Everyone is talking about the Marie Kondo Netflix special, “Tidying Up”. I’ve read several blog posts on it, and most of them are negative towards Marie and her methods. Honestly, probably because she’s a cute little adorable Japanese woman who clearly seems to have her shit in order. While most of us don’t, maybe people (women, in particular) are coming down on her because anything in mom-woman-world that seems too good to be true, is dubbed a fallacy of some sort. In typical Mean Girl fashion, we can’t just see another successful woman, mother, HUMAN, like ourselves, and be happy for her. NO, people across the internet have to rip her and her method apart and talk about how terrible it is. You know what? Just because it’s terrible for YOU doesn’t meant it’s terrible for EVERYONE, just like the fact that it’s wonderful for some people doesn’t mean that it’s wonderful for everyone.
Anyway, this post isn’t about that. It’s about my own personal method of cleaning out all the clutter. I took bits and pieces of her advice from her book and show, and here’s what I did:
Step 1: Watched “Tidying Up” on Netflix because we heard how awesome it is. And because we love Hoarders, and this seemed like the next evolution in our tv shows, since we exhausted all those Hoarders episodes on Hulu. For some reason, every time I watch Hoarders, or watch other people clean, it inspires me to do it as well. Weird…?
Step 2: Giggle about how Marie pronounces “books” because it’s the cutest thing ever. Also wish I was elegant, slender, and spoke Japanese. #nevergonnahappen.
Step 3: Decide to use the positive juju we felt watching other people get rid of their own shit, to get rid of OUR shit.
This picture? This is from Christmas, and I even posted it on my Instagram. It ALWAYS looked like this, and felt like such a beast. Things everywhere, ALWAYS… AHHHH!! Now, it’s always clean, there’s nothing ever out whenever we don’t want it to be.
No lie, we got rid of a TON of stuff, not just kid stuff. Marie talks about seeing if each thing sparks joy. I’m here to tell you that a Barbie shoe that was chewed up by a puppy will somehow miraculously “spark joy” in a toddler if given the chance to explain that “yes, I like that, I want it”. Kids as little as my daughter (2) don’t necessarily understand what this means. So our rules were: 1) does she play with it all the time and 2) does it have all the pieces. We also *tried* to explain about kids being less fortunate, and donating items to them. Surprisingly, she picked very few things as her favorites, and said yes to donating most. Whether she understood what she was actually doing is debatable, yet she hasn’t once yet asked for a toy that had been donated.
We dumped so much stuff, our entire living room seems like a clearer space. Clearer mentally, I mean, not just cleaner. She has a bin for dress-up, a bin for Barbies and Barbie toys, a bin for her Doctor kit, Polly Pockets and other small toys, and a bin for stuffed animals and miscellaneous toys. We can clean up the play area in 30 seconds or less.
(and before you wonder, YES, we do have multiple spots for toys: bedroom, living room (pictured), and basement. We did all of these areas, but I’m too lazy to take pictures of them all, and this was the only room I had a true, in-no-way-staged, before picture of)
I’ve noticed a lot of benefits from removing so many toys, and I’m so glad we did it. She clearly seems to value her toys more, and plays more decisively with what she has. It’s hard to let go of kid things sometimes, because I always feel like “well, they didn’t get to play with that yet” or “maybe they’ll want it at some point!”. I was holding on to some big blocks just because she would want to play with them like once every other month. That’s insane.
Marie Kondo’s method isn’t for everyone. It certainly isn’t all for me, because I don’t know that I can truly appreciate or understand what it means for a THING to bring me joy, or not to. I don’t understand the concept of “thanking” the items that I’m donating. To me they’re all just old things that are going bye-bye to be re-sorted in a Goodwill bin and then put out for someone else to take on their own journey. To me, thanking is something you do for people, not things. But I appreciate the concept nonetheless. Just not for me.
I did adopt MK’s method of folding, because it rocks. Not for everything, but most things. I love how neat everything is in my drawer, and it makes it super easy to find stuff! I didn’t do anything for the kid toys though. Show me that mom who has time to somehow organize all the toys by alphabetical letter, color, type of play, etc, and I’ll give you some sort of reward….I’m lucky there’s just a bin that all the Disney dresses get smushed into. But I’m totally happy with it!
Even if you don’t take her methods seriously, Tidying Up is worth a watch, because it’s just really interesting to see how she (and the families involved) think about cleaning. Let it inspire you to consider tidying up your space if you feel like you need it, like we did. We didn’t use all her methods, but we were still able to get the same result, and I’m SO pleased with what we accomplished!!! I don’t think minimalism is
necessarily AT ALL for me, but after going through some very dedicated cleaning time, I can say it does feel amazing to know almost exactly down to the item–what toys you have, where they are, and if they’re taken out (haha is there ever a time they’re NOT out?!), knowing that cleanup isn’t the worst thing in the world anymore!!!
So kudos, MK. Thanks for your show, how you pronounce books (“bee-yooks”, I love it), and letting me be inspired to clean all the insane toy clutter we had here. The toys (and tons of other crap) in our household are much more manageable now!!