How To Clean Up Your Act Just Once And Never Have To Do It Again (Hint: It's Easy If You Follow 4 Steps)

Have you ever felt that you organized your drawer or closet and before you know it, it's back to where you had started? 

I've tried and failed on several occasions - Do a little each day, try one space at a time, try just one drawer, ... and a few others. No matter what, I rebound to my default state of too much stuff and chaos.

Less than 6 months ago, I paid good money to helpers to have my pantry cleaned out, only to have it look exactly like before in less than 48 hours (that was a record even for me)!

While I am not particularly disorganized, I seem to be always short on time, or not motivated enough, or have better things to do, or not enough storage, or have some other excuse.

But today, as I stand in my closet, I am a changed person. It's been nearly 4 months  and my closet continues to be - clean, organized, with lots of breathing room between clothes, and carrying only clothes that I absolutely love!

Nearly a third of what it used to be, I can actually see the back wall of my closet. Getting dressed in minutes and looking my best has been such a delight, finding just what I need in seconds. 

The thought 'I don't have anything to wear' hasn't crossed my mind in months. I haven't had the urge to buy anything for several weeks. Even dressing up for a quick trip to the grocery store has been a happy event.

So what did I do different this time and why didn't I rebound with my closet? I Kondo'd it! 

What? No. Not TaeKwonDo, but Kondo'd it. 

Fascinated after reading and following Marie Kondo (The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up), I was excited to use the KonMari Method to begin de-cluttering, simplifying, and getting my act together.

Why is de-cluttering so important? Why Bother and why not continue to live with it?

"It is reaching the point where we're beginning to  live in walk-in closets filled with stuff, not in rooms!"  
Tom Bender

Possessions. In today's consumer focused society, it is easier than ever to find ourselves surrounded by too much.

  • The average 10-year-old owns 238 toys but plays with just 12 daily (The Telegraph).  
  • We spend 10 minutes every day looking for lost items (phones, keys, documents, and glasses top the list). On average we lose up to 9 items every day (The Daily Mail)
- See more at:
  •  The average 10-year-old owns 238 toys but plays with just 12 daily (The Telegraph).  
  • We spend 10 minutes every day looking for lost items (phones, keys, documents, and glasses top the list). On average we lose up to 9 items every day (The Daily Mail)
  • The average 10-year-old owns 238 toys but plays with just 12 daily (The Telegraph).  
  • We spend 10 minutes every day looking for lost items (phones, keys, documents, and glasses top the list). On average we lose up to 9 items every day (The Daily Mail)
- See more at:

The spaces (and clutter) we live in and our living experience are closely connected. It is a fascinating study into the human spirit.

As people, we can choose to live at the level of our five senses (the default state for many) or we can mindfully choose to transcend and seek to access our higher selves. Living life from the higher level (as I am beginning to learn and experience) provides a deep fulfillment well worth the pursuit.

Our spaces can contribute to helping us access our higher selves. If left unaltered (cluttered and full of stuff), they can very strongly (and unconsciously) drag us back down to the level of fear, disease, irritability, restlessness, and chaos.

How Are Clutter And You Related?
"From observing my clients, I have noticed that when they part with excess clothing, their tummies tend to slim down, when they discard books and documents, their minds tend to become clearer, when they reduce the number of cosmetics and tidy up the area around the sink and bath, their complexion tends to become clear and their skin smooth. 

Although I have no scientific basis for this theory it is very interesting to see that the part of the body responding corresponds closely to the area that is put in order. Isn't it wonderful that tidying your house can also enhance your beauty and contribute to a healthier, trimmer body?"
Marie Kondo

How To Organize Your Life Once And Then Never Again

Marie Kondo, a Japanese organizing consultant, listed by TIME magazine as one of the top 100 most influential people of 2015, came up with the KonMari method. According to it, you just organize your life once.  Follow along in the very short clip above from Business Insider as Marie explains her method.

If you follow the directions, you don't rebound. From Youtube to Instagram and every major publication and blog people have been trying out the KonMari method. So many have achieved success that Kondo'ing has come to be accepted as a verb.

Ready To Take On The Weekly Project?  

Project: Kondo Your Closet/Clothes 

Time: One Day 

Objective: Get the experience of dramatic reorganization ==> dramatic changes in lifestyle and perspective.  

Note: The KonMari method dictates that you work by category and not location. It is also important to follow the specific order (1. clothes, 2. books, 3. paper etc...) to prevent rebound. Follow the steps in order and completely

  "....success depends on experiencing tangible results immediately. If you use the right method and concentrate your efforts on eliminating clutter thoroughly and completely within a short span of  time, you'll see instant results that will empower you to keep your space in order ever after. Anyone who experiences this process no matter who they are will vow never to revert to clutter again. "  

Marie Kondo 

Helpful To Know: Will be worth your effort to quickly browse through the resources below to gain motivation.

Step 1:  Collect. Take EVERYTHING out
Check every closet, every dresser, and any place else you keep clothes. Gather ALL clothes in one spot. No exceptions. 

Step 2: Sort. Does it Spark Joy? 
Create 2 piles - Keep and Discard. Handle every piece of clothing. See how your body feels as you hold it. Does it 'spark joy'? Does your body expand and move upward? If yes keep it. If you hesitate to think or feel guilt of any sort it goes on the discard pile

Step 3: Discard/Donate
With a feeling of gratitude give away the discard pile. 

Step 4: Organize, Arrange
Fold clothes (check out resources on how to). Resist the temptation to begin organizing/arranging before completing the entire sorting process.

KonMari Method Resources
I've worked my way through clothes (one family member at a time), completed books, and now getting ready to work on paper. So far the successes and the experience of the first few categories has inspired me to take on the daunting task of getting to the trickier categories.  

Letting go off stuff without guilt has been a liberating and life transforming experience. 

I realized I had so much stuff in the "just because" category - just because I don't know what to do with it, I kept it! Gifts I don't particularly like, spare buttons, change, packaging, samples ... Letting go off these items has been the most liberating and  freeing experience. 

Once you get through clothes, move onto the next category books (and so on). This is life transforming. 

Do you hang on to stuff you don't know what to do with? Do you have unopened mail, instruction manuals stuffed in your drawers just in case you may need it some day? Have you had successes using other methods of simplifying/de-cluttering, do share your successes.

1 comment:

Monica Verma said...

Here is the complete list of categories in order suggested by Marie Kondo

1. Clothes
2. Books
3. Paper
4. Miscellaneous
- CDs DVDs
- Skin Care Products
- Make up
- Accessories
- Valuables (Passports, credit cards, etc)
- Electrical equipment and appliances
- Household equipment
- Kitchen Goods/ food supplies
- Other (Spare change, figurines)
5. Mementos