Decluttering - Not One Size Fits All
Updated: Dec 30, 2021
Does the name Marie Kondo sound familiar? If you have been working at decluttering and organizing your home, you may be aware of her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, or the Netflix series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.
I am going to focus on the KonMari method, but this applies to any organizing method out there. When working with clients who have tried Marie Kondo's method, and researching the method for my personal organizing needs, I have come to realize it is not for everyone. You either love it and it works for you; or it leaves you feeling more overwhelmed than when you started.
The KonMari method gained a lot of attention when the series was first released in 2019, but it appears its popularity has died off. I want to share my thoughts and give you hope that if you have tried this, or any other method, and it hasn't worked for you, you aren't broken; you can find joy in decluttering by using a method that works for you. Some of my clients have TBI or face other struggles and challenges, and it is so rewarding to help them conquer decluttering and achieve success.
Let's use the example of books in relation to the KonMari method. So you've decided to purge your books. Marie Kondo tells you to pick your category, gathering everything to the center of the room/area you are working, and sort your items, asking yourself if it sparks joy. The problem I see many facing with this is if you have ADD/ADHD, or are overwhelmed when organizing, pulling every item of a category out, to then organize and sort through is daunting. By the time you've made that pile to sort, you are done -- exhausted, overwhelmed, even bored. And now you either have a pile of items sitting in the middle of your living space for months until you find the motivation to tackle it again, or you disappointedly put everything back where it came from without sorting through it. Do you feel that frustration?
I personally struggle/have struggled with ADD, ADHD, depression, PTSD and anxiety, so the thought of sorting through all of the items at once is exhausting and sounds like too much work.
Here's my tip:
For books (or any other item): Instead of pulling all the books off your shelves to sort, take one row at a time, or even start with a smaller task of 10 books at a time. Determine what to keep, donate, toss, and if you're up to it, grab another shelf of books (or 10 more books). Don't overwhelm yourself!
When working with my clients, I notice they often have multiple books on organizing, hoping one of the new systems they try will finally be the one that works. In reality, these become dust collectors and more items to purge one day.
The other part of the KonMari method I'd like to discuss is the idea of folding clothes in a filing system. As a mom with ADHD, just having the laundry done is a success! To have the laundry done and in its rightful home, brings me joy. Folding clothes perfectly is too time-consuming, and if I were to do it, I wouldn't dare touch that beautiful drawer anytime soon, in fear of messing it up. This is not reality -- especially as a mom! We have clothes to wear and enjoy; not to have organized for viewing purposes only.
Speaking of clothing, sometimes it is also too overwhelming to purge a closet or drawers because we may have too many clothes! If you were to pull out all of your clothes, the pile on your bed might be a mile high and you might end up sleeping on the couch.
Here's my second tip:
Do laundry and purge as you sort and fold. Remove the well-worn pieces with stains that won't come out or have holes, and find the items that your children have outgrown. Determine if you are going to toss, donate, or repurpose the item(s). Items can be repurposed as useful rags, or more special items can be turned into a treasured teddy bear or quilt (as I discussed in my previous blog post viewable here), instead of just putting those pieces away for another day. This will reduce your laundry piles and help you feel less cluttered.
I may seem to have a negative approach toward the KonMari method, so I do want to say, I love that this method is out there. It is raising awareness for the need to organize, and causing people to consider what items bring joy in their home. That is beautiful. Just make sure you are being realistic with the goals you set for yourself, and follow through with them to completion. If you try a system and it doesn't work for you, tell yourself, "this system doesn't work for me." Don't stop organizing! Please don't feel like something is wrong with you! You just need to find your personal game plan.
And that's where I come in. You can schedule a FREE, virtual, 20-minute consultation with me so we can discuss what you are wanting to organize and find what step-by-step method works for you. We will work through the method together and focus on one small, bite-size piece at a time. Joy and a decluttered home are completely achievable! Call, email, or text me and we will get you on the path to success!
Have you tried the KonMari method? Did you love it? Hate it? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!