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I tried the “Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”…

The “life-changing” magic of the KondoMarie method has been all the rage these days. Although Marie Kondo published her titular book “the life-changing magic of tidying up” in 2011, her method has gained almost a cult following (and a Netflix special) in more recent years.

When I first heard of the KondoMarie method, I laughed it off. It sounded like a lot of hippy dippy hogwash – keeping only that which “sparks joy”. Pshhh, this lady has clearly never been to the Target dollar section. Everything there “sparks joy”. Her mission seemed impossible.

Early last year, we bought our first house- a 1,400 sq. ft. 2 bedroom house – a palace compared to the tiny one bedroom apartments of our past. But, once packed with 2 adults, 2 dogs, and a ridiculous amount of Ikea furniture, Target knickknacks, a silly amount of dog toys, and a closet my younger self would have died for – we started to feel the squeeze.

“We just have too much stuff!!” “Let’s get rid of it!!” “But I don’t have anything to get rid of!” – were our conversations for much of our first year as home owners.

Kondo’s book, a 206 page guide to folding, storing, and purging techniques – has been on the NYTimes best seller list as of late. I’ll admit – I didn’t read the book at first. I got sucked in by the Netflix special. Typical.

The Purge / Tidying the monster that was our closet

N and I started our “life changing” journey not with the cutesy intention of “tidying up” – but with a full on purge. We started with our closet. Pulling out EVERYTHING in the closet and destroying our bedroom in the process – we were enthusiastic. (ASIDE: is the irony lost on everyone that you must make a HUGE mess to begin “tidying up”??)

Our interpretation of Kondo’s “spark joy” analogy started like this:

  1. Do you fit in it?
  2. Does it make you feel good?
  3. Is it good quality?

Then, after several hours it quickly devolved to:

Do you care about it enough to take the 3 seconds to put it back on a hanger or fold it? Nope? Donate it.

Also block a full weekend for “the purge” because you will need it. Along with wine. Lots of wine.

Overall we donated a full carload of gently used clothing (many with the tags still attached!! Oops…) and were even able to make room for a shoe rack to display our shoes! The closet went from being a storage space with boxes stacked all the way to the ceiling and a tiny area for clothes to a usable, well organized haven I’m now excited to step foot in.

The Pantry Raid

Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

Next up was the pantry. This was a lot harder. I’m a firm believer that you should never waste food. Also, I can personally guarantee my pantry will never be this organized or sparsely stocked. I do run a food blog for heaven’s sake. I *need* all the things.

We started shelf by shelf. Is it expired? Is it something that we’ll use again? Does hanging on to this add value to my life? Will I ever use imitation rum essence for more than just recipe once 2 years ago??

If it didn’t “spark joy” it went away in one of two piles, trash or items that were ok to donate to our local food pantry.

The transformation was amazing. I can SEE the walls of my pantry. It’s easy to find things on a shelf and the shelves are organized (breakfast items, snacks, baking, sauces and cans, etc.) Every time I open the door, I don’t get the feeling of dread that I used to have before. And we’re cooking at home more now since it’s actually enjoyable to find things.

It DOES spark joy.

Photo by Sarah Dorweiler on Unsplash

Ok, when I got sucked in to the KondoMarie method, I’ll admit – I rolled my eyes. I didn’t want to like it. But as I started making the changes in my own home I started to understand why it’s gained momentum in popularity.

  1. You get to really assess what brings value to your life instead of feeling consumed by your “stuff”. (Does it “spark joy”)
  2. You take a moment to reflect on the hard work you did to purchase and have the items you are getting rid of. (“Thank each item you donate”)
  3. You’re giving back to the community and perhaps something that you enjoyed once will now bring someone else that happiness.
  4. You feel liberated by organizing and being able to easily access what is important. It’s incredible to think of the looming burden brought on by just knowing you’ll have to unpack these boxes or deal with all this stuff some day.
  5. You’ll learn that it’s a lifestyle change, not a temporary one. After spending several exhausting weekends purging, I lost all desire to go out and buy new things. Shopping sprees? Nah – I don’t want to go through that again.

The most amazing change is our mindset shift – laundry gets put away immediately after it’s done. We rethink the things we buy from the context of does it mean something to us? Do we feel good by it? Is it of a quality that we feel is worth investing money in?

We still have a ways to go to finish our “tidying up” but we’ve made some solid progress. I can’t wait to continue this journey and tackle the disaster that is our garage when the weather warms up.

Have you tried the KondoMarie Method? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

Editor’s Note: This post contains affiliate links meaning that if you purchase the book I’ve mentioned above, I’ll earn a teeny-tiny commission on the sale. Affiliate links help keep this blog free & possible. The integrity of this blog is my number one priority and I will only recommend products I’ve used or purchased and have enjoyed personally.