The Konmari method – solving a clutter and organisation problem

A few months ago I discovered the Konmari method of organisation and had to buy the book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo.  I literally blitzed my way through it, in the hope that I’d be motivated to seriously declutter my stuff and ultimately the house.

from this to this using the konmari method of decluttering and tidying - Bubbablueandme

Before I moved in there wasn’t much there – the OH lived in an empty un-lived in house with furniture, some clothes, some kitchenware and that was about it.  Being a girl, I have a lot of stuff.  Even when I declutter I have a lot of things left.  And while I’m not particularly bad at tidying, the volume of stuff does mean a lack of storage.  And the need to have lots of things I used daily close at hand, means there are lots of organised piles around the house.

So we need to declutter.  And have the house looking tidier which hopefully will encourage the OH to tidy up after himself (he leaves stuff around more often than me – dishes, glasses, magazines), and for N to realise his toys are what’s making the mess and that he needs to put everything away after use.

Inheriting various things from my mum’s house did mean I had to declutter and tidy a lot to fit them in which did help, but I could see that there was still a lot of stuff that isn’t really needed.

Konmari method

The Konmari method* is severe.  Marie Kondo takes no prisoners, it’s literally if you use it or it brings you joy then you can keep it.  Otherwise get rid.  Some of her ideas are a little wacky – saying thanks to your bag every evening, letting socks breath, and thanking items for helping you do things is not for me – but all of her clients have reduced their belongings and possessions by up to two thirds and haven’t missed it.

There are several stages and she’s very strict in the way you declutter and then organise afterwards.

  1. Clothes
  2. Books, dvds, audio
  3. Paper
  4. Miscellaneous

You’re not allowed to do other people’s for them, although you can encourage them to understand the benefits, but they have to give you permission to throw their things out.  I did do N’s clothes back early in May when we gave him my old chest of drawers from my mum’s house; his drawers have remained immaculate since then.  (I’ve also since then organised the OH’s drawers as well although not chucked anything – I’m not sure he’s even noticed!)

I started back in the summer on a weekend when N was out on the farm.  I do enjoy clearing things out, and occasionally blitz things, but then I seem to get back to where it was before really quickly.  So this time it was hardcore, no looking back.

Clothing

According to the method, you need to take every item of clothing from around the house, put it in a pile and then sort through it – to sell, to donate, to chuck (or recycle ideally).  I just used everything out of my wardrobe, drawers and floor.

I have a lot of clothes – I’ve got clothes that I love from years ago (usually amazing ball or cocktail dresses), size 10s that I don’t think I’ll get back into however much I try, and every size up to my current one…and that included about 30 pairs of jeans across those size ranges.  Usually when I’m clearing out, I sell a lot of stuff, but with this I needed a clean break.  Selling clothes means storage, a temptation to remove things out again, and the danger that the OH might get sick of all the bags around the house and burn them on a whim.  So I had 3 different piles – for swishing/friends to raid first, charity shop, and textile recycling bins.

By the end of the weekend I had 2 bin bags to take into work for colleagues to rummage through…maybe one day we should have a proper swishing party.  2 bags for textiles recycling, and horrifically another 8 bags for charity.  Oh and one for the bin – items that weren’t fabric so not for recycling.  My work friends loved me the week after, then the remaining items went to the Katharine House Hospice charity shop we support.  I also included bed linen and towels in my clothing total although not as much went of those.

Then it was on to organising.

before and after konmari decluttering - clothes
My wardrobe (on the right) is still full, but there is space now

Marie has a specific folding technique.  It seems normal and obvious once you start doing it, and it takes up so much less room.  The idea is to get as much as possible in drawers, leaving only creasable items in the wardrobe.  Although I’d cleared out that much I still didn’t have room for my remaining few pairs of fitting jeans in my drawers but they did fit in the wardrobe.

before and after clothes declutter and tidy via konmari method

I have one double wardrobe, one chest of drawers (equivalent of 5 drawers high) and my coats are in the OH’s wardrobe.  After the clear out and folding, I had space in my underwear and socks/tights drawers, and a lot of space in the OH’s wardrobe.  Nothing is spilling over into the spare room wardrobe either.  The only issue is if I ever need a suit for work, I’ll need to buy one because I gave away about 10 suits from previous jobs that no longer fit.  When I lose my weight, I shall just celebrate by buying myself a new wardrobe and totally getting rid of all the old clothes.

Clothing done, I then moved on to books a few weeks later.  While you can do one after the other, with work and other commitments, I didn’t have the time.   I think it’s also good to reflect on how amazingly well you’ve done in one place before moving on to the next.

Books

I love books.  I love reading.  And I have had a lot of books.  I also believe that every house should have books in, especially with children in the house.  Now, N’s books must outnumber mine.

I do now read a lot on my Kindle Paperwhite*.  I held off for a while but it’s so easy to read, hold and especially read in the dark late at night without disturbing others, so I am a convert.  It certainly helps with the Kon Marie method.  But I did want to keep some books.

Most of my books were double stacked on an ancient cheap Argos flat pack book case behind the tv.  It looked a mess even when I’d previously cleared out a lot, but now I had a proper antique book case from my mum’s, so there was no excuse. It was time to clear out properly.

I rarely re-read books, and that’s what Marie says in the book.  Why keep them in case of re-reading, when books are fairly cheap and you can repurchase or borrow from the library?  But then when I was a child (probably between age 8 and upwards), I voraciously read my way through my mum’s bookshelves. So it’s a shame when books go, that N won’t have them to pick up and savour.  Although most probably wouldn’t be his taste.

I had piles and piles of books once I’d removed them from my shelves.  Quite horrific when I think how much I’ve spent on books over the years, but then an awful lot of pleasure too.   I had 15 plastic bags full of books after I’d put all the unread books into the my mum’s old bookcase.   I added DVDs in there too, so that’s neat and tidy and all dvds are now hidden away tidily (except when N strews his across the floor and tv cabinet.

books before and after konmari method
The books were double stacked…now only a few remain (plus a neat Victorian bookcase)

The remaining few books that I’ve kept are those I really love, the classics that I am likely to re-read, and those I’d like to pass on to N.  The rest have gone to charity shops.  I’ve probably got 60 books left, and once I’ve got through the ‘to read’ shelves, they’ll mostly go too.

Results so far

It’s very therapeutic doing a proper declutter.  I’d have liked to have tried to sell a lot to make some money back, but I know that having stuff sitting around the house wouldn’t be good.

The next steps I’ve not started yet.  Paper is going to be quite daunting but I’ll do my tax return first, then hit the paper (probably over the Christmas holidays when I’ve got time off).

The results are worth doing.  Months later, clothes still have their place, and it’s rare that clothes are left out for more than a day before being put away.  It’s doesn’t take long to fold everything after drying, although I’ve still got to train N the way to do it which does mean I’m the only one who can do the laundry – but then I did it anyway.  My empty book shelves behind the tv now have photos on them and there’s wall space.

My aim once I’ve decluttered totally is to decorate the house (well, get someone in), Get some shelves above the tv (built in hopefully) for some arty minimal decoration, and just have a better more clear space for all N’s stuff.  We do need to get some more toy storage, because I’d moved everything upstairs but N just brings it all back down again.  A shed is needed first to get rid of all his outdoor toys and the camping equipment into the garden from the utility room, and to clear out the playroom/dining room as well. Maybe then we’ll have a house that’s actually finished instead of half a job and boring magnolia.

Have you gone through the Konmari organisation method?  Do you blitz or do little bits?

 

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43 thoughts on “The Konmari method – solving a clutter and organisation problem

  1. I have started reading this book, and am just getting through the Christmas and holiday washing and then hopefully I will have finished the book and can start the decluttering, I am hoping to do it over a few weekends because with the boys it isn’t always going to be that easy but I really really want to get it done now.

    What you have done looks amazing well done! x

  2. I am in the process of reading the book. I have been looking over the internet trying to find information from people who are doing this method of tidying. I have enjoyed reading your blog and found this to be very interesting. I hope to start working on my clothes after Christmas. I find my self going back and forth from excitement to dread. I worry that I won’t be able to release clothes. I am confused. I have an illness which has led to a weight gain. I am not joyful over my larger sized clothes, and I worry that if I get rid of smaller clothes I won’t have anything to wear if I do lose weight. I do want this to work!

  3. Fab overview Emma! I was talking about this with a friend tonight so I’ll send her the link. I have to admit I missed the bit about not throwing away other peoples stuff and threw away my hubbies junk when he was on a business trip. You know he couldn’t mention one thing that was gone! #TheList

  4. Since my last house shift, I am determined not to fill up with clutter again, I think I am winning. Well almost. Thank you so much for bringing this post to the Blogger’s Pit Stop. Every post adds value for us all. We love to see you enjoying the blogging experience and we want to help you achieve that. Whatever your blogging goals we hope you have found a piece of knowledge here that will help you going forward. Liking on SU
    Kathleen #PitStopCrew
    Kathleen recently posted…Upside-down Apple Cake | Gluten FreeMy Profile

  5. I think I need to pick up that book! We are a family of four and no matter how much I try to organize and get ride of things it just feels like we have too much stuff for our space. I think a super strict method is in order! Thanks for sharing your results!
    Amber E2SYL recently posted…Home Gym EssentialsMy Profile

  6. Oh well done you! I keep reading about this book/method and it sounds so effective. I’m just not sure I’m brave enough to do it properly yet, I’m so sentimental! x

    1. Hi Carol,
      Yes it’s definitely hard core, but it works. It’s finding the time to do it that’s hard…and then getting others in the house to follow it too.
      Thanks for stopping by

    1. Ah, well this book is definitely for you. That’s what she says in the beginning that little and often doesn’t help. It has to be all or nothing, hardcore to make it really happen.

  7. As you know I’ve been using this method as well although I’ve only got part way through the books so far. I have very few clothes left now. I took two big bags of clothes round to a friends house for an evening of clothes swapping, now the rest will go to the charity shop. I’ve saved a few pieces to sell and you are right that unless you do it right away they can just sit there…

    1. I’m also aiming to chuck fat clothes out as I’m losing weight. Annoyingly the clothes sizing isn’t going down yet…damn being a pear shape. Means it takes about 2 stone to lose a dress size vs some people when that would be 2 sizes.

  8. I am a big fan of decluttering and plan to do some more of it this month. Hopefully before christmas. Lovely to see how you are getting on with this book. I think anything that can help you live better and feel better is great. She has some interesting ideas. x
    Tanita recently posted…Review of the Reginox ceramic sinkMy Profile

  9. It’s great to read how you are getting on with this book and way of decluttering. I have bought the book but yet to read it. I am hoping it is going to really help me declutter and get organised. Reading your results does fill me with hope. It’s one for my new years resolution. Thanks for sharing.
    The L’s Mum recently posted…Will I ever forget?My Profile

  10. I am in the middle of a massive declutter at the moment as we may be moving house – last time we did, I was pregnant, so a lot of junk came with us, and over the years my wardrobe has had maternity clothes and different sizes too. I have got better at doing little blitzes especially on the clothes, but it’s incredibly therapeutic to actually be a bit more ruthless (not quite on Marie’s level though!). All my books bar about 12 now fit on my bookcase and boxes went to charity. I had rings spilling out of a jewellery box so I couldn’t even see the ones at the bottom, now I’ve ditched those I’ll realistically never wear again, I did a major filing session in advance of the tax return. I just need to work out how to do it more than every 3 1/2 years!
    Cathy (MummyTravels) recently posted…City Tripping #4My Profile

    1. You should. Normal decluttering just doesn’t do the job, this way is so sensible but it should mean you don’t need more storage but you can see what you really need/love.

  11. Well done! I have been decluttering for most of this year and still a way to go. It isn’t easy when you have other hoarders in the house! I am going to go through my clothes again. I picked up a cardigan earlier and thought I’m not sure I even like it any more, so charity bag it is x
    Louise recently posted…Snow Globe Christmas Cake TutorialMy Profile

        1. Definitely. I’ve sold a lot over the years, and I have one bag of good stuff left to sell, but I can’t wait until car boot season to have it cluttering the place. And it’s my good deed for the season.

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