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  • Lauren Bennett

Get Organized, Without Going Full "Marie Kondo"

If you're like me, you dream of living in a minimalistic, simplified home, with each room always looking like a perfect Instagram photo with no mess, and no dirty dishes in the sink! Of course, we all know this is not reality for most, if any of us. I tend to feel particularly uneasy about the state of my home every few months, and I'll go through a small deep cleaning, and reorganizing binge. It just so happened that I was feeling ready for another good deep clean when I came across the Netflix show that has taken the internet by storm! At this point, I know I'm not the first to comment on "Tidying Up with Marie Kondo", the inspiring show that appeared on Netflix a few months ago. It's been popping up everywhere, especially now that spring cleaning season is officially here. Within each episode, sweet, little Marie Kondo shares a Japanese organizing technique

called Kon Mari with American families, and teaches them how to clean out, declutter, and organize their homes. Each episode begins with the family collecting every piece of their clothing, and piling it onto their beds, often resulting in enormous masses of clothes that the family members then needed to sort through. Marie's catch phrase was finding things that "spark joy" for the individual, as they touch each individual item, one by one. If the item didn't spark joy, it was either thrown away, or donated to a local charity.

The best thing about this show is that the family members are the ones doing all the work, instead of watching on the sidelines as a professional organizer works her magic and leaves them with a perfectly organized house. Because we all know that once she leaves, the family will have that house filled back up with a new layer of stuff once the normal life kicks in! With this method, family is allowed to carefully and mindfully go through their entire home, and experiencing the stress, nostalgia and exhaustion that truly comes when any normal person attempts this massive task. Each episode concluded with a family that once lived in a chaotic home, and felt stressed and overwhelmed, to a family now living in a clean, clutter free, and welcoming home that they had created for THEMSELVES!! They looked so at peace, and so much more comfortable in their own space.

Just like every other girl out there, I was hooked. "I want to do this!" I thought, "I CAN do this! I have the time, and the energy, and what better way to get my house in order before our first baby is born?" However, this is when I began to realize what the Kon Mari method actually meant…

I will have to go through our entire home, and all the items that are held within, one category at a time, making enormous messes that make certain rooms unusable until the sorting process is completed. To put it another way, I will have to shut down various parts of my home, for at least a day, (most likely longer) for each section until I've completed my entire home. At the least, this could take anywhere from a week, to several weeks, if everything goes smoothly. That’s a long time to live in a semi-functional home! Then I considered how it might be different, and even harder for other families that have small children, messy pets, or any other obligations that require them to use multiple sections of their home at once, like their kitchen, bathroom, and bed, which may or may not be covered in a mountain of clothes, at the time. The thought of beginning that process both overwhelming, and disheartening, to say the least.

Don’t get me wrong, getting organized, and genuinely considering the function and the joy that the items in your home provide are valuable and helpful ways to create a peaceful, and beneficial living environment. However, there are several circumstances that would prohibit the Kon Mari method working for everyone. That's why I've put together this list of "cheats", or ways to honor the Kon Mari method of tidying up, without making a bigger mess of your house in the process.

- Break up each category into "bite-size" chunks. Maybe this goes without saying, but even within each episode of "Tidying Up", the families each tackle only one category, or one room at a time. I would take this idea one step further, and tackle one closet, or even one shelf at a time.

This both minimizes the mess and allows you to focus on just a few items in a small area, without becoming overwhelmed with the magnitude of other things on the floor, table, and all around you. It also gives you the freedom to start and stop this project as often as you need, so you can feel free to press pause, and move the clothes from the washer to the dryer, step outside for some fresh air, and maybe even come back to tidying the next day.

- Implement the "joy sparking" thought process into your daily routine. As you go about your day, take the time to think about each object with which you come into contact. Is this an object that you enjoy using? Does it spark joy for you? If not, consider tossing it, or creating a donation pile that can slowly grow over time. I do this all the time when I'm folding laundry for the week or doing the dishes. I'm already handling each piece one at a time, taking a minute to look the item over, and consider if it's time to let it go, repair it, or throw it away. This ensures that the clothes and dish ware we have at home are being used and enjoyed.

- Get the entire family involved. Tidying up the entire house should not be and is not a task for one! While spouses are not always home at "prime time" hours to help, and often children's attention spans don't last as long as the tidying will take, make sure to give each family member something to be responsible for, and that they can take ownership of. While it’s just me and my husband right now, I feel comfortable letting him be responsible for his own clothes, sentimental items, and books and papers that we share. As kids come along, they will each be responsible to routinely consider what toys they enjoy, and which ones they no longer play with. This is also a great teaching opportunity to show children the importance of keeping only what you need and giving away your excess to children that would love to play with their old toys.

- Treat yourself! Anything from a trip to Chik-fil-A, to a cute new set of baskets and boxes to organize your newly cleaned shelves and drawers… I especially like to listen to a podcast or turn on my favorite TV show while I’m tidying, to make me feel less like I’m working, and more like I’m having fun, and enjoying the process.

At the end of it all, (or maybe halfway through) make sure to take a moment and really look at the progress you’ve made, and appreciate how much more enjoyable, and clear your space feels once it’s been organized, and tidied. I really believe that the “after” photos we see on “Tidying Up” are totally attainable, but realistically, they might not be reached in the same way, or within the same time frame as a 20-minute TV episode. You can do it, and you can do it on your own time, and at your own pace. Good luck tidying, I’d love to see your some of your own “before and after” shots!



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2 commentaires

11 avr. 2019

I don’t dare let myself watch “tidying up” for fear that I will get sucked down the rabbit hole of making a big mess! Your points are so true and are awesome things to think about to help me not feel so overwhelmed as I am starting to spring clean!


11 avr. 2019

I love the idea of breaking down the tasks into smaller more bite sized tasks! It can definitely get overwhelming sometimes. And I’ve tried to be more mindful every time I clean up about what it is exactly I’m cleaning, is this item something I actually need or want or even really use? It’s a good habit to get into and helps keep the overall task of a clean home much more manageable. Great article Lauren!

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