My KonMari Journey — ‘Komono’ — The Attic

{ If you’re just joining the party bus, catch up on my KonMari journey to date. Or head on over to YouTube to hear me talk about it (including the corresponding video for today’s post). Or if you’ve no idea what I’m talking about, read my introduction to the KonMari Method. }

KonMari Method Attic

I feel like there should be dramatic music here because this was such a daunting and challenging task, and in a dusty and cramped environment to boot. To me, the attic used to hold a lot of awe and wonder — it was where my parents stored Christmas presents and toys from their own childhood, so it was a veritable Aladdin’s treasure trove up there. Venturing up the ladder into the dimly-lit cave was a moment of magic.

*tinkling of chimes*

Then, in my teens, I saw the film “The Grudge” and it became a place where the supernatural lay in wait to steal my soul.

*screeching violins*

Later, in adulthood, it became “the place to put things”. My daughter’s old clothes? Attic. My old college notes that I couldn’t bear to be parted with, despite not referring to them in over a decade? Attic. Out-of-season items that, once stored, will never be sought out again? Attic. Gift-wrap and small gifts that aren’t required regularly? Attic. Countless unidentified cables that couldn’t be dumped lest they turn out to be vital parts of something we want to use? Attic.

*sad trombones*

Yeah, you get the idea. So to say I wasn’t looking forward to dragging myself up to the glorified dump would be an understatement. But I started this KonMari journey several months ago now and I’ll be damned if I’m not seeing it through to the bitter end. So on a Saturday afternoon I gritted my teeth and grabbed the rungs. When I climbed the ladder, this is what awaited me:

KonMari Attic Day 1 Before

Yeah. Shit.

It’s a large space, spanning the length and breadth of our house, but I hadn’t accounted for the rafters and giant water tank blocking most of the access so that just a small area was actually accessible. Still, there was nothing for it but to get to work. I knew some of the stuff was more suited to the “mementoes” category, so I set about sorting through everything and sub-dividing it. In the end, I had 3 piles: mementoes, decorations, and miscellaneous.

KonMari Mementoes Before

Mementoes

KonMari Attic Miscellaneous Before

Miscellaneous

KonMari Attic Decorations Before

Decorations

As it turned out, about half the stuff was of the sentimental variety, so my task was immediately made easier. I will say that I didn’t sort through every single thing in every single box (not even close) so there’s a good chance there are some things on the sentimental side that may not be sentimental at all, but just ended up chucked in a random box. But that’s for another day down the road.

I got very annoyed at myself when I discovered my wedding dress lying in a garment bag at the bottom of a heap. That’s not how I want things that are important to me to be treated. At that point in the proceedings, I was so pissed off that I was fit to take a match to everything and just have done with it. Instead, I scolded myself, shed a little tear of frustration, and then soldiered on.

KonMari Komono Attic Wedding Dress

Un”veil”ed. *sob*

I decided to tackle the ‘miscellaneous’ sub-category first for two reasons: 1. It was larger, and I’m a firm believer in starting with something hard and then relaxing into the easier things as you run out of steam, and 2. Decorations! Being a massive child at heart, and a huge fan of Christmas, I knew that this sub-category wouldn’t yield big results in terms of reducing its size, so I went for the one where I was guaranteed to see the most difference.

I won’t lie, it was pretty excruciating. Both mentally and physically. It was cold up there, and I got hungry quite quickly, and the lack of chair or anything to sit on meant I was forced to do a lot of bending and crouching. I also eventually needed to use the toilet. Why didn’t I just grab a jumper/snack/chair/bathroom break? Quite simply because they were all downstairs and I knew if I went down the ladder, it would be a lot harder to come back up. Like when you sit down for a quick rest and then somehow get superglued to the sofa.

KonMari Komono Attic Fun

Fun? Ahahahahaha. I’ve forgotten what fun feels like.

I ploughed on. I tipped up tubs, and up-ended bags, and raked and rifled and rummaged. It was no small task. Some of the stuff was my husband’s so I started up the traditional WhatsApp back and forth about what I could and couldn’t dump.

KonMari Komono Attic Storage Unit Before

That bottom right picture was just what was in the bottom drawer. Yikes!

As with the time I KonMari’d the garage, my hoarding husband came up trumps and actually let me discard a lot more than I thought he would. So that was a big help. In the end, I was left with a significantly smaller pile than when I’d started.

Staying:

KonMari Komono Attic Miscellaneous After

But, more importantly, GOING:

KonMari Komono Attic Discard

This picture doesn’t do justice to how massive this pile was. It took me several trips to get it down the stairs and into the bin.

I packed it in for the day at that point (see aforementioned needs for heat, food, comfort, and toilet), but got stuck back in the following afternoon.

Day two was decorations.

Day two was fun.

KonMari Komono Attic Decorations Before

KonMari Komono Attic decorations bag before

It only took me an hour to go through them (and decide that 95% of them brought me immense joy) and, admittedly, a lot of that was just draping myself in tinsel and trying on Santa hats.

KonMari komono decorations dress-up

Did I mention I’m a massive child at heart?

Seriously, so much great stuff. Joy just dripping out of me.

KonMari Komono Attic Christmas nails

How cute are these?!

The ‘after’ pile actually looks bigger than the ‘before’ pile, but that’s just because I moved some stuff around. (Though, next weekend it actually will get bigger because I’ll be going Christmas decoration shopping. No, I don’t need more decorations, but it’s a tradition between me and a dear friend, and I try to buy one “special” piece every year. Also, I won’t rest until all surfaces are smothered in tinsel!)

Staying:

KonMari Komono Christmas Decorations staying

Going:

KonMari Komono Christmas decorations going. Declutter.

The attic felt like a huge turning point for me, for several reasons. First, it was the last “daunting” sub-category I faced (the others being my daughter’s toys and the garage). There are a few other small “loose end” sub-categories to tie up before I can call it a wrap on ‘komono’, but the attic was the last big one and it should be all downhill from here (in a sledding kind of way).

And, not only was this the home stretch for ‘komono’, but it also had the added bonus of organising all my mementoes into one area for me so that, when the time comes, I don’t have to go searching around the house. So I already feel that the final category will be that much easier and more manageable.

Also, finding my wedding dress like that was a bit of an eye opener. It was the first time I really felt that clutter was robbing me of things I truly cherished. I realised I’m not paying nearly enough attention to the things that bring me joy. It has heightened my desire to discard, and to “rescue” the things I love from the clutches of clutter.

A lot of people feel that minimalism means living in a sparse, bare environment. All white walls and empty shelves. But that’s not the case at all. Minimalism is making space for the things you love, and forsaking all others. It’s throwing away the piles, and giving your prized possessions pride of place in your home, the same way you do in your heart.

Yes, some minimalists live with very little, because that’s all they need. Me? I’ll be the kind of minimalist whose house is full, not with clutter and junk, but with toys and treasures.

That’s what the KonMari Method is doing for me.

Before we go, let’s just see one more ‘before’ and ‘after’ shot, shall we?

*drumroll*

KonMari Komono Attic Before & After

*cymbals*

Have you hit a turning point in your KonMari journey? Comment below and let me know!

*triangle* 🙂

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4 Comments

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  3. Hi Laura,
    I enjoyed reading your post about konmari-ing your attic. I am half way through mine and that means about 6 days work spread over 3 months. 30 years worth of trombone-worthy behaviour. You can imagine the result.

    I love your “alladin’s cave” memory. My 3 kids are all in their 20s so we don’t really need toys at all but there was a *huge* section of the loft full of them. It was a mess and hard to access.

    First I wanted to take it all to charity but it was too dirty… having sorted and washed the best bits (Lego, railway, Wild West Fort) I changed my mind and was able to start deciding.

    Finally, 2 car loads discarded and 3 plastic crates carefully organised. But no room in the house for them. Toys are so bulky!

    So the Alladins cave thought worked. I plan to return 2 crates to the loft, right by the entrance, for visiting kids to be able to use with ease.

    One thing I realised during the toy-sorting marathon, is I would like more kids to visit this house. So the 3rd crate full has gone into a cupboard in the laundry room as a lure, and I have invited a friend to bring her grandson soon.

    Previously I was aiming for an empty loft but it is impossible given our Christmas decorations, camping gear and toys. All seasonal or currently unused.

    Good progress though on luggage (reduced so it fitted in the house) and decorating materials (ditto) and sewing resources (Also ditto). All now properly in frequent use. So happy to be sewing again after years of the sewing machines being pushed into a corner and the fabric slung in the loft.

    • Wow, Rosalind, it sounds like you’re making HUGE progress! I love that in the midst of all the decluttering you’re re-discovering some of your passions and priorities. I guess that’s why Marie Kondo calls it ‘magic’. 😉 Go you!

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