As some of you may have seen in a Facebook post on Saturday, in anticipation of Miss L’il Bit’s arrival, the Spy House’s 16 month KonMari project is complete. Mostly. J still wants to go through his closet, but that’s neither here nor there! I think we would have been finished in 8 months or so, but I took a hiatus from September to December due to a very busy schedule, and then found out I was pregnant in January. Knowing I wanted to finish KonMari before our baby arrived, I decided that I would finish the project during my first trimester of pregnancy. Hahahahaha. I was so exhausted the first 12 weeks that I felt lucky that I didn’t start growing roots in the sofa. I barely managed to keep up with cleaning the bathrooms and the occasional vacuuming session.
Anyway, on Saturday, with direction from me, J got rid of a bunch of random stuff (trash) we had been storing in our garage, organized the yard and garden tools…and Voila! KonMari was complete.
So, I thought I’d do a quick statistical documentation of the process, and include what I liked and didn’t like about Marie Kondo’s method. (Spoiler alert: I didn’t follow her method to the letter!) I wish I had kept a count of the total number of bags of stuff we threw out or donated, but I can tell you it was a lot! Maybe 30 or so?
Total hours spent: 45
Clothes (just Page’s): 6 hours, Books: 3 hours, Papers: 5.5 hours, Komono (miscellaneous stuff): 24.5, Sentimental: 4 hours
As you can see, Komono, or miscellaneous took the most time. I divided it into the following categories: Trash (like old boxes, etc), Pet supplies, coins, craft supplies, electronics and cords, Home office, Kitchen, Decor, Cleaning supplies, Bathroom/Grooming supplies, Alcohol (spirits), Outdoor supplies, Tools, and yard supplies.
KonMari Principles I stuck to:
- I followed her order of tidying. I knew that clothes would be the toughest for me, so I’m glad I could get that out of the way first. It also helped with the process of determining what “sparked joy” (or was useful), and what didn’t.
- I also picked up each item in my hands. I felt like this gave me the opportunity to really think and feel whether this was an item that I needed or that brought joy to me. Psychologically, there is also something satisfying about knowing that every item in our house has now passed through my hands and been “curated” as something that has meaning and/or value.
- As much as possible, I tried to make tidying an “event”. I would set aside the hours on the calendar, put on music I loved, occasionally pour myself an adult beverage, and get to work.
- I also tried to work with big chunks of time. On weekends when we were home, I would set aside about 4 hours per category or sub category to work. While the idea of tidying 15 minutes a day is somewhat appealing, I knew that my schedule didn’t allow for that. Plus, once you get started with the process, the motivation to continue until you are finished seems to build and build. I don’t think I would have experienced that by just doing 15 minutes a day.
KonMari Principles I let fall by the wayside:
- Thanking each item before getting rid of it. I just couldn’t bring myself to do this. Maybe it’s because of my faith, or my sense of dignity, but when I tried this the first few times, I felt really dumb, even though no one was watching me. Then again, I don’t usually have a problem tossing stuff, so I don’t know that it would have served the process that it intended, anyway.
- Finishing the process in as short a time frame as possible. Marie seems to think that you could finish the process in a weekend or a month once you get started. Hahahaha. Again, not possible with my schedule and the size of our home. I would suggest not letting so much time go by that you lose momentum, but if you have a space larger than a 1 bedroom apartment, plan to spend at least 20 hours on the project. I had to keep reminding myself that the Japanese usually live in small apartments, so they generally don’t accumulate as much stuff as we do. I found that setting aside some time each weekend was enough to not exhaust myself, but still keep the motivation ball rolling.
- Her folding methods. While her methods look neat and tidy, the actual process of folding takes forever. I hate folding laundry as it is, so doubling or tripling the time it takes just isn’t worth it to me. Also, now that I have fewer clothes, everything fits in my drawers just fine with my personalized haphazard folding method.
- The idea that you won’t ever need to tidy again. This just isn’t realistic for us (especially with a baby girl on the way…oy vey!). However, now that we have so much extra stuff out of the house and organizing systems in place, the process of tidying is much easier. Since I started in March of 2017, the only things I have had to re-KonMari are my clothes and grooming supplies (I have an addiction to bath and skin products!).
So, how do I feel now that we are done? Great! I was thinking last night that we really have put systems and processes in place that work for us. I haven’t missed a single kitchen item that we tossed or donated. Same with my clothes. In general, walking into our house feels lighter, and I can now concentrate on adding small touches here and there that “spark joy”. While we were far from hoarders before (except for spirits and wine), we had never truly sorted through all of the stuff that we combined when we bought the Spy House and got married 8 years ago. Much of it just sat in the basement. I now feel like we have what we need and want, and I have better guidelines for what I purchase.
Knowing that Miss L’il Bit is about to turn our worlds (and the Spy House) upside down, I feel better knowing that we now have the room for her stuff in our house…and plenty of room for her in our hearts.