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The Konmari method

As part of my mission to declutter, I read blogs about decluttering, downsizing, minimizing, purging and the lingo that goes with cleaning up the mess that has taken up residence in my home over the last 20 years.

Now I am following (sort of) the 15 minute a day method. It is a very good method and is working well for me on the days that I do my 15 minutes!  There are just some days that I come home from work exhausted from having spent the day in the operating theatre (I am a nurse) assisting till 5 pm. Even the thought of cooking supper makes me either want to cry, or curl up in bed with the covers over my head.

I have recently come across the Konmari method of organizing and it sounds really good, although maybe not totally for me.  Marie Kondo is a Japanese lady whose method is taking the world by storm! She has written 4 books on the subject, the latest being ‘The life changing magic of tidying up- The Japanese art of decluttering and organisation’.

She advocates an all at once policy, starting with your clothes cupboard and ending with mementos, as these are the hardest to purge. You must do it all at once, not room by room. This means all your clothes, then all your books, then all your papers and lastly all your mementos.

Kondo’s method is to declutter. By this she means get rid of it, not move it around. Kondo states that the best way to start is by identifying your goal. Start with why? As in why are you putting yourself through this? Next, what do you hope to gain from this?  It mustn’t  be too broad a goal. Something like, I want to live in a tidy house, is too vague. Visualise your goals.

Very importantly, if it is broken or out of date, get rid of it!

Kondo suggests that you empty your entire cupboard into one spot and then purge. The rules are simple, no clothes that you have labelled ‘one day I will fit into them again’; no clothes that you will wear just to hang around the house in (this is clothes that you can’t go out in public because they are too old, too worn, too faded, or even broken). If you would need to change before going out in public, it goes into the dustbin.  You physically have to pick up and touch each item of clothing before you decide where it is going.  No items I-got-it-as-a-gift or I-only-wear-it-to-sleep-in are allowed. One blogger says that your room will now look like a clothing store threw up all over your floor.

Clothes vomit

Kondo says that if the clothing doesn’t spark a happy feeling within you then get rid of it. I know I have a few of these in my cupboard.  The reason she gives for touching each item is that fabric apparently holds energy; I don’t know that she isn’t wrong about this. We all have or had something in our cupboards that we wore and the day or event was a disaster, I have a dress that I wore and someone asked me when I was due.  My baby at the time was 7 years old. I haven’t worn it since.

Kondo suggest that before you throw something out thank it for its role in your life and then toss!

Once your clothes are sorted, and here Kondo proposes that you should fold as much as you can, she even has a method for folding the clothes.

Folded clothes

The next move is your books, all of them. Once again only keep what makes you happy. Obviously books you refer to over and over you will keep, but a recipe book that you keep because there is one particular recipe in it goes. Copy down that recipe and keep it in a file.

book clutter

Papers are along the same lines, get rid of what you don’t need.  Elphin Lodge retirement village in Johannesburg has a group that uses old cards and makes new ones which they sell.  Give the cards to them. Or turn the covers into art by making a collage, but don’t let them clutter your home.

paper clutter

Kondo has suggested that you leave memorabilia and mementos till last, as the emotional attachment is very strong.  She feels that by the time you have decluttered the rest of your house, it will be a little easier for you to be able to declutter these things.

If this method appeals to you, try it out and let me know how it works.

Kondo says she has never had a client who has lapsed.

Happy clearing.

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