The Hardest Part of Konmari

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It’s been several months since I last wrote about Konmari and you may be wondering how we’re doing and what our apartment looks like. Honestly…it’s not great. How not great? Um, I’ll let these photos of my living room tell the story. They were taken this morning. And yes, I know my picture frames are crooked, I’ll fix them…eventually.
living-room-konmariWe “finished” Konmari way back in August, right before our move. But when I say “finished,” I really mean we finished the decluttering stage. We got rid of so much stuff – bags upon bags and boxes upon boxes of clothes, household items, books, even pictures and keepsakes! But we never finished the final stage – finding a home for everything.

designate-place-everything-konmari

As much as I’d like to just blame our move (we moved from a 900+ sq ft townhouse to a 500 sq ft 1 bedroom apartment), I really think it comes down to laziness and maybe just the feeling that we had “finished” Konmari even when we hadn’t. But really we were just being lazy. We’ve already failed at Konmari once but I’m willing to keep working because I truly believe in the Konmari method. It’s already changed so much for me.

I am much more likely to put down a clearance item at Target that I don’t need (and that doesn’t spark joy) than I am to just buy it. I am less likely to spend hours working out “deals” for things that don’t spark joy like air fresheners and cleaning supplies I’ll never use. I spend less time in thrift stores but tend to buy things that I love more than I ever would have in the past. I feel like a different person.

And yet, our apartment still isn’t clean and everything doesn’t have a place. We even have stuff that doesn’t quite spark joy as well. So where do we go from here?

My first plan of action is to do step 1 of Konmari over again. If you don’t remember, that’s the step where you visualize your destination. You think about how you want your place to look and how you want to feel about it, that sort of thing. You want to have a very vivid image in your mind about your place. This section is in chapter 2 (page 36 in the hardcover version) if you need a refresher.

Step 1 in Konmari: Visualize your destination! Remember to think in concrete terms
Step 1 in Konmari: Visualize your destination! Remember to think in concrete terms

Once I’ve done that, I’m going to quickly but thoroughly work through my checklist and remove all items that do not spark joy. One thing I’ve noticed is that some items that brought me immense amounts of joy at my old apartment just don’t fit in my new apartment. I wonder if my home is trying to speak to me as Ms. Kondo would say.

Then, I’m going to complete the final step of finding a home for everything in my home. I keep dodging this step for some reason, maybe because I don’t have a vision for my home and so I don’t know where to start. Perhaps if I have the vision, everything will find its way to a permanent home more easily?

The final step is reading Marie Kondo’s new book Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up. I just pre-ordered it yesterday and it should be here tomorrow! I’ve got this as the final step but knowing myself, I will probably bump it up to step #1 when it gets here. Time will tell but this is the plan for now.

So enough about me, what has been the hardest part of Konmari for you?

I had no problems getting rid of items that didn't "spark joy," even with sentimental stuff. The hardest part of Konmari for me is finishing it...

 


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11 Comments

  1. Just picked up the book and starting the journey in the process of moving and shedding the kids adults now. As i was visiting my old home i realized why i liked my old living rooms its the time i took to find the right carpet, drapes, and furniture and get the money for it. Process took over 2 years for both rooms. Now i will workon my new room with the same attitude take my time!

  2. Hi Jersha, I just found you today on pentrist. I have to say I am VERY new to the KonMari Method. But after reading the first book. Well… listening to it repeatedly over the past few days. I really think this method will work for me. But to be honest I am scared of wasting time and not doing it correctly. I even have my 12 yr on board. I have to say, what draws me to the method is the fact that Ms Kondo, is not all about going out and buying a bunch of organizing stuff. My 12 yr old and I tried starting the purge part yesterday on her clothes and I noticed after 4 hours. We had already jumped ahead and were putting her clothes away before sorting everything. So now we are taking a step back and working on getting all the laundry done, and starting fresh next weekend.

    1. Don’t stress too much on wasting time. Have you printed the checklist yet? If not, print that and check off categories as you work. You’d be amazed at how much more fulfilled you feel when you work through 5 or 6 categories in a sitting. And please, come back and let me know how you’re doing!

  3. Hi Jersha. I just found you, and look forward to getting to know you!
    I am going to read your “decluttering articles” first.
    No matter how many times I take loads to Goodwill, I still end up a year later with just as much if not more “stuff.” I guess I should stop shopping at Goodwill and garage sales! Ha! But they are So Fun!
    I have always been a person with piles everywhere (youth, young Mom, middle aged, now 59). So here I go.
    I feel safe with you just from what I have read so far. Thank you for sharing your life with us.
    Katherine W Johnson

    1. Oh, I know your pain on the Goodwill and garage sale shopping. It can easily become an addiction. Something about getting a $10 item for a quarter is just very invigorating. I’ve found that visualizing where the item would go in your house can help you with not buying things you don’t need.

      I picked up two pretty vases a few weeks ago at a local thrift store. I carried them around the whole store. Then I thought about where the heck I would put them. I realized that 1-they didn’t match my decor and 2-I really didn’t have a place to put them. So I put them back on the shelf for someone else to buy.

  4. Darling: I think it’s a long trip and many of us will need to go through it more than once. I guess it will be a more constructive perspective to think that the person who started the first trip it’s gone, and that for this new spirit this is the first time. I’m dealing with clutter in a mayor scale since I was born (family issues). So I don’t expect to reach perfection in my first attempt. But if I can approach a 30%-50% it will be really amazing. I guess I’m trying to restart this (as many times as I need it) like once every year, until I don’t need it anymore. So HOLD ON! Don’t feel it like a fail. every kid get a scrapped knee when learning to run.

    PD: As you can obviously see, english is not my antural language, so… SORRY.

    1. Thanks, moi! You’re so right, you just have to dust yourself off and try again when you fail. I read a quote a few days ago that really resonates with me – “The temptation to quit will be greatest right before you succeed.” I think that is relevant for Konmari. You feel so tempted to quit or feel like you’re not doing everything right and then BAM, it all starts to fall into place.

      PS: I couldn’t tell that at all! Your English is quite good. 🙂

  5. Hello, We are nearing the end of the “joy-check” process, and getting ready for the 2nd half, which is finding a place for everything. The new Marie Konodo book, which came out the day after you posted this, “Spark Joy: an illustrated master class on the art of organizing and tidying up,” is very helpful for the problems you are having. I can see in your photograph that you may want to consider re-imagining the house. Also, we have found some magic in saving only the furniture that we really love. You might consider hugging the furniture, and discarding some of it, even if it seems crazy not to have a table, or a computer shelf, for example– Kondo would say it’s even more crazy to live and use objects that actually do not love. It’s been helpful as well, to consider only putting things out when you are using them– something I thought was truly impossible. I actually put my laptop charger away in a drawer when I’m not charging it, and that’s the first time in my life I have done that. FYI, my wife and I (plus one kid) started in August, and we are still going in January.

  6. I never heard of this method when cleaning out from one house and moving to another. Most recently, In December of 2013, I started a clean out of mostly my craft studio space. I handled each and every thing. I had to set aside the idea that I had paid good money for some things that just weren’t working for me anymore. I wasn’t going to keep it if I wasn’t going to use it. So, I packed up box after box and stacked them in a spare bedroom. It took months, but I did what I set out to do. I wanted to have a yard sale, but where we lived wasn’t conducive to that.
    A couple of months past, and good things began to happen. First, we decided that we were going to get a house, and we found one. Then, my wife, who had been looking for a full-time teaching position for more than 5 years, finally landed one where she had been working as an adjunct faculty member. It seemed that when we cleared out and made some good decisions, we were ready to receive.

    So, I continued throughout the house trying to clear out some more. There wasn’t much that we needed to let go of because we had done it about 5 years before, and hadn’t brought in much more. That particular house did not feel like home, so we never decorated it anyway. {We weren’t allowed to put any nails in the wall.} When we moved, we pulled along many decorative things that we had saved, because we don’t know what we will be needing. I had started to go through those items, and found that I liked everything.

    We have been in our new house for about 4 months now. We have painting to do, but it will take time. We have to decide how we want our new house to look. We have one two-person settee for living room furniture. It’s pitiful, but we will need to save money to make the living room more presentable. We don’t want to buy just to buy. We need to take the time to decide on colors. We want something much different from what we’ve had in the past, and I need to explore options. We do plan on taking a trip to IKEA in about 6 months for three bookshelves for the dining room that won’t be functioning as a dining room. We have to prepare and paint that area. In order to choose the color there, we have to consider two other spaces, because we can see all three spaces at once. We’ll figure it out, as I’m sure you will. It takes time. And, many times money.

    1. It definitely takes a lot of time to really figure out how you want your home to look. Phillip and I have been married for almost 8 years now, we’ve lived in 5 apartments, and none of them really felt all that homey. But as we declutter and purge the things that don’t make us happy, it does start to feel more and more homey and comfortable. I think the author of the Konmari book really has it figured out, you have to surround yourself with things you love.

      I wish you the best of luck on making your house a home. It sounds like you’ve got a lot of work ahead of you but if you’re patient, I bet you can find some great stuff you love at good prices. Do you have a Habitat for Humanity re-store in your area? We have one here and it has tons of really great stuff for decorating and for remodeling as well. Everything from furniture to cabinets, drawer pulls, light fixtures, sink vanities, etc. Might be worth a look if you can find one.

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