KonMari, a year later.
I just finished watching Marie Kondo’s new show, Tidying Up, on Netflix. If you’re not familiar with Marie Kondo she’s the best-selling author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. Basically, she is the queen of organization. Using her KonMari method of tidying she promises that once you’re done, you’ll never have to tidy again.
Watching the show made me want to get rid of everything. It made me want to take out all my clothes, take out all my books, take out all my miscellaneous items, and sort through them. It made me want to take garbage bags full of stuff out to donate. It gave me that itch to tidy.
But…I have nothing to get rid of.
Over a year ago I finished reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and “finished” tidying my apartment. I sorted through all my clothes. I sorted through all my books. I sorted through all my papers. I sorted through…well…most of my sentimental items.
I couldn’t even count the amount of bags of stuff I discarded, the amount of stuff that I said, “thank you,” to before letting it go from my life.
But, here we are, a bit over a year later, a bit over a year since finishing KonMari-ing my apartment. So…did I really never have to tidy again?
My hall closet before my December cleaning and after. There wasn’t much difference.
KonMari definitely fixed my apartment. It just didn’t completely fix the girl who lives in it. I still find myself having to clean up after myself, often.
My biggest offense is dirty dishes. I get lazy or tired and let them pile up. And once my dishes go, the rest of the apartment stands no chance. It’s just this domino effect where once my sink starts filling up with dirty dishes, my floor starts filling up with dirty clothes and my table starts filling up with junk mail and my couch starts filling up with purses and hard drives and coats, and before I know it, I’m just surrounded by clutter.
Let’s face it, I’m a slob.
Still, though, even at its worst, my apartment never gets quite as bad as it did before. And when I do get around to cleaning, to tidying, it’s much easier to put things away. And, when I do put things away, my whole apartment looks, well, tidy.
Every December, when I have time off for the holidays, I do a massive deep clean of my entire apartment. I take everything out of the cabinets and drawers and closets, scrub them down, organize everything, and put it all back.
In the past, this process would take quite a few, frustrating, days. Days where my apartment looked much worse before it got better. And it often resulted in closets that were still packed tight and drawers that were still overflowing.
This December, I did it again. I took everything out of my closets and drawers, scrubbed them down, and put everything back. The whole process took a single day. A single day that wasn’t all that bad for a day spent cleaning. And, at the end of that day, everything looked neat and tidy.
So at least I know something worked. At least when my apartment is at its best, it’s at its best.
I sometimes wonder if I really got everything I could out of KonMari. Especially since, technically, I never truly “finished.”
I got through all of the steps. I went through all of my clothes. I went through all of my books. I went through all of my papers. I went through all of my komono. I went through all of my sentimental items…until I hit those few last things. Those last few things I as too scared to deal with. And then I procrastinated. And then I avoided. And so those few last things are still there, holding their power over me.
I sometimes think, “would anything really be different if I sorted through that box?” And I sometimes think, “why am I holding onto that box?” And I sometimes think, “will I ever really be able to let go of the past?”
Besides that last bit of untidied memories, I also haven’t been completely committed to everything KonMari taught me over the past year.
For instance, I got rid of a lot of books last year but then ended up buying a few new ones. Many of which, admittedly, I still haven’t read.
And my closets are still mostly filled with clothes that I love but don’t fit into.
And I never could get onboard with hiding my shampoo and shower toiletries in a cupboard. So those stay out, in a shower caddie, which sometimes gets filled with half-used bottles. Because while I do try very hard to not keep things that don’t bring me joy, I also still have a hard time, sometimes, discarding things that are useful and practical that I’ve paid for, even if it means spending a month showering with shampoo that smells like decaying old man cologne…
And, let’s face it, when you have cats can anything really ever be tidy? My cats leave their toys everywhere. They get litter everywhere. They get hair everywhere. They shred my toilet paper. They shred my paper towels. They shred my couch.
But, despite all of those things, I love them so much that I want to buy them all the toys and beds and scratchers and trees they could ever need. So their collection of stuff has grown and grown.
I should probably, actually, sort through their toy box at some point…
Even though I wasn’t perfect in KonMari and haven’t been perfect in keeping it up, I did learn a lot from doing it and I did take a lot of the lessons from the book to heart.
I’m much more critical in the things I buy. I’m much more apt to discard something I know I don’t need or want or love.
And, even though it’s hard, I am better at putting things away when I’m done with them.
Plus I still fold my underwear and socks after every single wash. And that is something even I can’t believe I kept up.
So, even if, some days, it doesn’t feel like it, KonMari has had a significant impact on my apartment and me.
And watching Marie Kondo in person, on her show, made me remember how joyful it was to tidy.
So, while I had nothing left to get rid of, I did, instead, reassess some of my problem areas.
Like if I’m in the kitchen and use a rag, I have nowhere to put the used rag other than in a pile on the floor or behind the faucet. Or if I bring home groceries I have no where to put my potatoes and onions other than to pile them on the kitchen counter or on top of my coffee maker.
So, instead of discarding anything, this time, I ordered a hundred dollars worth of containers from the Container Store…
And maybe those extra tools will help me further with staying tidy or maybe they won’t. And maybe I will get to that last box or maybe I won’t. But all I can say is this: I’m taking steps to be a tidier person. And that’s what counts.
So, if you’re thinking of picking up The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up or if you’re watching Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix, just know that it might not solve all your problems and might not change you completely and no, you might not never have to tidy again.
But I’m happy I did it. And I definitely feel lighter and less cluttered. And I definitely keep more tidy that I ever have in my life.
And, honestly, I can’t even remember a single thing that I got rid of.
And I can’t say that I miss anything that’s gone.