Using the words “life-changing” in the title of a book about decluttering your home seems a bit presumptuous.
I’ve gone through many, many cycles of cleaning, decluttering, purging and organizing as by nature I appreciate having my house in order. Cleaning out my closet and ridding myself of excess clutter always feels amazing- like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders and I can finally breathe. That is, until the clutter and disorganization creeps back into my house mere days or weeks later.
The magic of the KonMari method sets it apart from any other organization or home cleaning method I’ve tried. Marie Kondo declares that tidying your home should not be done every day, but instead be treated as a once-in-a-lifetime event. A festival. A marathon.
“From the moment you start tidying, you will be compelled to reset your life. As a result, your life will start to change. That’s why the task of putting your house in order should be done quickly. It allows you to confront the issues that are really important. Tidying is just a tool, not the final destination. The true goal should be to establish the lifestyle you want most once your house has been put in order.”
When you tidy in this fashion, with a vision and purpose for your life and not just your house, the magic happens.
As much as my husband thinks that I enjoy cleaning and caring for our house, I don’t. There are always about a million things that I could think of that I would rather do than do the dishes, clean the bathroom or catch up on piles of laundry.
But my brain works better when my environment is neat and organized and therefore, I clean out of necessity. My typical home care regimen includes doing the basics like dishes, laundry, sweep, mop, vacuum and picking up toy messes every day. I also tried to tackle one big cleaning project every day like cleaning a bathroom, vacuuming windowsills, dusting or changing bed linens.
Between my everyday cleaning, cooking all of our meals from scratch, caring for two small children and having to be out of the house occasionally for errands or activities, I realistically can accomplish a big cleaning project 2-3 times a week. This leaves me always feeling like I’m constantly playing catch up.
As soon as the kids are in bed for the night, it’s a mad dash to finish what I can before the baby wakes up for his first night feeding. There is never enough time in the day, and sometimes I have to give myself flexibility to focus on just the chores on my must-do list and ignore the rest.
It has been two months since I first read “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” and I am about 75 percent done with my house. I did my clothes the night I finished the book, and while I was discarding clothes I felt the magic happening in my soul. The KonMari method is not simply about getting rid of things; it is so much more.
The magic in this method is that it is about respecting your belongings and protecting your environment so that those things that spark joy have a worthy resting place. While there is no room for clothes that do not fit or gifts that will never be used, those things deserve a respectful farewell. “Thank you for teaching me what doesn’t suit me.” With a thank you and a goodbye, a lesson is learned.
A friend asked me, “What ways do you feel your life has changed since doing this?” I know I’m only in the beginning stages of the magic, but I wanted to share some of what I’ve experienced so far.
Since beginning this journey, my shopping habits have completely changed. We are blessed with a comfortable financial situation, and budget is not always on the top of my mind. With a few exceptions, if I see something I want, I usually buy it. With every bag headed to the donation station and every bag of trash, I realize how irresponsible and wasteful I have been with my family’s finances.
I think about all of the money that could be going into our savings for our future goals or going to the charitable causes we support. In the two months since reading the book, I have drastically reduced my spending because I am extremely discriminative when it comes to what will be entering my home. Even at the grocery store, I do not buy items that are not on my list or extras to have on hand “just in case.”
The first step in the KonMari method is to visualize your life. My ultimate goal is a life where I can stop striving for perfection and learn to relax and enjoy time with my family. It is only when I don’t have a mile-long to-do list that I can realistically do that.
The magic of tidying my house is that I am gaining minutes, even hours, in my day that did not exist before. With every area that I tidy and every item that I give a proper resting place, I drastically reduce the time and effort needed to find things when I need them, tidy up at the end of the day and clean my house. Once a category has been sorted and put back where it belongs, my time and energy is no longer needed to keep it that way. As long as we put things back in their designated spot after using them, our house stays tidy.
It takes an exponentially reduced amount of effort to deep clean a tidy house which means that my big cleaning projects are now able to fit into my day as needed. I can take a few minutes in my day here and there to clean the toilets, vacuum the curtains or wipe the baseboards. What used to nag me and create a sense of never-ending work is now easily accomplished with time to spare.
It’s hard to put into words how this happens, but I know it is happening. Last night, for the first time since we have had children, my husband and I played a board game before bed, made possible only by the KonMari magic. I may have lost our Scrabble game, but I am one step closer to winning my dream of enjoying this life I work so hard to create.