On January 3rd, 2016, I published a post about Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.
In that post, I commented, “Following her very specific process, as described in her book, helped me to complete the process all at once, once and for all. Though to be fair, I should probably give a follow up report a year or so from now.”
And so, to be fair, here is that follow up post. (If this sounds terribly boring, skip to the last paragraph.) But, if you’re interested in decluttering, I highly recommend the book. If you want the CliffsNotes, check out my post from January.
Here’s a quick reminder of a few highlights from my process:
- August 2015: donated 38 items
- November 2015: donated 23 items
- Early December 2015: read Marie Kondo’s book
- December 30, 2015: donated 196 items
- 2015 total: 257 items!
Since then, my living spaces have remained decluttered and organized. I do not feel I have accumulated MORE stuff. In fact, it’s become easier to say, “this doesn’t bring me joy anymore” and then add it to a bag to donate.
Let’s take a look at this year’s donations:
- May 2016: 23 items
- July 2016: 36 items
- August 2016: 58 items
- September 2016: 14 items
- BONUS: I sold 2 items on craigslist and 7 items on the Poshmark app.
- 2016 total (so far): 140 items
- I did not count, in either year, how many items I threw away. I feel confident it was significantly more in 2015, when I went through and discarded or shredded so many papers.
- I also have a small bag of items still to donate this year – maybe another 10-20 items.
My Thoughts on the Benefits, One Year Later
So, does the KonMari Method mean you’ll never have to tidy up again? Probably not. Does it mean you’ll continue to get rid of items? Likely. Does it make it easier to let go of these items and recognize what you no longer want or need (based on what brings you joy)? I think so! And, does it make me think twice before bringing something into my house? Yes. Still, it’s worth noting that I got rid of another 140 items one year later.
Another Interesting Observation
Because I went through EVERY SINGLE ITEM I OWN at the end of last year, it’s easier to notice what I still own but have not used over the last year. In some cases these items bring me joy, even if I don’t use them. This includes a couple boxes of things from growing up that are important to me to keep. But what about a board game I enjoy but didn’t play all year? Is it worth keeping? I’m sure I’ll play it in the next year…or the one after that. This, to me, is where there is more grey area. I have space for these items and a place where they go, but are they worth keeping? This is also true of some tools I have in a small box. The box is the same size and takes up the same amount of space, whether I discard some tools I haven’t used or not. How far should I go?
I realize to some this thought process is mind boggling. “Keep it! Don’t keep it! Who cares? Go live your life!” On the other hand, some of you may be asking the same questions as I am. Ultimately, this is a personal decision – and can be guided by Marie Kondo’s key point: Does this item spark joy? If it does, keep it. If not, toss it.
Still, I find myself wondering if I should keep something now that I would probably find myself donating if I had to pack up my life and move across the country? Or something.
What’s worked for you? What do you think about these ideas? How do you stay organized?
From my last post, let me reiterate the biggest financial benefits I saw from completing this process:
- When you know what you own, you avoid buying duplicate items and unnecessarily spending money. Have you ever purchased items at Target because you couldn’t remember if you needed more shampoo or paper towels? Have you ever purchased a shirt only to realize later that you already own something very similar? When you can see what you own and you own what you love, you are less likely to make these duplicative, unnecessary purchases.
- After going through all of your possessions and discarding a significant number of them, you realize you are happy with less. This makes it easier to notbuy things. Additionally, by going through every item you own, you learn a lot about which items truly bring you joy and you get a lot of practice in making decisions. This also makes it significantly easier to buy less: you remember what you own, you’ve learned what brings you joy, and you only want to add items which do the same.
One last thing: