Saaaayyyyy what!! I know, I know… it most definitely isn’t spring anymore haha. In fact right now I am pretty much melting into my couch with the summer heat and humidity! (yay Queensland!). But I’ve had this blog post written for a few months now and thought that it was about time that I just posted it to the blog as I have had quite a few questions around the Konmari decluttering method that I used.
So as most of you are aware, last year I undertook a spring clean of my room. Well not just a spring clean – a massive decluttering!! I shared parts of my journey on my instastories but thought I should record them in an actual blog post for you all. I also wanted to show you my before and after shots of my room as well!! Now full disclosure it doesn’t exactly look like this anymore 🙈 I’m in the stage of continuing to collect house stuff and then also packing all of my stuff to move to Jake’s place! In fact I actually did this massive decluttering in prep for moving. My thoughts behind it was that I didn’t want to have to move all of my things if I was just going to throw out a heap of it out at the other end as I organised it into our new home.
Essentially the Konmari method is a Japanese tidying method to declutter and transform a space. There are multiple books on this topic, like The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying-Up by Marie Kondo, but.. ahem… I just did my research on trusty Pinterest to get the highlights 🤓.
Now excuse the quality of these photos, but I just remembered to snap photos here and there throughout the process. But this whole process allowed me to go from this:
Completely different right?! I had so much jammed into my beloved IKEA bookcase before, and after I had one whole cube free!!! (I had to make it pretty though of course – see that little Eiffel tower).
The biggest thing that stuck out to me in all my research was that neat and organised doesn’t necessarily mean decluttered. I think that I tend to be quite an organised person and totally love things to be neat, however it was at the point where the volume of what I owned made it very hard to keep everything tidy and organised. Everything was extremely packed into every possible corner, trying to make the most of the small space I had. And I would just keep adding to it, rather than ever really throwing things out. I was a massive sucker for the ‘I might need to use this one day’ excuse. I’m not the only one I’m sure!!
Essentially these are the ‘steps’ I followed:
1// Sort your belongings by category, not by room! This allows you to collect all the items in one place and really see what you own, get rid of duplicates etc. There are multiple checklists (I found mine here) which cue you the best place to start and check that you don’t forget any areas. In the midst of the absolute mess of decluttering and moving everything around, this list kept me sane and on target!! You can see the progress with your list, even if it seems your space is getting more disorganised.
2// Start with items that have a less ‘emotional attachment’. A lot of the checklists tend to go in this order – clothes, books, papers, miscellaneous items related to specific areas in the house (eg, kitchen or office) and then finish with the sentimental items. The idea is you get used to throwing out these less meaningful items that it is much easier when you get to the tricker items. And it is totally true – you get hooked on the feeling of decluttering and by the time it gets to old cards, photo albums, letters etc I was able to think more rationally and be clear what I needed to keep, or needed to get rid of.
3// Sort each category and subcategory at one time – you really do get on a roll, it allows you to clearly take stock of everything you own in that category. Commit to getting that one category done in one go, not little by little. Take it all out of the cupboard, bookcase, wardrobe – really see everything you own.
4// Organise everything in that category/subcategory into four piles. We all know this one: create a pile to keep, donate, throw-out and then a undecided pile. Put that ‘undecided’ pile in a box and if you haven’t opened it up in 30days, then donate it – WITHOUT opening the box! It was really cool and slightly depressing to see my throw-out pile grow and grow and grow, I had a lot of stuff that I had held onto, thought I would eventually use that I honestly didn’t need. And now that I’ve been honest with myself… I feel awesome!! And my space feels so fresh and clean
5// Does it spark joy? It is very true – if you are undecided whether to keep it, be really honest with yourself about whether the item brings joy, or is there an obligation that causes you to hold onto it. If there is…. then let it go (could totally get in and start singing Frozen there!)
6// Organise categories only after the complete process of sorting them is done. Now organising is one of my favourite things to do, so for me it was my reward for sticking to the decluttering process. I actually only semi-organised my categories when I finished decluttering because I wanted the freedom to move everything around once I was done. It did mean I was working in a continual pile of things stacking up around me but totally worth it. Proof the the chaos below…
7// Thank your items for their service. When I read this tip, I pretty much laughed and was like… nup never gonna do that 😂. But seriously when I was sorting through my jewellery, I came across a necklace that had been given for my 18th from a friend. I hadn’t worn the necklace for years, it was tarnished and wasn’t my style anymore. But because I knew who it was from and why I was given it, I was very tempted to just keep it out of obligation. That’s when I remembered this point – ‘thank your items for their service’, so in my head that’s essentially what I did and then threw it out!! That was the turning point for me – I could do this!!!!
I really loved going through this process of decluttering and would totally recommend you all to give it a go. For me it really highlighted just how much stuff I own that I never used, in fact totally had forgot that I had, and it also taught me to look at my belongings in a completely different way. Safe to say I was on a throw-out binge for a long time after this process. It helps you to really consider each purchase that you make and really just how much worth you put into inanimate objects.