Have you guys heard of the KonMari method?
My boss introduced me to it this past week, but the book on the subject has been a best seller. “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” The woman who wrote it takes tidying up very, very seriously. I read the entire book in one day, so let me just tell you how this shit is done. Plus, buying the book would just mean one more thing to tidy up!! Who wants that?? Look at me, putting my new skills to work!! You’re welcome, friend!!
The book is all about downgrading and organizing your things. My girl Marie (the author) says that the things you own are a big indicator of who you are in life and that you should only be surrounded by things that bring you true happiness. Coincidentally, my apartment closet is much too small and my clothes are nearly always falling out, which brings me sadness.
In an effort to be less sad and more happy, I went to Barnes & Noble at Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica to pick up the book… and a few new clothing items from Anthropologie next door to shove into my already full closet. Off to a great start!
The first step of Marie’s guide to eternal happiness is to go through and discard of about half of your things. Then, you learn how to organize the survivors.
At first, I thought this encouragement of “discarding” unwanted things meant there must now be huge piles of gogo boots and sorority t-shirts in our dumps thanks to the trendy KonMari method, but she specified that to “discard” can also mean to donate. So, if you’ve been looking for a hideous green and rhinestoned homecoming dress worn once during my freshman year of high school, you’re in luck! Head on down to Goodwill at Washington & Sepulveda Blvd! Apologies for the sweat stains! It was a weird time! I was crushing hard on a soccer player! He wasn’t reciprocating!
In KonMari method, you must go through and purge your things by category, not location. She stresses that this mind-blowing technique is unlike anything anyone has ever done when tidying up. Most people organize their things based on location. For KonMari, you don’t do your bedroom, then your bathroom, then your kitchen. Instead, you need to use this order:
- komono (meaning, the rest of your crap)
Although, when you share a small apartment in LA with two other people like me, the order will most likely look like this:
- bathroom and kitchen (meaning, the rest of my crap)
Also, Marie thinks that you should treat this “tidying up” extravaganza as a marathon to do in one sitting rather than one little piece at a time. By the time I finished the book and had a jolt of inspiration, it was 10pm at night, I had 30 minutes until I would pass out, and I thought… LET’S GET STARTED!
First item of the KonMari list: my clothes. The correct way to follow the method is to put all of your clothes on the floor in the middle of the room. Yet, if I put all my clothes on the floor, I would have no access to the door for all the necessary things I needed outside of my room like wine refills every half hour and consistent bathroom breaks.
So, sorry, Marie. I put all my clothes on my bed instead. Which was hard work. I have a lot of clothes. Hence, why I was doing this method in the first place. I then berated myself for having so many clothes that I don’t wear. I realized that I didn’t need them all and I should really find time to clean them out. I then remembered that that was exactly what I was doing in that moment. I then concluded I deserved a break.
My break turned into a full nights sleep and I awoke the next morning surrounded by every clothing item I own. Though it was crowded, it was nice to spend that final night with all of them before I evaluated each one and decided which ones I liked most. It felt similar to what I had to do with my friends in 2006 when Myspace told me there could only be 8. That was a fun slumber party.
The KonMari method of tossing works like this: Without any other distractors (music, television, roommates asking you why all of your things are literally everywhere), you are supposed to pick up and feel every single item, then decide if it sparks joy within you. Close your eyes, coddle your clothes, and say, “J Crew sweater from three years ago with a sriracha stain on the front, do you make me happy?”
If the answer is YES, then that sweater made the cut and gets to stay with you in your home. If the answer is NO, then that sweater gets discarded. If you discard it, you need to thank it for serving it’s purpose in your life and then send it happily on it’s way. Oh yes, clothes have feelings. They also know whether or not they would like to be hung up or folded. You have to ask them. I know. This lady is a bit of a kook, but she kept promising that I was going to be Mister Roger-status happy by the end, so I pressed on.
I went through my clothes one by one. Surprisingly, there were many things I could easily decide had served their purpose in my life and that I could discard. I realized I’ve kept items around because I want so badly for them to be cute, but whenever I try them on I learn that they don’t quite fit me like they fit the plastic model in Forever 21. Seriously, that bitch has a banging bod. I heard she’s super fake though.
KonMari method teaches us that you hold onto things because you are either holding onto the past or are scared of the future. For instance, if you have a bunch of clothes that are too big for you but you are scared that you’ll need them one day after eating one too many Samoas girl scout cookies, you must decide that you’ll never let yourself get there again and discard. If you have things from the past that you don’t need anymore but you’re scared of letting go because they represent people or history, you need to let go of your past and discard.
Through this process, I realized I have a lot of things from ex-boyfriends. I officially don’t own jerseys of their favorite teams anymore. It’s really exciting for both me and the people who would ask me questions as if I had any clue about the team I was wearing.
Other things were harder for me to decide if I should let go of. Does this spark joy? I mean, it would spark joy if I was invited to a very specific party! What if I was invited to golf pros and tennis hoes themed party? Or a crocodile hunter themed party? Or a white trash bash? Basically, I have been prepared for ANY THEMED PARTY! In receiving those invites, I would have been sparked by lots of joy, followed by a “I KNOW EXACTLY WHAT TO WEAR!”
Alas, I discarded them all. I got rid of everything. Well, not everything. Still invite me to your Disney-princess-themed parties, plz.
Through this process (which took 6 days and 7 bottles of wine), I made many, many trips to Goodwill.
So long, dresses that are getting inappropriately short as I reach my mid-twenties and hats bought on impulse.
To tell you the truth, purging these items actually made me feel like how Marie told me I would feel, if only 5% of the intensity that she promised. I felt lighter, clearer, and better. I didn’t need so many things that were essentially useless all around me. Turns out, 90% of my nail polishes were actually dried up. I had 7 full toothpaste tubes hiding out. Holding onto old dance shoes does not also guarantee that you hold on to the actual talent of dancing. Who knew!!!!!?
The most challenging items to toss ended up being old electronics that were once the hottest new gadget or gifts that I never really liked to begin with. Don’t worry, I didn’t give away all the gifts. I still have the one you gave me. You know it’s my favorite.
I got into a state of such pure euporhia whenever I “purged” an item that I became a little bit of a maniac about it. Coats? It’s warm out today! I won’t need these, ever! Discard! Perfectly good food? Not planning on eating that in the next 10 minutes, it’s cluttering me! Stop disrupting my life! Discard! Swimsuits? Not planning on swimming today! See you never! Tennis shoes? I already exercised this month! You’ve served your purpose! Bye bye!
Unfortunately, when I got around to books, the first one that I held and axed was none of than the KonMari’s bible of throwing shit away. Tossing that thing out gave me the greatest release of them all. The process pretty much ended there.
I would give this method a 7/10, would try again. Though, Marie guarantees that once you adopt her method by successfully throw out half your shit and keeping the other half organized, you will never “relapse” into your messy ways again.
And I agree with her! I’ve learned what items actually spark joy inside me. So now that I’m an expert at it, combined with the newfound excitement of free hangers in my closet, I’m off to go shopping and refill my life with lots and lots and lots of things!
Of course, only things that bring spark joy. Like new dresses. And shoes. And purses. And, apparently, toothpaste.