How Busy Moms Can Tidy Their Home Using the Konmari Method
Marie Kondo has been receiving quite the buzz lately, and rightfully so. I read her book The life-changing magic of tidying up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing, about a year ago and it completely changed how I view my things and how I approach organizing. When I learned that she had her own Netflix series, Tidying up with Marie Kondo, I knew we would be in for a treat.
Marie Kondo, professional tidyer, developed the KonMari Method which is a philosophy that encourages you to surround yourself with only items that spark joy in your life. It’s a way of life and a state of mind. This method believes that we should surround ourselves with only the things that speak to our hearts and add value to our lives. Imagine creating an environment where you’re surrounded with only things that you love? Where do I sign up?
We are focusing on the wrong thing
A few years back, we moved our family of 6 out of our home we were in for 10 years. It took me months to pack up all of our things. It took our movers 2 full days and 2 and a half large moving trucks to move us. My mover told us he’s never seen anyone with so much stuff. My husband and I laughed it off not really believing him. He moves people for a living, I can only image all of the stuff he sees on a daily basis. We had 4 kids, one of which was a newborn, so considering our large family we had a normal amount of stuff or so I thought.
Just a few months after moving into our new home I read Marie Kondo’s book, The life-changing magic of tidying up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing. I was looking for storage solutions that I haven’t already tried. But instead what I learned was that my mover was right, we had too much damn stuff. All this time I was searching for a solution to organizing all our stuff but what I should have been focusing on was the fact that we had too much stuff to organize. I wish I read this book before packing up my home and then un packing everything in my new home. We would have saved a ton of time and money. But It was the Universe’s plan and for whatever reason I was meant to do it all ass backwards and learn a very valuable lesson the hard way.
Now, as part of my mission to live my best mom life and be a present, positive and happy mom, I am in the process of applying the KonMari Method to my home and surrounding myself only with the things that spark joy in my life.
Here are the top 5 tips of The KonMari Method
1. Organize by category not location
Gather every item you own in the same category and lay it all out in a pile so you can see it all.
The sequence to follow is based on level of difficulty in deciding to keep or discard something, starting with the easiest.
Clothing – Lay every piece of clothing you own in one pile on the floor. Include off season clothes and any clothing you might have stored in different areas of your home. Seeing every piece of clothing you own in one large pile is very impactful. Especially if you are one who “never” has anything to wear.
- Clothes that should be hung up
- Special events clothes (uniforms, swimwear, winter clothes)
Books – Lay all the books you own in a pile on the floor. According to Kondo, it’s easier to make a conscious decision if the books are laid out as opposed to sitting on a bookshelf where they fit comfortably.
The sequence to follow for books is:
- General books (books you read for pleasure)
- Practical books (cookbooks)
- Visual books (coffee table books)
Papers – Kondo feels there is no need for papers and they should all be discarded.
Papers that need attention should be divided into three categories:
- Papers that need to be dealt with (school forms, letters that require a reply, bills, etc.), should go in one pile and should be dealt with as soon as possible
- Papers that need to be kept for a limited time (school announcements, invitations) should be kept together and be easily accessible.
- Papers that need to be stored indefinitely (birth certificates, social security cards, etc.) should go in one folder without much thought into organizing them. I disagree with Kondo here. I think as moms, we need an organizational system to keep track of all our kids’ important papers.
Komono (Japanese word for accessories or small items)
Here’s the Komono sequence she recommends following:
- Skincare products
- Make up
- Electrical items
- Household equipment
- Kitchen goods/food supplies
- Other (spare change)
- Hobby items if you have
Mementos (sentimental value)
There isn’t a specific sequence for mementos as this is the most difficult category
- keepsakes, souvenirs and photo’s
Storage Experts are hoarders. ~ Marie Kondo
2. Go through each item you own
Hold each item in your hands and ask yourself “does this item bring me joy?” If the answer is “yes” put it aside to be organized after you have gone through all of the items in that category. If the answer is “no” the item doesn’t bring you joy, thank it for it’s service and discard it.
There are usually 3 reasons why we are reluctant to get rid of things:
- It has sentimental meaning
- It has monetary value
- We may want/need it one day
According to the Konmari Method, when you’re having a difficult time deciding to get rid of something or not, it’s a sure sign that this item doesn’t spark joy in your life and should be discarded. If the item you’re contemplating discarding was a gift from someone and you feel guilty getting rid of it, then you appreciate the good intention the person had when they bought it for you and then let it go. According to Kondo, we already got everything we needed out of the gift when the giver gave it to us.
3. Designate a place for each thing.
Designate a home for every item that you decide to keep. According to Kondo, one of the main reasons people rebound and go back to their untidy ways, is because they didn’t designate a specific spot for each item. Having a place for everything and everything in it’s place is the key component to keeping your home tidy. In theory this is a great concept, but a difficult one when there’s little ones involved.
4. Store all items of the same type in the same place or in close proximity.
It’s easier to find and put items away when they are grouped together. For clothing, the preferred method is folding, following a very specific system and storing clothes vertically.
Proper folding and storing of clothes
The goal is to fold your clothes into a simple, smooth rectangle.
- fold each lengthwise side toward the center making a long rectangle
- pick up one short end of the rectangle and fold it toward the other short end
- then fold it again in halves then in thirds Here’s a video demonstrating KonMari Folding Method
Store vertically in your drawers
- storing garments vertically allows you to see each garment in your drawer and allows you to add more garments. This method will leave your drawers super organized.
- drawer dividers and organizers work well at keeping garments grouped together and it saves a lot of space. Shoe boxes in assorted sizes work well for inside drawers.
5. Tidy all at once and aim for perfection
According to Kondo, If you follow the process quickly, within a 6 month period and do it perfectly one time, you will never again go back to your untidy, unorganized ways. The Konmari Method belief is that when you tidy all at once in a short period of time, you will see instant results that will shift your mindset and you’ll feel empowered to keep your environment tidy’d.
In theory this is spot on and I’m sure those that do it this way experience success, but as a busy mom, the tidy all at once and aim for perfection didn’t work for me for two reasons:
1. As mom’s with little ones, we are constantly evolving and changing so are our needs and wants.
As I stated earlier, we’re only 2 years in our home so we’re kinda still learning the flow of the house and how to maximize space. I “Konmari’d” as my husband calls it, my living room after reading the book and I got rid of a decent amount of stuff but I kept a lot because they had sentimental meaning. A lot of the stuff was from our wedding and we felt obligated to have it displayed. It was sentimental obligation. But now, a year later, we are in the process of updating our living room and items I had previously wanted, I no longer do. They no longer add value to us at this point in our lives. There are a few items that we love and bring us so much joy and these are the items that we will surround ourselves with. The tidy once and aim for perfection doesn’t work too well for moms, at least not for me.
2. I didn’t have large chunks of time to dedicate to tiding
With 4 kids and working from home, I didn’t have the time to dedicate to tidying my home all at once in short time span. Just the thought of it was completely out of reach. I really liked the concept but It wasn’t for me. I started thinking of how I can apply the concept of the Konmari approach on my own terms.
Konmari with a twist – The Simply Pure Mama Way
I started tidying in short intervals. I started with clothing and each day i would focus on a sub category of clothing for a 15-30 minute time span. I would limit distractions as much as I could control and i would work efficiently during that time.
This approach worked for me. One day I would focus on shoes, I’d spend between 15-30 minutes sorting and organizing my shoes. I got rid of a ton of shoes, organized the ones I loved, I didn’t spend a large amount of time doing it and I was successful at completing the task. If I had another 15-30 minutes later that day i wold choose another sub category to target or it would wait until the next day.
When we break it down into small steps, it becomes doable. We can fit it into our busy lives. So if you want to “Konmari” your home, but you’re worried you won’t have the time, or you’ll start, then dig yourself into a big hole of a mess that you won’t have the time or energy to dig yourself out of, you can still do it, using the Simply Pure Mama way ~ I shall call it the “Interval Tidying Method”.
I found the interval tidying method to be really successful so I started applying it to all of my housework. But I’ve been maximizing my time by working as quickly and efficiently as I can in a specific time frame.
I give myself a set amount of time, usually 15 minutes, to tidy, organize or clean a certain area of my home. I limit distractions and work as quickly and effectively to get the most done during that time. Listening to music or your favorite Podcast is encouraged to keep you going.
When we have a big task to accomplish, like cleaning the playroom after a bunch of kids were over, we often get overwhelmed by the amount of work we have to do and we’ll either procrastinate getting started or we will get through it with low energy, taking us double the time to finish. But when you break it down into smaller tasks and give yourself a specific amount of time to get it done, you work quickly and efficiently in less time.
Think about it, when you get a call that an unexpected guest is on their way to your house, like the Tasmanian Devil, you rummage through your house tidying and organizing everything in your path. You know you are short on time and you want your house to look presentable for your guest. So you work quickly and efficiently in a short period of time.
If we apply this approach to not only tidying our homes but to organizing and cleaning our homes as well, we can get much more done in less time.
How you can apply the Interval Tidying + Organizing + Cleaning Method to your home
1. Decide what areas of your home you want to target.
2. Set a timer for the time you are giving yourself. Fifteen minutes is a good rule of thumb.
3. Take Action – work as quickly and efficiently as you can limiting all distractions that are within your control
I hope you can apply this method in your life to help you work smarter not harder.
Check out how How to lead your best minimalist mom life.
Hi there! I'm Danielle, mom blogger, visionary and dreamer.
I'm on a mission to help moms create a Simply Pure life of Joy + Balance + Optimal Health & Wellness for ourselves and our families.
My goal is to un-complicate life and provide moms with the tools and strategies to make informed decisions so you can live your best mom life. .
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