Okay, I think I am going to have to refute Marie Kondo’s claim that once you go through the house according to her method, you’ll never be untidy again.
No, my house is not particularly a mess. My bed is made, my clothes put away, the only laundry that isn’t put away is either in the laundry basket waiting to be washed, in the washing machine being washed or is currently drying in the dryer (yes, I’m doing laundry this morning).
My drawers and closets are still neat, sure enough. But I do have a craft project on the dining room table. There are dishes in the sink because I need to empty the dishwasher (I think my husband ran it this morning before he went to work. Thanks, sweetie!)
There is a napkin on the arm of my chair.
Is my house messy? Maybe by Ms. Kondo’s standards, but I can’t think of anyone else who might think so.
So, no. The house is not perfect. I do not empty my bags and purses the second I get home every day. I have a gym bag (emptied of sweaty or wet stuff, true) sitting on a rocking chair in the jungle room. I’ll be filling that to go do my swim in a few minutes, so I am fine with that.
Does this mean I think that Marie Kondo’s method didn’t really work?
I am very glad we did it. We really did keep only what we use and makes us happy. I have plenty of storage space for my stuff now, and it is easier to put things away. That means I am generally quicker to do so.
I think part of the problem was a simple one. It doesn’t look that dramatic because in general, the house didn’t look too messy to begin with. We recycle properly now, and have a place to put recycling because we cleaned out the mudroom properly. We have a nice place to store cleaning supplies because we cleaned out a junk storage place properly. The changes are less dramatically visual and more centered around the fact that we don’t waste house room on things we don’t use and love.
Do I ever look in a closet or drawer and ask myself, “Does this spark joy?”
Totally. So I weed a little bit every now and then just on a routine basis. I’m quicker to toss the pen that doesn’t write well, or the makeup that doesn’t really please. It does keep storage under control.
But that little bit at a time stuff? That’s FlyLady habits.
It was a thought I was having as I was comparing the two methods, and I think we’re getting into a “right tool for the right job” situation.
For a massive declutter, you need the big shovel. That’s absolutely the Konmari method. Hands-down, I think it is better for the Big Declutter.
For daily maintenance? FlyLady. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up doesn’t address maintenance at all, and I think that’s a big hole in the process. She claims you’ll just naturally stay all tidy. I’m not so sure about that. Don’t get me wrong. The reboot was wonderful. Having good storage space and a big, dramatic change in how much I had was great. It is hard to put something away when you have nowhere to put it. I agree wholeheartedly that expensive storage systems are silly. I did buy a charging station for my bedside table for my devices, and I really love it, though.
But the Konmari method presumes you’ll magically maintain this. I’m don’t. Not really. I have to think about it. I do scans of the house to see that things are put away. I don’t get up and put things away the second I am done using them. I put it away the same DAY, which is certainly fine, but I do have to clear off flat surfaces that are collecting stuff like mail, packages and general detritus from the dailiness of life rather than putting it away immediately. I really think that the habits of dailiness and daily routine that I’d been working on for fifteen odd years were what made the whole big declutter a more useful thing. It’s been years since my house has gotten more than fifteen minutes worth of messy, barring a party or something.
I may get to things a little quicker than before. I’m less tolerant of my surroundings being messy for a long period of time, so I do take five to put stuff away more regularly. But do I keep it perfect and pristine all the time?
Nope. And I’m cool with that.