The Magic of Tidying Up – Getting Rid of Stuff #konmari Style

If you follow me on Instagram I have posted photos of my journey to a better more organized life. I’ve read organizing books and made attempts here and there to de-clutter and get my sh!t in proverbial order with little luck. I found Marie Kondo’s book at B&N during their New Year – New You promotions they do every year. Immediately, it resonated with me so I brought it home and read it cover to cover.

This is not my closet. Image from

First off Marie Kondo is from Japan and some of the things that she talks about may seem really peculiar to westerners but like any self-help book you need to take what works and ditch what doesn’t or maybe tweak it a bit here and there.

What I really liked was her organizing by category rather than room. Brilliant. Rolling your clothes, I’m not quite so sure about that, so I’m testing rolling vs. laying flat to see what works. Talking to your clothes and possessions? Weird, but I talk to myself in an Australian accent when I sew alone so not too uncomfortable for me. My kids would walk by and ask who I was talking to and when I said my underwear or my box of hats, they backed away slowly and I never saw them again for the day.

She said it can take 5-6 months which I thought was laughable, until I started and ya, it’s going to take that long. I’m hoping to get the most done by June in time for my big blow out garage sale.

Here are a few more observations I’ve had. I’m still far from done with the house. So far I’m the only one of the family to do it.  In her book she says that family members will naturally join in. But, my family is part pig and can live in the utmost disgusting surroundings.  I’ve done a test and just didn’t do any cleaning whatsoever; didn’t notice a thing. It’s really gross.

It a lot of cases people on Instagram will take ‘before’ photos, and in many cases my ‘before’ was just way too embarrassing.  Some of my before’s just don’t even show the half of it.

The categories that I’ve finished so far are:

  • Toiletries/Linens
  • Books
  • Clothes

Clothes has been by far the biggest,longest most rewarding category. She suggests doing this first, which I did not. I wanted to wait until the change of seasons so I could bring all my clothes out and not have to unload/load/unload all over again when spring/summer came.

This took over 12 hours for me. And, towards the end I was  like – No joy here, get rid of it. Or the opposite – Ya, whatever. It brings me joy, yippee, next. I would recommend breaks to refresh. And, at some point I forgot to ask each item “Do you bring me joy” ( I spoke in a German accent here), and just thought of how I would wear it. It’s important to really ask, because sometimes you’ll like it or wear it, but does it really make your heart sing and do you really feel spectacular in it. Then it’s a keeper. We all have those clothes in our closets that we truly do love, that make us look good, that we feel good in and so forth. Those are the keepers! It said that of all the clothes we have we only wear 20%. Wow!

Finished work.
Click for a bigger view.

I did wear something the next day that I chose as a keeper and when I wore it I didn’t like it. It was wrinkled, too big, old and so on. When I got home I started another bag for charity. It’s an ongoing process I think for awhile at least. Keep in mind her No Lounge Wear rule too. It  was a trap I was falling into towards the end.

I would recommend taking time and maybe breaking the clothes category into sections, depending on your closet it can be a huge task. But, so worth it. I still need to do my shoes and lingerie. But, I really needed a break on this so I’ve stopped for awhile.

There were some things that I had made that needed alterations and in some cases I just chucked them because it caused me way to much stress thinking of altering the darn thing. Out it goes. And, those that I did alter really do bring me joy, I love the fabric or whatever it is, and that I will do the work to make it ‘right’ so I’ll wear it. If not, out it goes.

As far hanging clothes I love padded satin hangers, but you’ll notice they take up a lot of space. I removed those and replaced with plastic and wood. I like the ‘click-clack’ sound plastic hangers make, I feel like I’m in my own boutique.

I am keeping the padded hangers for the sweaters I wear in fall and winter. Many items in the wardrobe are folded, and group by color or long sleeved, short sleeve etc. I like the idea of rolling, but we’ll see how it goes.

I also like hanging my jeans. I may not wear a pair all day or wear more than once before washing. I like hanging them over folding or rolling.


With toiletries I think it’s less about keeping things that bring you ‘joy’ and more about organizing and ditching things you don’t need. Really, holding a jumbo box of tampons will never really be synonymous with ‘joy’.  Well, unless your period is late.

Book category was easy. I just don’t need so many of them in my life right now. I kept some that are particular meaningful for me as well as reference and some sweet children’s books. Then I took many down to 2nd & Charles and got 22.00 cash.

For all three categories mentioned I also did these for my 2  piglets. The large pig, well he’s on his own. Not touching it.

My sewing room will be it’s own category with multiple sub-categories. I plan on doing this one near the end. It’s going to be tough.

 If you’re on Instagram one of the hash tags is #konmari and some of the folks before and after photos are jaw dropping. I feel like the amount of my stuff is average for an overly consumptive westerner. But, wow there is some amazing work going on.  It’s inspiring, it’s like the Biggest Loser. I feel if they can do it I can too.

Warning: There was a photo from one person who said she now has all her clothes in one closet, no off-season storage. Immediately I felt that I didn’t do enough and I felt inadequate.  It’s a common theme with me, the relentless comparing to others. But really, everyone’s closet is there own and the work I do on mine is mine alone. It’s hard work no matter the size of the closet or how many garbage bags were sent to Goodwill. If you do this you will revel in your new found de-cluttered state! Keep me posted if you do the Marie Kondo method.



  1. I loved your comment about your family being part pig…I can so relate! I have done the not cleaning thing also…it is amazing what they will overlook…dishes overflowing, trash cans overflowing, no clean clothes…they really don’t care. It IS gross! I need to attempt this in at least my sewing room and my closet…I already clean my closet out a couple of times a year, but I don’t know that I have REALLY organized it. Yes, definitely need to do this…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I find I organize but I don’t get rid of anything. So, I’m just organizing things I may not need over and over again. It’s been a couple of weeks since I did my closet and things are still neat and tidy. You’ve got to try it!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I just recently borrowed that ebook from the library. Great minds…. (are messy, apparently!) The VVA comes at least once a month and when I start getting restless, I’ll comb through the closet and build my purge pile. Craft room redo resulted in another sizable donation of books and stuff bought in a hoarding mindset. “If I just get that set of papers/stickers/beads/whatever, I’ll be happy and will have hours of quality time with my creativity” -or something- was underneath the impulsive succumbing to sale emails. The more I purge, the less I indulge shopping. Funny.

    Now fabric and patterns….that’s another story.

    I walked my dog and left the front door wide open with screen/storm door closed but unlocked (key didn’t work?) so the kitty could watch the world while we were away. At this point I don’t think I’d be devastated if I was ripped off. Maybe my computer. Disgruntled at sewing machines, but who steals those?

    Letters and cards left me torn but I realized I never look at them until I try to organize, and the memory is there regardless of the item. So it’s like, do I toss the trigger to the memory? After a few passes it’s usually a Yes.

    Spring cleaning for the soul 🙂


  3. Great post. Been doing some of this on my own (don’t have time to read a book about it!). The crawl space has been the worst – we moved in 10 years ago and just stuffed it full, so it’s been a long, slow process of one box at a time. There’s things in there that belong to grandmothers and parents who have been dead for years! It’s been a hard process to go through it all but I love that the crawl space is slowly emptying out and what’s left is what truly needs to be kept. You’re right, it is very, very time-consuming but has rewards in the end!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Isn’t it amazing what we amass for a short time? I think for the older personal items of which I have not really gotten to, it’s also can be very emotionally taxing. Going through childhood stuff can be good and bad. So too with those that have passed. I haven’t gotten to that stage yet.


    • Nice! I find accountability to be a great thing. There is so much support out there. On Instagram the KonMari followers are a positive bunch.


  4. Thanks for the blog. It took me years to de-clutter and I was relentless in the end as I had to move. It’s like peeling an onion. And it never ends, you have to do it for life. I feel good with less. Less can be more. Easy to find what you love rather than having them being smothered in among things you don’t use. I now think about every purchase I make before I even bring it home. I have a tiny closet, and I rotate twice a year, in Spring and Fall, shoes and clothes. Again, makes it easy to find what you want to find. I will read the book. Sounds like I will learn some things.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Right on! I’ve been living in my newly tidy space for a week and it’s so easy to find things AND put them away. I love it. And, yes Less is more! i think you will like the book too.


  5. Great post Jill. I love the accents. I can totally hear the German Fraulein asking each item if it brings you joy!

    I’m curious to know how many of the items you “let go” were made-me items? I find those the most difficult to pass on. In fact, quite a few of my items which I can no longer fit in to I gave to a good friend who lives in Australia but made her promise me when she didn’t want them anymore to mail them back & I’d reimburse her the postage.

    I’m curious about Ms Kondo’s “No Lounge Rule” … what’s the all about?

    I went through a big de-cluttering of my sewing space this past weekend & it was so freeing. Can’t wait to see more posts on your journey.

    PS I’m surprised your man is not more Virgo-ish.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I still can’t part with my home dec bright yellow skirt. Never wear it but I love it! I did get rid of a number of tunics that I made but never wore, they’re becoming depressing. The No Lounge rule is when you are editing your clothes to not get in the habit of “Well, I just wear it for lounging around in” She says if you do this your Lounge Around pile will be huge and that you need to really ask yourself are you going to wear it and feel good in it. Made sense to me.


  6. Thanks for the post, Jilly! I just finished reading the very same book, & love some of her methods but bewildered by others. Not sure if I can learn how to talk to my house or empty my handbag every night.
    I’ll have to wait a few months before KonMari – ing my home.

    Liked by 1 person

    • To be honest I haven’t gotten to the emptying of the hand bag routine. That doesn’t sound practical but I might give it a try down the road. I think it helps to set a date for KnoMar-ing. It really is a huge task, hand bags aside 😉 I’ll be watching if you do!


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