Konmari-ing my house

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One of the things that I struggle with the most at the moment is maintaining a balance between getting work done and keeping the house clean and tidy.

Anyone with small kids will probably understand why this is such a challenge. I can spend 2 hours tidying the house and then the kids will get back and 5 minutes later the place is completely trashed.

In the midst of my struggle I read the book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo (shortened to Konmari in that way that is so ubiquitous in Asian languages).

I’m guessing you’ve heard of this book by now – strange that a book about tidying should have so many rave reviews and become a best seller but if you read it, you’ll probably understand why.

How you store items is a big part of the Konmari method, particularly clothing. There is even a special folding technique for clothes that I have to say I am still following months later, which is a pretty big deal.

Shoes are also a problem for us – we all have several pairs and they take up a lot of space. We used to have a plastic shoe rack but it was ugly and impractical. So after researching some shoe storage ideas I realised we could use a wooden bench with a shelf underneath, which not only looks much nicer but also provides an extra seat.

Another main aspect of the Konmari method is getting rid of your stuff. Rather than the usual “If you’ve not used it for a year it has to go” method, Konmari recommends only keeping items in your home that make you happy.

I’m actually a big fan of de-cluttering, I find it rather freeing. I believe we can be really held down by our possessions and getting rid of a good portion of them opens up space both physically and metaphorically to let new and better things into your life.

Now de-cluttering when you’ve got kids, that’s a different story. The toys had begun to take over the house. It was getting silly. So one afternoon, sick of yet another time-wasting tidying session, I put 80% of the toys in a room upstairs that we don’t use. I left the doll house, maya’s baby dolls, some animal figurines and Kiran’s cars.

Well I have to say this was rather a success. Rather than missing the rest of their toys, the kids hardly noticed they’d gone. Even better, they played more creatively with the toys that were left and each toy became multi-purpose.

So I have to say Konmari gets a big thumbs up from me and it’s definitely worth reading the book. I’m hoping for a less cluttered, cleaner house and less time spent tidying up in the future!

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