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We tried to ‘Marie Kondo’ our home (here’s what happened)

Updated: Mar 3, 2020

For as long as I can remember I’ve loved organizing. Not organizing the Marie Kondo way (wish I’d known better) but there is something so satisfying to me about putting things in order and having clutter-free space. The thing that I really hate though is that it doesn’t stay clutter-free. Ever. And the thing that can drive me to complete insanity is having to organize the same stuff over and over again. I know some of you have been there too! All the storage baskets and bins in the world don’t make a difference. They just hold all the stuff that we, I’ve recently learned, are no longer using.

Bathroom counter freedom! Tidying up frees up the space that normally would be cluttered with hair, make-up and skin care stuff.

I have seen Marie Kondo’s books everywhere. Book stores, discount stores, Target, you name it. And I had no clue what it was about! Thanks to Netflix, I binge-watched Tidying Up with Marie Kondo in early January and haven’t looked back since. I wasn’t completely clear on the method just by watching the show (and those who know me know I like to be thorough) so I did what any logical minded person would, I went to the library. I read the life-changing magic of tidying up and then spark joy. Getting the detailed info first-hand from the expert sparked a whole lot of joy! I read the first book in about two days and immediately got my husband on board.

A single drawer attached to the bathroom counter is where most of my “spark joy” cosmetics currently live. Clearly, I have a love for lip products.

And because we are also followers of the DR (Dave Ramsey) baby steps we held out on initially getting rid of anything that wasn’t considered trash to sell at a garage sale. It was so hard but is so paid off, literally. A couple weekends ago we had the most gorgeous weather and it seemed like everyone in our little neighborhood was doing the same thing! It was actually quite fun the first day. We did our garage sale in one weekend and agreed that nothing that had been put out for sale would come back in our home. Anything that didn’t sell we either donated to friends or charity. It felt so good to thank our things, box them up and send them on their way. As we finished up my husband said, “We had a lot of stuff! Where did it all come from?”

Getting rid of the clutter gave me the mental space to get creative with a blank wall in the living room. We painted some Pottery Barn shelves we had stored away to line up our plant collection.

He wasn’t exaggerating either. We had tossed at least 15 bags worth of trash, sold a couple of car loads worth of stuff at our garage sale and donated two car loads worth to charity and friends. I am usually a big fan of instant results but this was worth the delayed gratification to know it didn’t just all end up in a landfill. Even our kids got in on it, without even so much as a wishful suggestion from me.

My Little Hermann Ivy is flourishing.

Our home feels lighter. We no longer have junk drawers, closets or cabinets, filled with only Marie Kondo knows what, collecting dust and taking up valued space and energy. It feels really good.

Not too long before starting this post I worked on my last category, sentimental items. I went through a box of photos and the ones I kept will be organized in our family photo album. There isn’t one thing we regret letting go of. And I think that is what makes this permanent tidying method so doable for us. It isn’t about how many blankies your kids want to keep or feeling bad about letting go of a gift you received years ago but never used. It’s on your terms, not what someone else deemed acceptable.

This method is doable for anyone if you’re willing to put in the energy and time to do it right. Read the books first. And then go at your own pace. It took me about a month start to finish and some categories took longer than others to complete. For example, komono took the longest but it was the easiest. We just had a ton of miscellaneous items (cd and dvd collections, extra kitchen stuff, electronics, etc) stored everywhere that needed to be handled so it took almost two weeks – including setting things aside for our garage sale – to sort through.

Another fun mini project I took on after the bulk of our tidying was complete. We repotted our large peace lily and I created a gallery wall space that spans the entire length of our bedroom with some of my favorite things.

I couldn’t have paid someone to come to our home and de-clutter and organize the way we have during this process. We wouldn’t have learned anything from that. I had done all of the organizing and purging (clothes, toys and stuff that we had grown out of) but there was still all of this stuff. So I told my family we were going to try something different this time. And so far so good. Now I have time to work on some projects around the house and get some new stuff uploaded on this blog!

Any de-cluttering or organizing methods you swear by? Share them below!

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