The konmari method: the life-changing magic of tidy

We are about to let out our flat on airbnb for a couple of weeks so I have been trying to look at each of the rooms through the eyes of our guests and getting rid of as much stuff as possible (you probably know by now that this is a constant narrative in my life!). If I invited you round for tea, you would probably say that I have a very tidy home. Usually there aren’t random piles of clutter here, there and everywhere and only one bowl of random bits, which sits on the hallway table. However, dark secrets lie behind a lot of my cupboard doors: the hallway cupboards, the wardrobes, the kitchen cupboards. Dark, dark secrets. Unfortunately, airbnb guests need to use these cupboards so there’s nowhere to hide!

The truth is that I’m not very good at keeping on top of my cupboards and I think this is because each one is full to its capacity, which means every time I want to use something from one of them, negotiating how to get the item in and out is like a Crystal Maze challenge. The bottom line is that we have too much stuff. When I first bought my flat five years ago I lived here alone and my cupboards functioned well but when Jules moved in just a few months later we didn’t add enough extra storage space to accommodate all of his stuff.

I am definitely one of those people that suffers as a result of disorder; I can’t concentrate and I’m not particularly productive in messy surroundings. Even if the room I am in is beautifully tidy and clutter free, if I know the cupboards are disorganised it puts me on edge (sad, I know). When I did my bedroom makeover a couple of months ago I cleared so much clutter out of the room, which felt amazing. However, I didn’t get round to sorting out the wardrobes and drawers so even though the room looked lovely and calm on the surface, unrest was lurking below.

Bedroom makeover | Apartment Apothecary

Bedroom makeover | Apartment Apothecary

And then everything changed when I watched this brilliant video by Heather about the KonMari method of decluttering…

Marie Kondo’s ‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying’ claims that: “The KonMari Method will not just transform your space. Once you have your house in order you will find that your whole life will change. You can feel more confident, you can become more successful, and you can have the energy and motivation to create the life you want.” She has a mile-long waiting list of people desperate for her services so there must be something in it, right?

Marie Kondo suggests that you don’t tackle a room at a time, but rather you divide your belongings into categories. So, I gave the KonMari method a go with our clothes, bags, coats and shoes. Stage one involved gathering every item from around the house – from the wardrobes, drawers, hallway cupboards, shoe box, hooks on backs of doors and underbed storage.

KonMari method of decluttering | Apartment Apothecary

Completely terrifying!

KonMari method of decluttering | Apartment Apothecary

I also cleared out the under bed storage cases we have filled with clothes and added those to the pile on my bed. Otto promptly jumped into the storage case and fell fast asleep.

Stage two involved sorting through everything and trying to get rid of as much of possible. You are advised to hold up each item and decide whether or not it sparks joy – if it does, you keep it, if it doesn’t you thank it for its service and get rid of it. I worked through the shoes first, the bags next, Jules’s clothes after that and then mine. I managed to fill seven bin bags full of clothes, hats, shoes, jackets and bags that we no longer need, don’t wear or were worn out. I took three bags to the charity shop, I put one bag’s worth on eBay (I made £700!), offered one bag’s worth to my sisters and mum and two bags were recycled.

Stage three was all about putting the remaining clothes back into the wardrobe and drawers but in a considered way. I managed to use thirty fewer hangers (so you can imagine how cramped our wardrobe was before this) and the KonMari method is all about hanging the heaviest, longest items from the left to the right.

KonMari method of decluttering | Apartment Apothecary

I need to paint the inside of my wardrobe now it’s all nice and organised.

Watch Heather’s video to see how to fold clothes in the KonMari way – WHY HAVE I NOT BEEN DOING THIS MY WHOLE LIFE??? I can finally see my clothes and fit soooo much more in to each drawer.

KonMari method of decluttering | Apartment Apothecary

All in all the process took me about four or five hours. You may think it is an over statement but I genuinely do feel that the KonMari method of tidying and decluttering has the potential to be life changing for me, which I will discuss more in a future post as I have already become aware of subtle differences just tackling the clothes category has made. I am a convert – thank you to Heather for her video that motivated me to get started! I have moved on since I wrote this post to do my kitchenalia and I will post again next month to give you my thoughts on just how life changing it has been.

What do you think?

Katy x

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  1. 10th August 2015 / 8:53 am

    Having spent yesterday afternoon trying to get all the clothes away I think I need to use this method on my son’s clothes. He’s 13 months and has a crazy amount of clothes! Especially as he’s in between two sizes at the moment. I’ll also use it on my clothes too.

  2. 10th August 2015 / 9:22 am

    Brilliant post. This looks amazing. This is what I NEED to do. The thought of it is entirely overwhelming but I think required…ASAP. I’ll keep you posted! Thank you xx

  3. 10th August 2015 / 1:53 pm

    Brilliant post, Katy. I’m so with you on how unsettled I feel even if a room is tidy, but if cupboards aren’t. It’s like I have X-ray eyes and can just picture the clutter which lies behind the doors! Love love the KonMari folding method – definitely going to put it into practice.

    Ruth x

    ps – any tips of how I can ditch B’s old clutter / clothes without being told off?! 😉

    • Katy
      4th September 2015 / 11:19 am

      So, I did it for Jules, without telling him. Once I had got the clothes together that I thought he should get rid of and re-oragnised his side of the wardrobe and drawers, I showed him the results. I then showed him the bag of stuff I wanted to get rid of. Surprisingly, I think because it had all been done for him and he s=could see the positive results, he only objected to two or three things I had put in the ‘get rid of’ bag. He then even pulled out a few more things from the wardrobe to get rid of. I was genuinely amazed because he is usually a hoarder. If I had asked him to do it with me he would have point blank refused and told me that i wasn’t allowed to get rid of any of his stuff so my tactic worked xx

  4. 10th August 2015 / 4:02 pm

    I spotted this on someones feed and have been uhmming ad ahhing at whether to purchase it. It was delivered a few weeks ago and I’m just trying got find the time to get really stuck in to it. This has really made me want to so I think it will become bed time reading now!

    I have bee on a decluttering mission for the last 2 years and I’m finding it’s been such a burden holding on to ‘stuff’. I recently emptied my attic and have started selling some of the stuff, as well as 12 Ikea bags to charity plus some odds and ends of furniture and half a dozen bin bags for the recycling. I think the folding and organising will be invaluable as I’m already finding my brain is able to cope better. I’ve had ‘projects’ I’ve been wanting to tackle for years which I’ve finally managed to do these past 2 weekends! De cluttering is life changing, as daft as that might sound, but when tackling illness and family life and work I really think it all matters.

    Thanks for sharing this… I’m excited 🙂

    • Katy
      4th September 2015 / 11:20 am

      Could not agree more, Cat!! x

  5. 10th August 2015 / 6:13 pm

    Amazing, I need to do this right away, I loved Heathers video, and your post has finally tipped me over! 🙂

  6. 11th August 2015 / 11:48 am

    Love, love, love this post! The drawer folding thing is just so amazing – it makes packing to go away so much easier too. Thankyou so much for sharing my video – I’m still folding but have lost momentum on the decluttering. You’ve inspired me to get the ball rolling again as soon as the summer hols are over 🙂

  7. 11th August 2015 / 8:45 pm

    Brilliant….and loved Heather’s video too! This has been on my radar for months, and without being too woo-woo, it has admittedly changed my life! Look forward to hearing how you get on with the kitchenalia x

  8. Farah
    11th August 2015 / 10:54 pm

    I loved this post! Totally inspired to give it a go.

  9. 12th August 2015 / 8:55 am

    My Mum always says I’m all top show and I sooo am! I have inside of my cupboard fear too. I’ve started the one new thing in one old thing out but I really do need to try your method. The thought of piling all of it on my bed makes me come out in a cold sweat at the moment so I think I’m going to have to build up to this one!!


  10. 19th August 2015 / 1:26 am

    i just blogged about this very book today myself! It was wonderful straightening out my closets..I felt so happy about it I am up to the challenge of attacking the rest of the house. You must love opening your closets now!

    • Katy
      4th September 2015 / 11:21 am

      Oh, I must check out your post, Amy x

  11. 20th August 2015 / 12:56 pm

    YES! I’ve been doing this since we moved out of London 2 years ago, and the last unexpected house move in October led to yet MORE decluttering. I am in the middle of the book now and there is a hell of a lot more stuff to get rid of. I’ve found that once you start, you can’t stop! it’s like peeling layers of an onion back. You do a big declutter and it feels GREAT! than you start seeing superfluous crap elsewhere and peel another layer back. And you just keep peeling and peeling back- or discarding as Kon Marie puts it. Anyway, totally with you on how good it feels!

  12. 22nd August 2015 / 10:37 pm

    I definitely need to give this a go! We moved from a 2 bed terrace last year to a 4 bed semi with a double garage and we are somehow bursting at the seams. I’m positive 90% of it is unnecessary!

  13. krissyd
    27th August 2015 / 6:04 pm

    Wow! Great post! I will be trying this! Thanks Katy.

  14. 29th August 2015 / 10:58 am

    Good for you, it’s amazing what we can remove if we focus only on what to keep. I loved reading the Marie Kondo book, although I was a little sad when I reached the end. She is such a sweetie. 🙂

  15. 31st August 2015 / 6:27 am

    I’ve just finished the book and was reading it whilst we were moving, it really helped me with packing up the last bits and I’m sure I got rid of far more because of it. I can’t wait to reunite all our things that are in storage, and scattered around various family members homes just so I can sort and declutter! I love the shot of your drawers of folded clothes! So motivated!

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