I watched the first episode of Marie Kondo’s show on Netflix, and I was hooked. I instantly connected with Marie the person, who has a bright, warm smile and a ringing voice. What is so likeable about her persona is that she exudes genuine empathy, is not judgmental but very understanding of whatever hoarding traits people have. You will notice that people start out by shaking her hand, but by the end of the episode they are warmly hugging her and telling her that they will miss her. It must be amazing to bring so much joy to so many people.
After all that gushing, let me give you a bit of background about me. I am not a huge fan of cleaning or dusting. I do what is necessary but I don’t derive any joy in it. It is boring and monotonous work. And often I am the only one at home doing it. Add to it, the constant battle with clutter. I declutter every few months. I clean the drawers and wardrobes. I fold and arrange. But a few weeks later, the drawers are a mess. We can’t seem to locate simple stuff as it is kept in some ‘safe’ space we all have forgotten. It unnerves me and makes me unhappy. And despite having a fairly large house and lots of storage, I started feeling that we have less storage.
Seeing Marie Kondo’s show was something that instantly spoke to me. I want my house to be clutter free, not neat as it is now where externally things are tidy but the drawers, wardrobes and attics are messy. The task is daunting, and it will take weeks to do it. But I have made a start. So I first bought her book and read it completely. I have to say that the show episodes and book complement each other. You will not understand very well if you don’t visually see her folding methods or storage solutions that she recommends or even the ‘spark joy’ philosophy which did not make much sense to me initially.
I am going to do a post on each of the Categories of declutter. I loved it that she recommends tackling a category instead of a location like room etc. when starting the process. The categories are clothes, books, paper, komono (miscellaneous) and sentimental items. The experience of putting all the clothes you own as a pile on your bed is sobering and shocking as well.
So here’s my experience with 10 days of Clothes declutter:
What worked for Me with Marie Kondo’s #KonMari method of decluttering clothes:
1. Spark Joy
This may sound pretty ridiculous to some but Marie advocates that we only keep those items in our home that spark joy when we hold them/feel them. As someone who is not really attached to her clothes, I did not know how to implement this. Some of the daily wear or other clothes are purely functional. So I tweaked my way around it. I did dump all the clothes from my wardrobe on to the bed and went through them one by one. I thanked each item that either I had outgrown or just didn’t feel anything for. I started with less interest but slowly I warmed up to clothes. “Thank you for being for favourite jeans.” “Thanks for keeping me warm and for holding so many memories for me.” I was expressing love and gratitude to my clothes, and it did not feel strange. (I must be losing my mind :))
Despite just giving away clothes in November around Diwali, I came up with 2 bags of clothes to discard. I was pretty surprised. Discarding is the first step in her method. Don’t start folding and putting back things till you’ve completely done this. Mind you, it takes time; it is hard work, and your house will look messy for days while you are doing this.
My favourite part of decluttering was following her folding methods for clothes as well as stacking them vertically (where possible) instead of one on top of another as most of us do. She also taught a new method of storing socks instead of the potato-ball method. Her folding methods has many advantages:
- Saving space: Folding and stacking vertically helps you fit many more items in the same storage space. She recommends folding to hanging unless items are coats, jackets etc.
- Better visibility and more difficult to mess: This I instantly noticed. I can pick the exact t-shirt or jeans that I want instead of browsing through a bunch of clothes. That is much less work once you have done it.
- Easier to maintain: Stacking them on top of each other takes more space and often the clothes at the bottom never get worn. I face this in my ironed pile. Now I’ve split the ironed pile into smaller batches so that even the lowest cloth item is visible. Unironed stuff is stacked vertically.
3. Easy Storage solutions
This again was another favourite of mine. She recommends using smaller cardboard boxes, shoeboxes etc. that are free of cost and help instantly make your drawers neater. So, I implemented this for socks, handkerchiefs, underwear to make them easier to store and maintain.
Most people complain that the kids don’t keep things organized But my point is that no one likes clutter. Often it is just too much work to declutter on a regular basis. What Marie says is that if we declutter once, we will never have to do it again. That is a very exciting prospect for sure. Only a few months down the line can I comment if the method has completely worked.
Allocate a place for every possession. That way you will instantly know where to put every item, and it will not be left here and there. She has useful solutions for handbags, shoes and accessories like belts, scarves etc. and how to store them properly.
I highly recommend that you watch her series because visually seeing the points she mentioned in her book helps you really understand and implement. Reading the book is also necessary because it is much more detailed on several points. As you can tell, I took down notes.
I watched the kids not only take up the task with gusto but do it well. Both of them gave away clothes after holding them close and thanking them. As Indians, it is not hard for us to assign emotions the inanimate. I can think of how precious and pious we treat our books and paper so why not our other belongings? Unlike the West, we can connect more easily to how she greets the house or treats clothes, books and other possessions with respect.
They quickly learnt how to fold and are doing it now for their clothes. They come to me and ask if they are confused. And they are absolutely delighted to see how neat their drawers are now.
The lesson for all of us is that we can do it. And that clutter should never be a way of life. Also, this activity helps you become mindful of what you own, whether you need to own so much and how to unclutter your mind as you unclutter the space you inhabit. I am excited with this new activity. Wish me luck to complete all categories.
After this step, I am moving on to the second category – Books. Will update you on how that went in the next post.
If you liked this post, do share.
Do you struggle with clutter? Have you read Marie’s book? If so, has it inspired you?
Pic courtesy for Pinned pic and sock folding: By Kostikova Natalia on Shutterstock