Have you been caught up in the KonMari craze which is sweeping our nation?
At the risk of sounding hipster, that was me back in 2015 when I first read Marie's book. The concept resonated with my inner wannabe domestic goddess and overall I LOVE the results.
It has made my little cottage feel much bigger, lighter, and lovelier.
I learned a few things along the way that I didn't expect; and I want to share them here in case they help you. Whether you are just thinking about dabbling in the method, or are reading this thigh deep in a pile of clothes, books, papers or komono... this blog is for you.
MYTH ONE: WHEN YOU FINISH, EVERYTHING IN YOUR HOME WILL SPARK JOY
Unless you live alone, that ideal really sets you up for disappointment. The items in your home may all spark joy... but not for you.
In my experience, the best you can hope for is to have all of your possessions spark joy.
Over time my husband's favourite things have come to spark my joy because I know they bring joy to him. But I must somewhat guiltily admit that the same isn't true for my children's toys.
Especially their collection of lego.
Especially when small lego pieces ambush my unexpecting foot at all hours of the day and night.
[If I were to add an unrelated life lesson here, it is that lego and shaggy rugs are an evil combination]
The positive result of the KonMari method is that the things I love are shown off to better effect as they aren't surrounded by less treasured items. But I would have been happier with the result had I not internalised the constant messaging that everything in my home will spark my joy at the end of the process.
MYTH TWO: IF YOUR POSSESSIONS DON'T SPARK JOY OR FIT INTO YOUR FUTURE, YOU CAN DISCARD THEM WITH NO REMORSE
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
Sure, this was true for items which had bad memories attached to them, and those which I kept out of a sense of duty or usefulness.
But it was NOT true for items which sparked joy but that I could not see myself using again.
I got rid of most of the clothes from my university days because they were no longer my style; because I felt guilt over how big my clothing mountain was; and because the drawn-on items weren't fit to be worn in public.
This decision started causing me regret as soon as the decluttering high had worn off, and continues to do so over four years later.
Maybe this remorse is stronger for me than it would be for other people because I turn loved (but no longer used) clothes into memory-filled decor through Memory Quilts New Zealand every day. But I don't think so.
I wish I had a Memory Quilt from those clothes as a daily reminder of the amazing times I had with my besties. I could use it to tell stories to my kids, and remind myself of who I am underneath all the mothering that fills up my life.
Just because clothing is no longer used doesn't mean it is no longer useful. While I don't have wallspace for photos from uni, I definitely have space on my couch for another snuggly quilt or cushion. Especially one that brings back happy memories.
This is especially true if the clothing you are moving on belonged to a loved one who has passed away. That episode with the grieving widow gave me all the feels. If you are in this position, please do not make the decision until you have slept on it (for at least a week) and know in your heart that you are really truly ready for it.
Oh, and checked that no-one else will be hurt by not having the opportunity to save something for themselves. Experience bites there too.
That folding method though. I have maintained it and it brings me joy every day.
I got rid of heaps of books because I no longer read them frequently. I thought I could just check them out from the library when I want to read them.
For many books this was a great decision - I know that because I don't even remember their titles.
For others it was a mistake - I'm looking at you, Harry Potter.
I donated my full original Harry Potter series because I only read the books once every two years. It seemed like a great idea at the time.
Now I am buying them back, because my local libraries don't always have the book I want when I want it. Also, it takes more than three weeks to read an 800 page book to my sons. (Ok I'll admit, some of the shorter books had to be renewed too).
When the book cannot be renewed I am faced with the decision to buy a copy or face total anarchy from two desperate Potterheads. I took door number one.
If in doubt, don't throw out. Digitise. You get free space now, and can easily delete it later.
Like with the clothing, I made the decision to discard some sentimental items way too quickly. If you are a sentimental person like me, I recommend keeping your boxes of items to donate or discard for a while before passing them on, to be comfortable in your decision.
MYTH THREE: YOUR HOME WILL NEVER REGRESS
This hasn't been true for us - and never will be unless I ban my children from receiving gifts, ban my husband from buying books, and ban myself from collecting fabric for my stash. That's never going to happen.
Our home is far less cluttered than it used to be, but it ebbs and flows. And I'm ok with that. We're a family who would rather be making memories than preparing the perfect showhome.
I do a cut-down version of the KonMari method once or twice a year, on whatever category I think is growing beyond the space we have.
If you are interested in the KonMari method, by all means try it. I hope that learning from my experience will help you experience nothing but joy during (and especially after) the process.
If you want to learn more, check back because I'll be writing a mini-series about how to store items that spark joy in a way that sparks joy.
Or if you want to learn more about how to store disused clothes without storing them, you can skip ahead a few chapters to find my store page here
I'd love to hear your experiences below, or you can contact me on my Facebook page
Were you surprised with what sparks joy?