Decluttering like Marie Kondo (warning – this is a long post)

marie kondo

I’ve been using the Marie Kondo method of cleaning all these years and didn’t even know it! I could have written the book! I definitely missed a money making trick there! In all fairness I haven’t actually read the book but from what I’ve heard from people that have taken the time out to read and review it is, that there’s an art to cleaning and letting go of the stuff you’ve been hoarding all these years.

The main tips reviewers of the now famous The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying: A simple, effective way to banish clutter forever by Marie Kondo have said that she recommends to clean in one whole swoop so you don’t get attached to the items you want to get rid of. Another tip was also to hold the item you want to give away or get rid of and see what emotions or attachments you have towards that particular item.

I do agree with her approach of seeing if you feel any kind of emotion to a certain item – emotion NOT attachment. In the way we live in this day and age, we are attached to almost everything – it could be because you spent such and such amount of money on something or because so and so bought that item for you.

Cleaning in one whole swoop would be a mammoth task, especially if you’ve got years and years of clutter/stuff built up. The way I would approach cleaning to declutter would be to tackle one room at a time, even if this takes you several days.

Start with the easiest room in the house – most probably the bathroom, because we don’t really have any personal items stored in there. So start with throwing away or giving away half used toiletry items that have been gathering dust and you know you aren’t ever going to use again. Throw away anything that’s past it’s use by date and give everything a good clean and wipe down. How easy was that!

The kitchen is probably the same kettle of fish, it might be a bit time consuming if you’ve got cupboards full of food past its use by date, so grab yourself a black bin bag and start binning everything that’s years out of date – you’ll instantly feel happier knowing you’re getting rid of rubbish. We’ve all got that one drawer in the kitchen that’s full of miscellaneous stuff that doesn’t have a home so, sift through that and try to find a place to put the spare buttons, batteries, pens, candles etc. See that wasn’t that hard either was it.

Living room and Dining room shouldn’t really be that difficult either, usually just a bit of clutter, like books, ornaments, cushions, cds and dvds that take up most of the space. If you can copy the music and films on to your computer, you can give away the original source to the charity shop or sell them online and make some money. Now do you really need fifty thousand cushions on your teeny tiny little sofa? I think not! So keep a few and give the rest away to a new home, someone else might appreciate them. Same goes with all the ornaments we collect over the years from all the various holiday destinations we visit. Keep the main ones that are meaningful to you and give away the ones that are sitting at the back of the display cabinet, never seeing the light of day. What’s the point of having such things if they can’t be seen?

Now this is where it gets hard – the bedrooms! This is where we keep our prized possessions that we’ve spent years and years collecting. I’d say start with clothes, start making piles of the clothes you wear the most, then your favourite clothes and then the clothes you love but never wear for various reasons – you’re saving them to fit into, for when they are back in fashion etc etc. Now its time to get real with yourself, are you really going to wear any of the clothes you haven’t worn in years? Most probably not. Trust me I’ve been there and recently I had to get honest with myself and have a brutal clear out – resulting in ten bags making their way to charity shops, some items still wearing the original price tag! It was soul destroying at the time but thinking that someone else in need of these clothes more than myself could enjoy them, made this process a whole lot easier. Pick a charity that means something to you, like a women’s refuge or children’s charity and think about what use these people would get out of the things that are gathering dust in your wardrobe. Do the same with handbags and shoes – seriously how many black cluth bags and high heels do we really need.

I’m not saying chuck out all the things you’ve spent your hard earned cash on but I am saying that we need to start thinking about how much buy just because we can. Before my massive clear out I know I was such a wasteful person buying clothes just because I could, even though I didn’t need another black shirt or pair of jeans. Trust me, it makes you feel like a whole different person knowing you’re not being wasteful owning things that you’re not using. You wouldn’t have ten cars parked in your driveway and only use one of them. So the same mindful mentally should be used for all the other things we own.

Why is cleaning and decluttering in such a brutal way so important?

You may be thinking all this is nonsense and it’s silly to get rid of so much stuff because you never know when you might need something. But, what I’ve realised is that everything is energy and has energy attached to it.

Every time I go to my hairdresser she tells me how she struggles to find love, that most of her relationships don’t last longer than the 3 month mark. Then one day she told me how she can’t get rid of a Rolex watch an ex boyfriends mum had bought her. She hasn’t been with this ex lover for a few years yet she can’t let go of this watch because it was from someone who meant something to her in the past and it has great monetary value. WHY WHY WHY would you hold on to something from an ex lover?! You’re just telling the universe that you’re not ready to move on and want to be trapped in the past.

Another example is, last summer my brother, boyfriend and I cleared out my parents garage that they had been storing so much stuff in, I’m talking years and years worth of stuff. Dishes, old school books, bikes, car parts – so much stuff that wasn’t getting used. And in the corner was a load of wood for a shed that had to be removed from the garden due to planning permission restrictions. Long story short, two weeks after we cleared out the garage, the wood that was sitting there for about 5 years, sold! As crazy as it may sound, I believe the energy in the garage shifted, which resulted in the wood wanting to be moved to a better place.

Now if that’s not a good enough reason to declutter and give away things that no longer serve you, then I don’t know what is!

I know this has been a long blog post but I feel it’s so important to let go of items that don’t bring you joy and are taking up space in your life.

Have you read Marie Kondo’s book? What did you think of it?