When I asked my friend her weekend plans, she replied “Oh, we’re Kondo-ing the apartment.” And they are not alone. People everywhere are following Tidying Up, the Netflix hit by the tiny, decluttering powerhouse, Marie Kondo. If she’s not working for you, never fear, I have another idea. However, after watching her bless the house twice, I had a few thoughts.
SHE TOUCHES (almost) NOTHING
She is super hands off - and I love it. Marie touches approximately 10 things over their time together. The individuals are doing the dirty work - hauling and schlepping the bags, piling and un-piling, rolling and folding, sweating and crying. Like so much in life, the more you put in, the more you will get out of it. Most importantly, the more likely you will be able to maintain it.
TO KONDO TAKES TIME
Decluttering/editing/Kondo-ing takes time - a lot of time. Even with the Konmari Method and crazy TV deadlines, these families work for months. Clutter accumulates over minutes, years, decades, even generations. The 40 random piles, the never-opened-boxes, the ill-fitting clothing will not go away in a few short hours. To live with only items that spark joy, you must make the time.
But how do I make the time? Set aside blocks of no more than 3 hours (you’re a human, not a robot and will get tired).
But what do I do with the kids? Partner up with another family and swap childcare duties. Ask the grandparents to watch the kids. Put on a movie (or two or three). Now get to work - making sure you have plenty of brown bags on hand to help.
SMALL VICTORIES MATTER
In TV land, magic trucks haul away all that has lost joy. In reality, magic trucks are really expensive. Thankfully, free resources, like the Salvation Army and Goodwill, are ready and willing to accept your joy-less things.
For Kondo to have a lasting effect, YOU must donate a lot and often. 20 (200?) bags of unwanted items piled in your garage for 3 months (years?) does not spark joy. Cross the finish line by taking these items to your donation site after each Kondo session. Now your work is complete.
But Goodwill won’t take my things? Then post it for free on Next Door. Ask your housekeeper, your pediatrician, anyone if they know a family in need. Take it to the dump. (If you hate the thought of going to the dump, then be more mindful when you go to purchase things!) Do your best to get as much as you can out of your house and then celebrate that little victory. Send me a pic of your progress - I’ll high five you.
If Tidying Up has you shutting down, don’t be discouraged. Try reading The Happiness Project, specifically pages 25-34 (did I make that easy enough for you?). Maybe this project will be the one who finally sparks joy for you.
I know this work is hard. I know this work takes time. I also know YOU can do it.