Saturday 18 June 2016

Streamlining my Life the KonMari way

Folded clothes in a Drawer from Shutterstock

Earlier this week I was having coffee with about eight friends, we had met with the specific intention to discuss the KonMari way of decluttering and streamlining your home and life. I had no idea what I was letting myself in for if I am honest. I've heard of Marie Kondo, the Japanese Organisational Consultant who has termed her way of streamlining as the 'KonMari' way but I knew nothing of her and her methods.

I was offered the book to read in advance of the session and given links to YouTube videos and various websites but I avoided them all. Not because I'm burying my head in the sand as I am a terrible hoarder and have a house that needs KonMaring but because I'm pretty organized. I regularly gut rooms, I get a real sense of satisfaction about drawers that are divided by boxes of similar items and my home is mostly clutter free.

It was with much interest that I learnt I already do some of the KonMari tactics as a natural instinct. I keep regular lists of the next area to be cleansed, I empty my handbag and reorganise each day and I clear my paperwork approximately every three months. I can't think of anything worse than a garage or loft full of rubbish, luckily I have neither of those areas.

I'm not perfect though, oh no there are areas of my house that need sorting and the biggest one of those is my clothes. I'm one of those women that has a wardrobe that spans size 14 to 22 and has quite a lot of 'in case' clothes but you'll be pleased to hear I've penciled out next Wednesday when the kids are at school to sort all my clothes. Realistically if I lose lots of weight then I'm sure I won't mind going out and buying some smaller size clothes and in reality the last time any of the size 14's, 16's or maybe even 18's were worn was probably a decade ago, so it is time to part with many of them.

I like the fundamental concept of the KonMari way that everything I keep has to spark joy or be necessary and functional. Guilt and sentimentality are not supposed to come into the equation. I can just pick up the red top that is too small and still has labels on it and ask myself 'does it make me joyful?' if the answer is no then I need to donate it to charity. There is no point me worrying that I spent £30 on it and it has never been worn as it is a sunk-cost and unless I want to go to the effort of selling it, the amount I paid is beside the point and lost forever anyway. I think this rationale will help to make some of my decisions easier, I don't have to worry that I spent money on it and never used it because it is sapping my energy just by having it and thus it has to go.

I'm not so sure I'm on board with the idea that I have to thank things for their usefulness as I let them go but I'm willing to give it a try as there have been times I've given things to charity and then been a bit sad that I let them go too easily. Marie Kondo is making a lot of people very happy with her way, so who am I to argue?

Marie suggests that I should get everything of the same type (ie all clothes or books) and put them all in one place, ready for sorting. This will give me the true picture of just how much I have in this category. I think my clothes might be the only one where I see excess thankfully. My previous tidying and sorting tactics have always previously been room by room or area by area but Marie would frown on this as it means I might not get to see the full extent of how much stuff I have in that category.

I then need to touch every item and ask the joy question to see how it makes me feel. There can then be a recycle and a donate pile from there. I can see the logic of touching each item as it is then real and tangible and a decision has to be made, It is much the same logic that car salesman use when they get you to test drive and knows that once you are behind the wheel you are likely to buy.

If I was being a purist I would then fold practically all my clothes as Marie believes this is the best way to store clothes but the idea of this horrifies me. I'm an ironer and I quite enjoy it (shh don't broadcast it) so I am happy with my hung clothes but I'll give it a go in my underwear drawer as I can see the logic of not piling clothes. As I regularly live in about five pairs of pants as they are worn, washed and put back on top again. If everything is folded or rolled and placed in sideways rather than on top of each other it is much easier to see everything you have.

There is lots to learn, so I've joined the Facebook group and I'm going to see what I can discover and use well in my family's life but it is like everything, you have to take the bits you find useful and leave the rest. I've always believed in being guided in your parenting by your git instincts and also the same goes for organising your home and life.

I'm open-minded so I'm going to try out the KonMari way and I'll blog about the results and how I found the process. Wish me luck! How about you, is it anything you've tried before?