If you've read 'The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up', you may remember that Marie boasted an absolute zero rebound rate after helping her clients tidy up their homes (although in her second book, she does admit that there is now one client - a participant in her TV show - who went back to their messy ways). I was personally extremely skeptical about that perfect score; how many times have you discarded unloved items and reorganized your drawers only to find them reverting to their cluttered selves only a couple weeks later?
However, this time I must have done something differently - I can honestly say that since my large tidying up session a year ago, I have kept probably about 90% of my possessions organized and clutter-free. I still struggle with some trouble spots; leaving dishes in the kitchen sink instead of putting them directly into the dishwasher, amassing piles of mail in the doorway, draping clothes over chairs; but all in all, my home remains quite neat and tidy.
2. Have you replaced the discarded items with new things?
Generally speaking, no, I haven't. I've decided to upgrade a few things - mostly cooking utensils, some basic layering tops - but I haven't been shopping much at all. It's been one of the things I've been very conscious of, because I really didn't want to fill all those carefully organized drawers with stuff again, and I wanted to prove to myself that all the extra things I used to own were just that - extraneous. And it worked.
3. Why did you need to do another round of decluttering? Shouldn't you have done it just once and for all, in 'one fell swoop', like in the KonMari method?
Well, yes, if I was following Marie's advice more closely, I definitely should have been able to do just one big decluttering marathon and be done with it ever since. HOWEVER. When I first purged our stuff before moving to our current apartment, I got rid of a lot of stuff, but I did not get rid of everything that didn't 'spark joy'. Things that I was hesitant about, things that I've had 'just in case', things I wasn't crazy about that I had bought or been given not too long ago - I kept all of it at that point. Why?
|Bags of stuff we donated to Goodwill on Saturday: mostly clothing, books, some kitchen stuff.|
Another aspect is that as time goes on, our perspective may change, and consequently our enjoyment or our decisions about the usefulness of things, may change as well. I think I will probably now always be vigilant about weeding out clutter, and I'll continue to do a larger purging session about once a year. It just sounds reasonable to me.
4. Has your husband joined you in tidying up?
Uhm, I wish. I love my husband dearly, but a) he's not naturally a tidy person, b) he has a tendency for hoarding. What saves us from drowning in clutter is that I balance him out with my OCD of having everything neatly put away and organized, and the fact that he hates shopping in actual stores - although Amazon browsing is a danger zone. He doesn't see a problem in clothing sprawled on the floor, overstuffed closets, books no longer being able to fit in our bookcase - and when I ask 'Can we get rid of this?', he usually counters by 'But why?! It's perfectly fine!'.
So yes, dealing with my husband's things is a bit of a challenge, and instead of this being his problem alone if he can't find a specific pair of socks or can't put away his laundry in a drawer, the problem is purely mine - I do all the laundry and I put it away, I strive to keep our books tidy on the shelves, I despair over a full closet where I can't see anything. The gist of the issue is that I care, and he doesn't. I wish it were different, but it's not, and it's most likely not going to change. So.
All that being said, I haven't had to resort to secretly discarding his stuff, and we've so far avoided a huge argument over keeping or throwing away a particular T-shirt. Most of the time, I let it go. If I truly think some stuff needs to go, I'll ask nicely if I can donate it, and if he doesn't want me to, I'll ask nicely again. And again, lol. I think that he has started to realize that the space in our apartment is limited, and if he wants 10 new programming books, or a new bike, or a hiking jacket, something else needs to go.
5. Has tidying up your home brought more joy to your life?
Yes!!! Two main aspects have contributed to my feeling happier at home - firstly, my level of anxiety has gone down, and secondly, I've been more motivated and able to focus on other areas of my life that are important to me.
Seeing a cluttered living room and kitchen first thing in the morning definitely makes me feel grumpier and less energetic, and consequently I do NOT look foward to the day, regardless of what I have planned. But getting up and seeing all the things I love put away where they belong, or clean and uncluttered counters in the kitchen, makes me feel more peaceful, and optimistic, and grateful for the new day. Really, the difference is night and day - you should try it!
Those tidy kitchen counters, and an organized fridge well stocked with supplies for the week, also makes me more motivated to prepare tasty meals and try new recipes. We only eat out about once every two or three weeks, and I'm responsible for all the home cooking - I'm also quite passionate about eating well (I like good food, people), and about eating right (clean, unprocessed food, lots of full grains, lean proteins and veggies). This resposibility of planning and executing our meals every day can get boring and repetitive really fast, but having a clean, well designed space that's peaceful and inviting makes it feel so much less of a chore. I may show you our kitchen some time, if you're interested - but cooking has been much more pleasant and enjoyable once I've sorted our space out. I've even started baking some quick and easy desserts again. Who would have thought?
Alright, I think I've waxed lyrical about tidying for long enough now. I AM still planning to show you our small walk-in closets, and like I said, maybe some of our kitchen cupboards and drawers if you're curious. Have any of you been inspired to declutter or change your storage after reading Marie Kondo's book? I find looking at other people's closets and storage spaces absolutely fascinating - you can see a tour of Claire's lovely closet and drawers here - they look beautiful, don't you think?