When I first encountered Marie Kondo and read the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying (affiliate link) I was instantly inspired, and I've blogged a couple of times about how I've used her method - my first post about the book and my post about the second book and sparking joy. If you've not read the book, you can find a good introduction to Kondo's methods here - Decluttering expert Marie Kondo - My Six Rules of Tidying.
In a nutshell, you need to complete your 'tidying' in one go (by which Kondo means over a period of about six months) and you tidy by category in a strict order - clothes, books, paperwork, komono (all miscellaneous items), finishing with sentimental. By working in this order you will hone your skills for deciding what sparks joy - the things that you are going to keep - so that when you finally reach the sentimental items you will be able to deal with them easily. Tidying by category means that when working on clothes, for example, you will make a pile of every single item of clothing that you own, so that you can make decisions about everything within that category at once.
I've always been interested in decluttering and aspire to a minimalistic lifestyle, but conversely I'm also someone that hoards sentimental items and memorabilia, keeping memories alive through old diaries, ticket stubs, postcards and old toys. This has meant that I didn't find it necessary to follow the book strictly as I was already pretty well on top of clothes, books and paperwork. So it was really the komono categories that I needed to think about.
Kondo is very clear that you must complete your tidying in one go. You will be able to maintain your decluttered space, having become more aware of your possessions, and having learned to pass them on when they are replaced or have served their purpose.
However with small children around I've found that going through things regularly is essential, and I still need to use the 'pull it all out at once and go through it all together' method. In particular I have found this with their clothes - even though the children are growing more slowly now I am still astonished by how quickly the outgrown items pile up in their wardrobes. I find that packing for a holiday is a good time for a sort out and I will pull out all their clothes, pick out the ones that I need to pack, and think carefully about the clothes that I'm putting back in their wardrobes. It's not so much about which clothes spark joy as the ones that still fit them.
Toys are another area which I need to constantly keep on top of. The children are constantly acquiring new small toys and other bits and pieces from party bags, freebies from magazines and so on, and I'm also lucky enough to receive occasional deliveries of toys and craft materials thanks to my blog. And of course the types of toys that they want to play with changes as they grow up.
When it comes to toys I'm afraid that I do deviate from Marie Kondo's rules. She suggests that children from the age of three or so should be involved in making decisions about their possessions. However I've found from experience that while mine get very upset at the thought of passing things on if they can physically see them go, they very rarely miss anything that has gone and are very comfortable with me talking about the idea of passing things on to other children once they have finished with them.
For me personally, the biggest takeaway from the books is learning to love and appreciate your possessions rather than stuffing them away in cupboards and drawers. I wrote more about this in a recent blog post - My Marie Kondo approach and sparking joy - and I'm really learning to love my home surrounded by the things that make me happy.
Are you a Konvert? What have been the most and least important messages from the book for you? I love reading about what other people have taken from the books!
Header photo credit - Irene van der Poel via Unsplash.