my wardrobe. Again. I seem to do this every other month. I’m by no means completely done, but I have a good head start on that hot mess. It does make me wonder, though, why and how do we accumulate so much clutter? What is our compulsion to want to own the things we admire? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Leave me a comment here or on Facebook or Twitter. 


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