My KonMari Clean Up One Year Later

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Here’s what worked for me – and what didn’t work – after a year of following Marie Kondo’s KonMari method of organization from the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

 About a year ago, I bought a copy of the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo because I was intrigued by the first sentence:

In this book, I have summed up how to put your space in order in a way that will change your life forever.


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I’ve fallen for organization books before, but this one felt different and it was taking the Internet by the storm at the time so I thought I’d give it a try.

To my astonishment, I fell in love with precise little Marie Kondo and her unusual ideas about how keeping only those possessions that spark joy and discarding all others (after thanking them for their service, of course.) I ended up following Marie on far more of her process than I would have ever anticipated and I plan to continue with the process throughout this year as well. (She recommends to do everything all at once but I know of literally no one who has done that. I think it would have taken me a full two weeks of 8 hour days to complete the process in one go.)

I focused on the two areas the caused me the most pain: my bedroom and my kitchen. I also tenderly moved into my books while remembering that surrounding myself with books, in itself, brings me joy.

I’m going to share what I’ve learned in this past year and what’s worked for me and what hasn’t, but first, let’s just review how much I needed some type of help with organization by looking at the before picture I posted on the Internet for the world to see.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

It’s been well over a year since I woke up to a closet like that. And now I’m appropriately horrified by the sight of it.

And this is my closet today with only minimal, “I’m going to take pictures so I’ll turn the hangers facing the same way” improvements.


This is what I see pretty much every day now.

Marie Kondo promises that anyone who goes completely through her process has never backslid; that following her method causes a permanent change. In her new book, Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up, she defines not backsliding as having a place for everything and being able to put everything away in 30 minutes if company is coming over. I’ve more than surpassed that standard and in this past year, I’ve learned to experience a new type of joy: that of reaching for a shirt in my closet or tool in my kitchen and finding it just where I thought it would be on a regular basis. It’s a pleasant, satisfying experience.

Here’s a quick overview of what has worked for me and what hasn’t.

What Worked: Have a Picture in Mind of the Final Goal

I realized that the pictures in magazines that spoke to me and gave me peaceful, joyous feelings were open, airy spaces and yet I tended to keep tons of stuff. Then I needed storage furniture to keep my stuff! I finally realized

What Worked – Keep Only That Which Sparks Joy

Marie Kondo emphasizes that when you’re going through the discarding process, you’re not looking at what to discard, you’re looking at what to keep. What actually gives you pleasure? If you can’t say absolutely yes to this, then don’t keep it. The goal is to find yourself surrounded only by the things you love. I took to this goal so enthusiastically that we discarded several pieces of furniture, including our dining table.

What Worked – A Place for Everything and Everything in its Place

My major kitchen reorganization took much longer than I thought it would for a couple of reasons: touching every item in the kitchen to see if it sparked joy was time-consuming, and determining where things should return to once I took everything out took at least twice as long as I thought it would. However, once I found a good place for each item, I finally discovered the pleasure of having a well-defined place for every item and six months after my big kitchen reorganization, things are still in place. Such a delight.

What Worked – Folding My Jeans and Sweaters and even my Socks

My jeans and sweaters and even my socks and tights looked neater and were easier to find in my drawer folded vertically using the KonMari method. By the way, the best resource I’ve seen for how to fold things using the KonMari Method is this one from Goop. And here’s a tip from me: fold things tightly. You want your little clothing packet to be able to stand up on its own.

What Didn’t Work for Me – Folding My T-Shirts

I dutifully folded my t-shirts for almost 9 months before I got out my summer clothes this year and decided, like a rebellious daughter trying out her own ideas for the first time, to hang up my t-shirts in the closet! Even folded vertically, it was difficult to tell which t-shirt was which and who could tell between my long-sleeve black t-shirt, my short-sleeved black t-shirt, and my black tank top? Hanging up, arranged by type and color, I can easily tell what’s what. Marie Kondo actually gives permission to break her rules in Spark Joy if that feels right to us and even adds:

Even if you make a mistake, your house isn’t going to blow up

So, that’s a comfort.

How about you? Have you tried any of the KonMari methods? What’s worked for you? What haven’t you liked?


Get a free 34-page workbook filled with tips, videos and checklists to help you throughout your KonMari journey. Download it now and get started!

It’s on the way! Check your email for your free workbook!

You’ll also receive the Midlife Rambler weekly newsletter where you’ll be the first to hear about new freebies. Unsubscribe at any time.

My KonMari Clean Up One Year Later 2

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6 thoughts on “My KonMari Clean Up One Year Later”

  1. I’m in the process of doing a massive empty nester decluttering — and documenting it on my blog to help make me accountable. It’s fun to read about someone who’s done it and what it’s like a year later. There’s hope! (Don’t think I could fold my shirts that way, either! ) But getting rid of things that don’t bring you joy is cathartic.

  2. One thing I do is make a plain tag out of a 3X5 card. I cut it into 3 pieces and put a hole in the top. Whenever I wear something or wash it, I put it on a hanger with a tag. At the end of the season, the clothes with no tags get donated except the holiday or special outfits that I wear to parties or on cruises and just didn’t have an opportunity to wear it.

  3. I used the “work by category, not by room” concept earlier this week with satisfying results. The category was “cleaning supplies” which I unearthed in some very odd locations. Pasta, tomato sauce and Windex: which item does not belong?

    I got every last can, bottle, box, rag and tool in one place –a real mess. Then I returned everything that belongs to the bathrooms and the kitchen (one each) to their proper place. All the multi-purpose items went (one each) in a crate with handles. The overflow, including enough Lemon Pledge to dust Buckingham Palace, went into one cupboard so I can work down inventory.

    I can’t say that Kaboom Bathroom Cleaner by itself gives me joy but having just enough readily at hand to take care of chores most definitely does.

    • That’s so great Mandy. We did something similar a while back with our cleaning supplies and found the same situation with pledge. What’s up with that? One can upstairs, one can downstairs, one can in the kitchen… We finally ended up donating a huge portion of them and keeping just the minimum where they are needed. And you’re right – it’s a strange form of joy!


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