This is the last in a 3-part series on the Kon Mari method.
I actually started writing this blog about a year ago and here I am, finally finishing it. Over the past year, so many of you have been binge-watching Marie Kondo’s hit Netflix series, Tidying Up. A major argument erupted among the bookworms of the Twitterverse about whether or not Marie was insane for suggesting that we only keep the books that “bring us joy.” There was quite a stir when I logged on and saw folks practically cursing Marie for even suggesting that we part with our precious hardback treasures. And there’s so much of it that I agree with. But I also had the privilege of completing the KonMari method, of reading Marie’s book and of knowing that most people were probably misunderstanding some of her methods by the quick tidying summaries we watch on the TV show.
So before I dive into the last of this three-part KonMari series, I have to tell you: The KonMari Method above all else is NOT about what you get rid of, contrary to what you think. It’s not about this minimalistic, streamlined life in which you only have five items in every room. I know you’re wondering, how?? The whole point of this is to declutter my home! And you’re right, but you don’t do this by mindlessly chucking things in trash bags, you do it by identifying what brings joys to your space and disregarding those things that don’t bring you joy and aren’t necessities for living.
This means that there’s no cutoff to how many things you own. If you want 100 pairs of stilettos or 300 books, you can have them. If 20 mugs bring you joy, then so be it! Marie actually says in her book that the method makes room for different kinds of people: “a writer may have an extensive library while someone else owns lots of teapots.” (see why nothing beats READING THE BOOK?)
So the argument that the KonMari method actually trash because it tells you to get rid of your books isn’t true at all. All the writers, bookworms, etc can rest easy. I’m a bookworm and I barely parted with 10 books, half were duplicates (I bought them twice without realizing it–oops!), and some were children’s books that really didn’t bring me joy, not even enough to pass along to my own relatives or kids. The last couple were books I’d just been given or picked up randomly that, upon further review, I knew I would never ever touch. And as she says, if for some reason the Guide to Hiking Italy becomes relevant to your life again, you can just buy it. We bookworms buy books all the time anyway, trust me – it won’t hurt you.
The point is, as historians, writers, teachers, bookworms and the like, the idea is that most books will bring you a form of joy, and that means you keep them and go about your merry tidying way! Don’t think too hard about this folks, really.
Now, as promised (but delayed because life and SAD are real ya’ll), here’s how my space currently functions after KonMari, with detailed notes about what it was like before.
Prior to KonMari, these Ikea shelves were cluttered with a mixture of items that didn’t really go together: books and trinkets and paper and boxes. There was no order to it and the overall impression was messy.
Now, my shelves are open and have a very particular function. On the top shelf, I keep a letter organizer with stamps, address labels and other tools for mailing. I also keep two Ikea storage boxes: one holds CDs and the other holds paper scraps and tickets for scrapbooking. In the middle is a figurine I received for my high school graduation that means a lot to me.
The bottom shelf is all decor and a little function. I show off some art show finds, a craft mug that holds all my Sharpies, and my college grad cap. In the middle, I stack my Bible, journal, planner and an important booklet so it’s easy to grab while I work and easy to put away.
This is arguably the most important part of my room. This is where my workday begins and ends, where future novels are written, and where Facetime chats go down. Before, there was not space to write, I have stacked who knows what on top of it and there was always junk mail poking out from under the drawer.
Now, my space is open and I have room. My computer and hard drives are neatly stacked together, I have my mic for my podcast, a jar of pens for easy access and business cards under my lamp.
And that’s it! Literally. Because I’ve opened up space I can write in my planner or journal, take notes during the day, go through mail, etc without having to move things out of the way first. It helps to keep my mind clear while I’m working for things don’t feel chaotic.
As you can see, there was no dresser before KonMari, and I didn’t think one could fit. It’s a very small dresser from Wayfair and it holds a good amount of seasonal clothes that I am using at the current time. My previous setup was a small (Ikea) table with a TV I never used and anything else I felt like piling on top of it.
Now I have my clothing organized in the dresser, my jewelry on one end, my skincare and lipsticks on the other and my fragrances and body care in the middle. It’s not my ideal vanity situation, but it stays tidy and serves its purpose in this small space.
I have way more books than this, which are in the family “library” in our den where all the books are, but before I had this baby filled to the max and other knick-knacks all over and in between.
I now have my favorite books in the middles two shelves and my poetry/YA books at the bottom. My top shelf is a shrine self with some of my favorite possessions that I like to show off and that makes me happy. It’s also a great spot for my alarm clock for those mornings when I really need to get up early and force myself out of bed to turn it off.
My closet was always a horrific nightmare. I must say that this photo I took the day I started the KonMari method is the worse it had ever gotten – I basically let it go since I knew I would be starting the tidying marathon soon. But even when I bothered to clean this closet, it never got much better. I would hide my closet from shame and could barely close the door. There’s not much to say here except I threw things here and turned my back on them.
My closet currently functions with order. I have a manageable amount of magazines lined in the middle with two storage boxes on the left side and a few storage boxes on the right side. My luggage and camera equipment are below my clothes that are hanging and my bags and purses hang on the opposite end of the closet. My closet is still used as storage for the time being, but it makes sense and I actually know where everything is.
What used to be bags of unorganized papers are now binders of categorized notes and stories that can easily be stored on a bookcase once I get my own place. A few pairs of shoes sit neatly on the floor – which I couldn’t even see before!
Even my nightstand got an overhaul during this process. Before I used this as another dumping ground for items I didn’t bother reckoning with.
Now, I can keep my most important items nearby, like a glass of water, my retainers, a clock and speaker. Below, my home accessories have a snug place and my storage boxes hold nail care, games, and small personal items.
It’s amazing to think that one little book changed my life so drastically, but it really did. I’m so grateful to Marie for the work she has done in my life and so many others.
Please feel free to ask me questions! I love raving about this method and sharing my experience with clutter.