Completing the KonMari Method — A Guide

As a lot of you will know, I have just finished completing the KonMari Method, so I wanted to put together a thorough guide to everything you need to know about it, based on my experience. So, welcome to my (lengthy — you have been forewarned) KonMari “after” post, where I share what I’ve learned and answer all the questions I’ve been getting, such as:

  • Did it work?
  • Have I kept it up?
  • What changes (good and bad) has it made to my life?
  • How do I find living with someone who’s not a Konvert?
  • Is it worth doing if the person you’re living with isn’t on board?
  • What have I learned?
  • Do I regret anything I decluttered?
  • What would I do differently?

Obviously, it’s a pretty big topic, so let’s just get stuck in, shall we? 😉

Completing the KonMari Method

Q1: Did it work?

I wish there were a straightforward answer. It worked in the sense that I got rid of about two thirds of my stuff. So if you’re looking to drastically reduce your belongings then yes, this is the best way I’ve found to do it.

Did it work in the sense that my house is now immaculately clean? Sadly, no. For one, I have a husband and a toddler, neither of whom are even remotely minimalist. 😉 And two, because it doesn’t really account for the lazy side of human nature. I’m not a particularly lazy person, but I still don’t always put things back where they’re supposed to go. When I get home after a long day, I still dump my stuff on the floor. When I kick off my shoes in the evening, I don’t immediately put them back, nor do I always remember to do so before I go to bed. I’m better at it than I was, though, so that’s something.

Yes, the house is cleaner after completing the KonMari Method and yes, it’s easier to take things out and put them away. I’m still not ecstatic about having to get off my arse to dust, though.

Completing the KonMari Method -- toys

Q2: Have I kept it up?

Again, based on what I’ve just said, yes and no. No, in the sense that I don’t always put things back where they’re supposed to go (and I guess not every single thing has a specific home). Yes, in the sense that I do it a lot more frequently than I used to, and I’m much more ruthless with stuff since completing the KonMari Method. I rarely hesitate before throwing anything away. Those “what if?” questions have been quieted. If I see something that doesn’t spark joy, I just dump it then and there.

Completing the KonMari Method -- donation

Q3: What changes (good and bad) has it made in my life?

Great fucking big ones.

Let’s dive in deeper:

Completing the KonMari Method — the good changes:

>> Even though my house isn’t immaculately clean, it’s a damn sight cleaner than it was. Cleaning in general has been made so much easier because there’s less to clean, there’s less to clean around, there aren’t as many things to move out of the way, there aren’t as many things piling up and falling over…

As I alluded to earlier, it doesn’t make me any more likely to want to clean the floors, but it does make the process easier when I do it because there aren’t as many obstacles on the floor, and the mop is very easily accessible.

Completing the KonMari Method -- utility room

>> It’s easier to find things. Less stuff means fewer hiding places. And because I’ve gone through everything quite recently, I still have a fair idea where I put it all. (Handy, because I get about a million messages a month from my husband asking where things are.)

>> It drastically reduces your desire to shop. I’m not bringing home impulse buys anymore. I couldn’t say with certainty that it’s reduced the amount of money I’m spending because what I’m finding is that, since completing the KonMari Method, I’m much more willing to splash out on quality items.

Of the things I do buy, I’m much less likely to regret purchases because I think long and hard before taking each one home. And if I decide after I buy it that it doesn’t spark joy after all, I either return it or donate it, whichever is most appropriate.

My relationship to things has changed — I think of them now in terms of how much they enrich my life. There isn’t that same guilt attached to spending more on things I love, because I know I’m not spending lots of small amounts on shit.

Completing the KonMari Method — the bad changes:

>> It drastically reduces your desire to shop. Yup, that’s a downside too. Shopping used to be a bit of a hobby. I never did a massive amount of it, and I certainly was never a big spender, but I used to enjoy it every now and again. I still shop, but some of the fun has been taken out of it because there’s the second-guessing process and the questioning. Can’t a gal just buy a cheap candle in peace?!

Completing the KonMari Method -- fun

>> I’ve also found that I feel much more overwhelmed now when faced with clutter. Christmas was very difficult for me this year. I normally love Christmas — I love putting up the decorations and making the house look all festive. But this year? It made me twitch. I was very anxious and, frankly, unhappy, for the entire festive season. It really stressed me out and, for the first time ever, I couldn’t wait for the decorations to come done. (It’s odd, because the decorations themselves sparked joy, but having them take up half my house did not).

Completing the KonMari Method -- Christmas tree & presents

Stress central

Speaking of extra clutter…

Q4: How do I manage living with someone who’s not a Konvert or minimalist?

With great difficulty. I don’t think you can ever fully complete the Method or reap the full benefits if you live with someone who’s not into it. There’s only so much stuff you can declutter when you live with someone. Their stuff will always be clutter to you; it will always take over the place; it will always be an eyesore. It’s hard. I dunno what to tell you. I struggle with it.

I never forced my husband to get rid of anything. I sometimes tried to reason with him, but I never pushed him. (Even when faced with over 20 bottles of Tabasco sauce, folks. ‘Cause I’m a fucking saint.) And I hope, by doing that, that I’ve fostered some more trust between us. I think if I’d forced him to get rid of stuff, or gotten rid of it behind his back, his tendency to hoard would have been heightened and the situation could potentially have gotten a lot worse.

Completing the KonMari Method -- garage

So yeah, patience and understanding are what I’m preaching. And hey, try to lead by example and to share the positives, and then let it go as much as possible.

You’ll still see benefits just from doing your own stuff and from shared stuff that the other person agrees to let go of, so it’s definitely not a total waste of time. I’d still recommend completing the KonMari Method as best you can and, who knows, they may eventually follow your example.

In the meantime, deep, calming breaths.

Q5: What have I learned?

>> That we have WAY more stuff than we think and than we need. Like, a shit-tonne more. I’d consider myself a pretty organised person, and I used to do pretty regular clear-outs, particularly of my clothes. And I’d actually done one just a few weeks before starting the Method, so I didn’t think I’d be able to get rid of that much.

Ahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

Completing the KonMari Method -- clothes

When I look back at all the stuff I cleared out of the house — and I’m talking several carloads of stuff — I wonder where I put it all. I mean, my house now is by no means empty — there’s still plenty of stuff in it. Yes, it’s stuff I love but, what can I say, I’ve got a lot of love to give.

So where the fuck did I fit all that other stuff?!

>> It makes you realise that the things you think are important really aren’t. The categories that I thought would be really difficult for me — like stationery — actually turned out to be fine. I realised I don’t really need fifty billion packets of stickers, or forty billion rolls of washi tape. (I do still need a billion notebooks and pens though. Those are what are REALLY important to me.)

Completing the KonMari Method -- stationery

>> Living without things is much easier than you think. I mean, you get rid of stuff, and then you see that it has absolutely no negative impact on your life whatsoever. Zero. You don’t even notice the stuff is gone. And I think, the more you live without, the more you realise you can live without.

Which leads me to:

Q6: Do I regret anything I decluttered?

Nope. Not a single thing.

Q7: What would I do differently?

>> Honestly, I thought the category thing was great BUT not everything can be neatly pigeon-holed. And because ‘komono’ is such a vast category, it can be easy to overlook all those random little bits. (To this day, I’m still spotting things I forgot, like the poker for the fire.)

Completing the KonMari Method -- soft toys in attic -- mementoes

If you only do it by category, it can be hard to see progress, particularly when a lot of what you’ve decluttered is now behind a closet door or in a drawer. It’s also hard to get a sense of how far there is to go — if you declutter all your clothes, for instance, you still have no real idea how much you’ve done or how much is left to do. If you go room by room, on the other hand, you know how many rooms are left.

Now look, I’m not saying categories aren’t the cat’s pyjamas. As she says in the book, they help you see exactly how much you have, and you can easily spot duplicates, etc. And that can be really eye-opening. But one thing I found is that a lot of the categories actually took up a large part of a room. So clothes made up the bulk of the bedroom, stationery and books made up the bulk of the office, toys made up the bulk of the living room, toiletries made up the bulk of the bathroom, etc. So I’d start with a category and then finish everything else that’s in the room. That would give me a greater sense of achievement because I’d have a much more visual representation of progress.

Completing the KonMari Method -- shoes

>> I’d also have a ‘holding area’ for things — one designated space for all the stuff I was getting rid of — because I found I was stashing stuff to be donated all over the place, and the piles just grew and grew. Which leads me onto another important point:

>> I’d get rid of the stuff much more regularly. Once I’d finished a category, I’d dump the rubbish and either bring the rest to the charity shop immediately or place it in my designated spot (probably the car boot) so I could drop it off at the earliest opportunity. Leaving bags and boxes to build up… Well, it defeats the whole purpose of the Method, really.

Completing the KonMari Method -- going

Completing the KonMari Method — final thoughts:

I know she says it’s a once in a lifetime event, but I feel like things change. Circumstances change. Your lifestyle changes. Your hobbies and interests change. Yes, they’re small things that don’t necessarily warrant a complete overhaul of everything in your life but, sometimes, it can be a drastic change, like emigrating, or starting a family, or moving in with someone, or some other major life event like a serious illness or the loss of a loved one. All of these things could easily prompt a total re-evaluation of everything in your life.

Maybe it won’t be as tough or as “new”, because you’ve already been through it so you have the basics down, but I can easily foresee several instances in which you might be starting a completely new chapter in your life and, therefore, want to start the Method from scratch. So, once in a lifetime? Possibly, but not necessarily.

Completing the KonMari Method -- toiletries

Also, the book is like a shrink. I mean, it should be in the psychology section, really. It’ll help you get over your separation anxiety regarding your stuff; it’ll help deal with the feelings of guilt and anxiety related to letting things go; it’ll help you to embrace change, let go of emotional baggage, and turn over a new, decluttered leaf. It will generally open your eyes to a whole new way of living. You’ll view your relationship with your stuff in a whole new light.

You can still lie on a couch while reading it, if that’s what floats your boat, but it’ll cost you a damn sight less than a psychotherapist.

Is it worth it?

Hell yeah. (Haven’t you been reading any of this?)

Completing the KonMari Method -- toys before and after

If you haven’t read the book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”, you should. It’s relatively inexpensive (or free if you pick it up from the library or borrow it from a friend), and it’s a quick read. “Life-changing” is a pretty bold statement to make in the title of a book but, in my experience, it truly is. And I don’t normally buy into that sort of bullshit. But I’m sold. I’m a KonMari Konvert. I’m drinkin’ the Kondo Kool-Aid, folks.

And that’s about it. PHEW! It took me a solid AGE to formulate all my thoughts on the topic (nevermind the cramp in my tendons from all the typing) so I really hope it’s proved helpful to you. If you’ve any questions that I haven’t covered, please let me know in the comments below. 😀

In the meantime, I do plan on re-doing the Method in the first half of 2016 so why not ‘like’ the Facebook page (see below) so you don’t miss out on my second go round. Or, if you’re more the visual type, head on over to my YouTube channel where I’ll be vlogging the entire process (again).

As usual, the ‘share’ buttons are below and to the right so you can show some love. 😉

And now if you’ll excuse me, I have to ice my poor arms.

Is there anything else you’d like to know about completing the KonMari Method? Ask it in the comments below!

Bookmark the permalink.

17 Comments

  1. My flatmate isn’t really into the method either, although she is getting rid of some stuff. She’s happy at a much higher stuff level than I am but I’m trying really hard to not push – it’s her house too! At least I don’t have to share a room with her…

    Re Christmas, it did feel cluttered this year. I didn’t feel too stressed or anxious while it was up but I was actually really happy when it came down – the living room felt so much bigger. I don’t want to resent Christmas though, I do like the decorations and things really. One to work on next year.

    I have a couple of bits still left to do – I’ve ignored them so far because they’re difficult. My sister is coming to visit soon and she’s going to support/bully me through some childhood belongings – she’s been far more ruthless than I have in her KonMari journey so far!

    I’ve enjoyed the posts of yours that I’ve read on this, and the vlogs. Thanks!

    • Hi Katie! Thanks so much. Yeah, I really don’t want to end up hating Christmas, so that’s a big one I’ve to work on too! Great that you have your sister as a cheerleader. And your flatmate… well, as you say, you don’t have to share a room with her so at least you still have a little sanctuary to escape to. It’s so important to have your own space.

      Good luck with your last few bits!

  2. Pingback: January 2016 Wrap-Up -- HowToGYST.com

  3. I just started the konmari method and have made it to the komono category and feel stuck! I just wish there were better categories. I found a list online but it’s broken down by room and way too specific. Any advice on how to conquer this huge, vague category?

    • Also how can I tell people to stop buying me gifts. 50% of my discards in accessories, bags and what I’ve gone through in kitchen are all gifts.

      • Do you know what you’d like? Because being clear on that comes in very handy when people ask. Any ambiguity or uncertainty from you leaves too much room for interpretation. Or, if nobody asks, just make a point of mentioning it in conversation. For example, if you’d like a voucher for a spa, either tell someone when they ask, or just start talking about how you’d love a bit of pampering. (For Christmas, I wrote a post on great clutter-free gifts that might give you some inspiration if you’re stuck: http://howtogyst.com/christmas-gift-ideas-that-are-clutter-free/ )

        You should also start talking about the efforts you’re making to declutter your home. Just say that you’ve decided you have a little too much stuff so you’re having a big clear out and are going to be making a concerted effort not to bring anything new into your home, bar the essentials.

        Apart from that, just remember that it’s the thought that counts. The gifts are a token — a symbol of affection. Try re-frame your thinking to the love and thought behind it being the gift, and the item just a physical manifestation of it. You can keep the “emotional gift” while parting with the physical item. =)

    • I started with toiletries, then moved onto “craft/hobby” stuff (for me, stationery and office supplies). After that you could do CDs and DVDs, personal electronics, “decorative” items (candles, photo frames, knick-knacks), food & drink, cooking-related items (pots & pans, utensils, etc.), cleaning supplies, kids toys…

      It’s a very broad category and it can feel never-ending, but it’s doable! Make up your own little categories based on similar things you have lying around the house, and then just dive in. There’s no right or wrong way to tackle it (I had a “crap lying around my bedroom floor” category that consisted of lots of different things, but I just needed to get the floor cleared, for my own sanity). I’d say pick one area or corner that bugs you, and then either clear the entire space, or figure out what “category” of thing mostly lives there and then do that.

      It’s tough, but if you keep plugging away, you’ll get there. =)

  4. I’ve just started and your story gives me hope. I’ve lived with far too much stuff for over 30 years, and have felt helpless to do anything about it.

    I’m part way through doing my clothes, and although the difference isn’t very visible because the changes are hidden in drawers and wardrobes, I do find it liberating because suddenly it’s so much easier to choose what to wear each day. I keep opening the drawers to gaze in wonder at them – I’ve never had drawers that tidy in my entire life!

    I agree about having a holding are for things that are being discarded. Last summer I managed to clear out a tiny spare bedroom, and although I still haven’t got around to getting it set up as I want (and am feeling guilty about that), there’s enough space in it to pile up the clothes that are going to the charity shop. So it’s useful at the moment, which pleases me! (It’s been unusable for the last 15 years.)

    • Good for you, Annette! I also find it so much easier to get dressed now and it definitely motivated me to continue, even when I was surrounded by sacks of stuff. And hurray for the new use for your spare room. Just imagine how great you’ll feel when it’s all done and dusted and you can reclaim all that extra space!

      If it helps, I documented my progress over on YouTube. I have a whole playlist dedicated to my KonMari videos. You can find it here if you think it would be useful: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL25FgX463_ih5GIRf62EpwbbwGHLc7WxK Or do a search on the site for “KonMari” and you’ll see loads of posts pop up.

      Best of luck with the rest of your journey!

      • Thank you! I’ll have a look at those videos. My biggest problem will be books – I have a few thousand of them, so I may leave them until later in the process!

        • You’d be surprised how quickly you’ll get through them once you build up a bit of momentum. Something I like to do if I’m facing into a large category is do an initial quick scan through everything and remove all the ones I know don’t spark joy. You’d be amazed how much of a difference that first go will make, and it gets you into the decluttering mindset so it’s easier to continue. =)

  5. Thank you for the great tips and help with motivation. Al and I had a colossal amount in our closet (large US walk in, room sized), accrued over 21 years since moving from the UK. I had had occasional clear outs, but did not to take everything out at once. When we took it all out it filled the bedroom with narrow walkways, not dirty but sometimes a bit cruddy. We’ve got through 3 days of processing, mostly working together, just the fabric clothes, and a we did a deep clean of the closet.
    We used to feel a bit claustrophobic going in before. I banged my ankle on a plastic bin twice in a couple of days last week, in the same place! It felt like the room was saying, or shouting, now is the time!!! Now when I go in it has a completely different atmosphere. The clothes are sorted, color coded and airy. Bliss! I hope that once I have completed all categories that it maintains this feeling!

    • Sounds like you’ve done some great work, Hazel! If your experience is anything like mine, you’ll continue to feel great. Getting there won’t always be easy but it’ll definitely be worth it. 😀

  6. My daughter gave me KonMari’s book for Christmas. I started with clothes and books then invented categories so I could do each one quickly. I have too much stuff to do anything else!
    Your video reassured me because I was a bit worried I might regret some of the discards. You helped me to be brave.
    Doing this method with my daughter helping me at times, has given us both joy and strengthened our relationship.
    Each time I finish a category I put the discards out neatly for 24 hours so family members can rescue loved items. It adds only a small number of items and gives even more joy – when I choose a mug now I notice my two daughters’ favourite mugs and look forward to their next visits.

    • How lovely! <3 I'm so glad you're starting out on the KonMari journey. It really will enhance your life in so many ways. What a wonderful start to 2017 for you!

  7. I’ve Konmari-ed recently (BTW, I loved your folding tutorial, really helpful, thank you).

    I’m a convert/evangelist but my concern is, I’m getting obsessive. I feel a constant “itch” that I could redo a category / just reorganize that drawer / find a better storage place for that wrapping paper. My kitchen is so clean and clear it looks like I’ve just moved in. Did you experience this or is it an indication that I need to konmari again, but be even more ruthless this time?

    Thank you

    K

    • I definitely experienced this! And still am! As far as I’m concerned, if you want to do it, and the benefits outweigh the negatives, go for it. For me, I found it helped a little to turn it to other areas of my life, eg. digital files, social media accounts, general life experiences, etc. It means I always have a new outlet for it. =)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *