the konmari method – or how i learned to fold my socks and empty my handbag

the konmari method

I’m fairly clean and tidy as it is although I do enjoy reading books about clutter-clearing, because, well, you can never be too organised. Can you? Anyway this was on my wish list for a while, but as it soared in popularity my interest dwindled. Until I managed to get my hands on a cheap copy and decided to give it a go.

OK, so the method is simple, mind-numbingly so. Simply pick up each item you own and ask ‘does this spark joy?’ If yes, it stays, if no, it goes. I found that in reality its not that black and white though; for example my cutlery doesn’t spark joy (although if I went without it for a while, it might). Nor does my hammer or my toilet brush but I quite like having them around. I guess you could argue that something practical sparks joy in its own peculiar way, but I did have to widen my scope here a bit.

To be fair, the question seems to work wonders though. On scouring the net, there are stories of people applying it to just about everything in life, from body weight to their jobs and relationships. And I’ve got rid of a lot more stuff in my ‘KonMari declutter’ than in previous declutters. I guess it makes you really question why you’re holding on to something.

Marie also states that instead of decluttering room by room, you gather all like items together. So start with clothes, then move on to books, toiletries, electronics, household goods, paperwork, mementos. I’ve always been a room-by-roomer, but I like Marie’s method. It makes it easier to see what you have and then group similar things together. You then store like items together, e.g. all paperwork together, all toiletries together etc so you always know where things are and you can see at a glance how much you have.

Marie has loads of small suggestions for things you can do to keep your home and life organised. These are a few that I’ve adopted (plus a few I wasn’t so keen on…)

Fold your socks

Everyone was making a Huge Deal about the sock folding, There’s even You Tube videos dedicated to it. And how I scoffed. Fold my socks? I’ve been balling them into ‘potatoes’, as Marie calls them, and I’ve been doing so all my life. But in the spirit of things I gave it a go, just to prove to myself that its a load of old faff, and that balling them is much easier.

It isn’t, though. Folding them is awesome!

Marie says that balled-up socks never get a chance to rest and are always in a state of tension. I’m not sure about that, although its fair to say it does knacker their elastic. They do feel nicer when I put them on but I suspect its more to do with the fact that it feels like putting on a new pair of socks straight from the pack.

I actually enjoy the ritual of taking my time over my clean socks, and folding them neatly. I’ve also changed how I fold everything else, and am now an advocate of rolling things up. Marie suggests rolled items should be stored vertically. My drawers aren’t deep enough for this so I store them horizontally instead. It’s lovely because I can see at a glance what I have which means I don’t end up wearing the same stuff from the top of the pile.

Keep the edge around the bath clear

I didn’t have a lot of toiletries anyway; I’m not one for loads of shampoo or shower gel bottles, I have one of each. So shifting them from the edge of the bath into the cupboard below the sink was no hassle. The bathroom looks calmer and clearer, plus it feels a lot more spacious. I thought that taking the items out of the cupboard and replacing them every time would become a pain, but so far I’ve barely noticed. It makes the bath easier to clean too, bonus!

Empty your handbag every day

Marie suggests we thank our handbag each day, and empty it so that it can ‘rest’. I don’t thank it, but I do empty all contents into a basket in the utility cupboard.  I’m notorious for accumulating crap in my handbag so this is a great way of keeping on top of it. It also stops me forgetting what I already have and ending up with 5 packets of tissues/lips balms/packets of chewing gum/earphones. I’m not entirely sure I’ll stick with this, but I’ve realised I need less in my bag than I think. There are some items I don’t always need and some I never need.

Store things in the shop until you need them

I love this concept. I’m bad for buying deodorant, toothpaste etc as soon as the current one is half empty, then storing them until I need them. It’s just more clutter though. Instead, Marie suggests that instead of storing these items in a  cupboard, you ‘store them in the shop’ until you need them. I mean, the world isn’t going to run out of them, and this is an easy one for me because I live so near the shops so can pop out any time. Again, devilishly simple. It won’t work for everything; I’ll still buy 2 for 1 offers if its something I use, and when I order my make-up online I’ll order more than one to save on postage, But for everyday toiletries its a great idea and it makes perfect sense.


Some of Marie’s advice I haven’t taken:

  • Throw items away just because they’re no longer used or they have a rip/button missing (I hate waste and its a shame Marie didn’t address this issue, even fleetingly)
  • Throw away duplicates. No. I am not throwing away eleven of my twelve lip balms. Instead I now store them together and will use them up over time
  • Each item has its own energy. And when it gets tatty, it wants you to throw it away so that the energy can come back to you in the form of something new (at the very least, I’m sure my tatty items of clothes would rather be recycled than thrown away)
  • If you don’t know where to store something, ask your house and it will tell you (sadly my house does not seem to give a shit where I put things)

Some of it is just a bit too out there for me. Marie’s tone of writing is hilarious though; it comes across as very School Marm-ish, but at the same time she’s clearly passionate about what she does, and going by Instagram, so are many of her followers.

My verdict – it hasn’t changed my life but its changed how I look at my stuff and its changed how I look after my socks. Not a bad result.

Have you read this book? Have you adopted any of Marie’s methods?

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