I started my KonMari Method decluttering adventure 14 months ago. This method is based on the book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo. Kondo advises doing a ruthless, massive purge only once, by category instead of area, and keeping only those things which “spark joy.” The promised result is an organized, clutter-free home containing only things you love and use, and nothing extra to weigh you down.
You can read my first post here. I started with clothes, then moved on to books, then papers and files. The changes I made in those areas have stuck (yes, even the anal retentive folding and storage methods!), but my progress stalled from there because life happens.
According to Kondo, the whole process is supposed to take six months. However, she writes as if children don’t exist in the world, except for herself as a child, when she was already enthralled by decluttering, which my children are not. Kids, of course, mean a lot more stuff and a lot less time to spend decluttering it. So I figure I get an additional six months per kid, and if I’m done by Halloween, I’m good.
The categories I’ve done so far are discrete and finite. I’m happy with the results, but it hasn’t been enough to really feel the difference in an overarching way. Recently, I started looking around and getting that familiar urge to rent a dumpster for the driveway and dump everything into it, so I knew it was time to resume this project. I figure the real key to a home that truly feels different and having the promised life-altering experience is tackling “komono,” which is Japanese for “all your miscellaneous crap.”
So I started with kitchen stuff.
As instructed, I took everything out of the cabinets. What you see on the counters is everything except food and utensils (both of which I did separately), and our everyday dishes.
Yes, I have a glass jar problem.
When you’re dealing with Pyrex containers and small appliances rather than books or favorite sweaters, it’s a bit of a stretch to consider whether or not an item “sparks joy.” Still, I tried to keep only those things we regularly use and which add to our cooking/dining experience.
As instructed, I put my hands on every item before making the “stay or go” decision. (I draw the line at talking to the items.)
Here’s an item that easily made it to the chopping block: this crock pot.
It’s the size of a grapefruit. Where did this come from, and why do I have it? An appetizer is the only practical use for this. Who is so precious that their spinach artichoke dip must be maintained at a precise temperature once it comes out of the oven? Not me. Thank you, and goodbye (OK, I guess I do talk to items, as Kondo instructs).
I got rid of three boxes of stuff. There would have been more, but my mother-in-law will be coming from India soon, and she does a lot of cooking here (lucky us!). There are some things she may use even if we don’t. Anything she doesn’t end up using will also go.
I did decide to keep a couple things we never use. That’s against the KonMari rules, which say if you haven’t used it recently, you won’t, so out it goes. I would add: unless you make a conscious choice to start using it, and that choice “sparks joy” and enhances your family’s life.
The first are these sushi sets I got as a gift for my husband maybe 15 years ago when he said he wanted to learn to make sushi.
They’ve never been touched. I told him either we put “sushi making” on the calendar now, or it goes. We have a sushi making date!
The second is a fondue set I found way in back on a top shelf. We hadn’t used it since before the kids were born. Instead of putting it in one of the outgoing boxes, I kept it and we did chocolate fondue with the kids the very next night, which of course they loved. I’m sure they won’t let us go too long without using it again!
My kitchen cabinets and drawers are organized and more sparse, I can find things more quickly, and there are even a couple of empty top shelves. We’ve resurrected some forgotten items and added some fun family activities to our repertoire.
Life-changing and magical? I wouldn’t go that far—yet. But it all feels good.
Copyright © Camille Williams and Wake Up, Mama! 2016. All rights reserved.