Fits and Starts

That’s how I   would describe this process.  I started back in August and made some great headway.  But as the items get more difficult, the process becomes more challenging as well. A few things can help – supportive family members and friends (the Facebook group is a huge supporting factor),  uninterrupted blocks of time (good luck with that), and breaks.  I firmly believe in taking breaks from the KonMari process so that you don’t become overwhelmed or discouraged.  Last week was Spring Break; most of my teacher friends were off, so I took off too. (Thirty years in education…hard to break some habits!) This week I am doing yard work.  I like to think of it as KonMari for the outdoors.  Pulling weeds may be a losing battle, but I call it exercise.  And while we have had a few chilly days her in North Texas, when the hot weather sets in it will be here for good, so I’m spending as much time outside as I can while it is bearable.

Kondo doesn’t recommend breaks.  In fact, she believes the process should be done in one fell swoop so that you don’t fall back into old clutter-filled habits.  In theory, that makes perfect sense, and I completely understand her reasoning.  But here’s the problem – life gets in the way.  Family, work, social activities – these are all going to impact the amount of time you can truly devote to this.  I have it better than many – I am retired, my husband is being supportive, my daughter doesn’t live at home, and we have a modest sized home of about 1900 square feet.  And yet…I started back in August.

If you try to KonMari exactly as  she says, you might be setting yourself up for failure. Don’t misunderstand – I absolutely love this process and am doing my best to adhere to her principles.  But rather than looking at them as “rules”, I am choosing to look at them as “guidelines”.  To be sure, I am a rule-follower (most of us Type As are), but I do have a little bit of a rebellious side.  I like to call it “common sense”.  If KMing your entire home in one month doesn’t make sense for you, then don’t do it that way.  The process is only going to work if you are committed to it.  The only way you are going to commit to it is if it makes sense to you, and the only way it is going to make sense to you is if you can do it in a way that feels manageable.

This process should free you, not frustrate you.  So do it, but if you have to make adjustments, don’t beat yourself up over it.  A perfect example would be what to fold vs what to hang.  Kondo wants nearly everything folded.  Now, I love the KonMari folding method; my drawers look amazing and it created so much extra space. (Try it the next time you pack a suitcase – you might only need one bag instead of two!)  But I am not folding my jeans.  They were awkward and bulky and it just looked ridiculous.  It made no sense to me and certainly did not bring me joy. I do have a pretty good sized walk-in closet though, so keeping the jeans on their hangers made for a much neater, organized look that I am very happy with.  Do what makes sense for your space.

Kondo wants us to strive for perfection; I’m on board with that.  But remember that my perfection and yours are probably going to differ – and that is perfectly okay.

The Art of Folding

I can’t talk about clothing and not address the KonMari folding method.  It is unlike anything you’ve probably ever seen, yet it makes perfect sense (for most items, anyway…) Kondo says, “The key is to store things standing up rather than laid flat”.  If you are like most people, you are thinking, “Um…what???”  But I promise you, it is the best decision you will make.  Your clothes fit better in the drawers and you can get more in them – which is one of the reasons I no longer need to store seasonal clothing elsewhere.  You can actually see all of your items at one time – no more digging to the bottom of the drawer to pull out that one shirt while you mess up all the rest.  And your clothes won’t wrinkle as badly because they are not stacked on top of each other.  Think of your drawers being file cabinets and your clothes as files – you’ll get the idea.  Here are some of my drawers:

As you can see, folding and stacking make a huge difference!  Both my socks and tank tops were able to be condensed down to one drawer each.  But the best part, for me, is that I can see everything at one time.  Now all of my drawers look like this – underwear, t-shirts, athletic wear, bathing suits.

So excited was I by this that I dragged my friends into my room and started opening drawers to show them!  I even gave them a folding lesson.  I’m not sure they shared my enthusiasm, but that’s okay because I found some folks who do.  I was having a hard time visualizing how to actually make the folds, so I Googled it.  During my search for how to fold KonMari style, I found something else – a Facebook group full of other like-minded folks.  I joined immediately and found myself among other women looking to simplify and declutter and keep the joy in their lives.  I posted my drawer photos and got immediate feedback and encouragement.  There are times when this feels like an impossible task, trying to discard and sort an entire house.  But it helps to be able to turn to the group to ask for ideas or support and to give that in return as well.

If you’re more of a visual learner, you might want Kondo’s second book, Spark Joy, also. There are illustrations on how to fold – I sure could have used that the first time around! And I will admit – I don’t fold everything this way.  My jeans hang in the closet, many sweaters have proven too bulky, and my scarves actually fit better rolled (my Navy dad would be proud). But the end result is the same; the clothes are stored in the best way for them and me.  It makes me feel good just to open a drawer and see them all lined up nice and neat.