A Pro DIY-er’s Experience With the KonMari ‘Tidying Up’ Method

Posted in: I'm Moving, Organization

Breaking news: I consider myself to be a DIY-er. And a tidy person. And a bit of a neat freak.

That’s all because I live in a small condo in Chicago and I’m forced to purge items regularly in order to maintain a livable environment. Plus, I just love the feeling of paring down a space and getting rid of the clutter. In my opinion, there’s nothing more satisfying than a drop-off at Goodwill.

So pop-culturally speaking, I’m in luck. These days tidying is the cool new thing to do. Marie Kondo’s Netflix show, Tidying Up, is inspiring the masses to ditch their belongings and only keep items that “spark joy”. Her concept originally hit the scene back when she published The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up, which instantly became a bestseller around the globe.

I perused the book years ago, but I more recently binged the entire TV show in just a weekend. This prompted me to upturn our house in the pursuit of minimalism.

During this process, I realized that there are some parts of the KonMari method that I absolutely love, and others that I don’t plan on ever repeating in our household. (For a tiny woman, she certainly is strict!)

So with that in mind, here is a long time DIY-er’s key takeaways from my experience with the KonMari method.

What I Loved About Tidying Up

There are some parts of Marie’s method that really resonated with me and I plan to use these ideas forever as I keep my place tidy.

The Spark Joy Mindset

By now, you’ve probably heard everyone use the phrase, “spark joy.” And that’s because it’s Marie’s threshold you should follow for deciding on keeping items. Test it yourself right now: pick something up in your home. Does it spark joy? If it doesn’t, it goes into the giveaway or trash pile.

I’ve always purged my belongings in the opposite way: categorizing items by the ones I should discard … not the ones I should keep. This notion of piling up stuff I love into one pile is actually pretty powerful. Instead of focusing on the negative, your attention is on the items you truly love and are grateful to have.

For me, this was crucial as I went through all of the odds and ends, DIY materials, and keepsakes we have in our house.

In the past, I’ve felt guilty getting rid of items because, “I spent so much money on it”, “it was a gift from a friend”, or “I may need that someday.” With the KonMari method, my mind was focused on what I loved instead. Mind = blown.

A Folding Technique That Saves So.Much.Room

I’m not gonna lie, I was initially not very excited about Marie’s folding technique. She stresses the importance of folding everything into a neat little rectangle and then standing your clothing upright in your drawers. It just seemed like a heck of a lot of work – not to mention she has a slightly different technique for each type of clothing.

But I figured I would give her folding technique a try for one drawer and see how it went. Holy smokes … what a game changer. My drawer was originally stuffed to the brim and it was difficult to pull it open. I didn’t get rid of a single piece of clothing in that space (they all brought me joy!), and I only used her folding technique.

With her fold and the stacking, I now have extra room in the drawer to hold even more clothing. I was blown away by this and I’m now folding all.the.things.

What I Didn’t Love About Tidying Up

I can definitely get behind the main principles of the KonMari method, but there are some aspects that just don’t work for me and are far too rigid. Here are some I couldn’t get to work for me and thus, won’t be practicing.

Emptying Your Purse Every Day?!

Marie says you should empty your handbag daily. For real?! That seems a little intense for me. I’m all about not accumulating too much junk in my purse (do I really need all those receipts and gum wrappers?), but taking everything out daily seems a bit overkill.

Her method encourages finding a storage spot for the things you take with you every day, such as your keys, sunglasses, makeup pouch, etc. Then, place your wallet in a box and treat it like a VIP. She vows that doing this will bring good fortune your way because you’re treating your money with respect.

If I emptied my purse every day, I would undoubtedly forget something the next time I headed out the door. I love just being able to grab my bag and head out. Having to open the special box for my wallet, throw all of the other items I need into a bag and leave my house … not.gonna.happen. Sorry Marie, but that’s one rule I can’t get behind!

Discarding Photos

Marie doesn’t say that you need to get rid of all of your photos, but she certainly wants you to pare down dramatically.

When it comes to photo albums, she encourages you to take every photo out of a photo album and cull it down to about 5 photos for each life event. According to Marie, we must choose because we’re fooling ourselves when we say we’ll look at them again someday. While I understand the need to discard extra photos, 5 photos seems a bit extreme to me!

I truly believe that someday will come, especially for photos! I want to be able to show my kids my high school photo album and pictures from my baby book. While I’ll always have the memories myself, being able to share them with loved ones is something I don’t ever want to give up.

Clearing Clutter By Yourself

Whenever I’ve had a big cleaning day in the past, I usually recruit my husband to help. We’ll each tackle our closets and other rooms in the house and we make a day of it … blasting music, ordering lunch, and taking all of our discarded items to the donation center when we’re finished.

Marie says it’s best to clear the clutter alone. And while I think that works for some categories, it definitely doesn’t work for all of them for me.

Yes, I can go through all of my personal clothing, but what about the rest of the items in my home that my husband uses? Shouldn’t it be a combined effort to tackle all of the other categories? I certainly wouldn’t want to get rid of a kitchen item that sparks joy for my husband, just because I didn’t want to keep it around.

Plus, I think it could be a fun activity to do together so you both feel pride in your space and your belongings. Again, another aspect of her method that didn’t resonate with me.

My Takeaway

Overall, I loved learning the KonMari method and putting it into practice in my home. Some of Marie’s practices are strict, but I think the heart of her message is something we can all learn from. We have too much stuff that we don’t need and it’s holding us back from living the life we want.

Surround yourself with items that bring you joy and your home will be a much happier place to be.

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