I’ve always been tidy and organised. I remember when I was around 9 or 10 filling plastic bags with toys and gadgets I no longer used, storing them in the attic or dropping them off at charity shops with my mum when I was done. As a child I was a natural at decluttering!
Years later, when I moved from home to my first apartment I began unpacking all of my worldly possessions - I brought every single item I owned, from everywhere! But a funny thing happened during that big move; things I once loved suddenly didn’t fit into my new life or space. I also had my husband’s things to fit in and organise too. That’s when I came across the book ‘Clear your Clutter with Feng Shui’ by Karen Kinston while browsing the bookshelves in Hodges Figgis. Once I’d finished reading it I did a huge overhaul of all of our things. I remember filling a big green suitcase with over a hundred books, some hardback, all beautiful, but every book had been read, and when they wouldn’t fit in wardrobes or on shelves I knew they would find a better home somewhere else. As a huge book lover it was very unlike me to do something like that, but I distinctly remember when I’d dropped them off at the secondhand bookshop feeling so energised and light.
Three years later we moved again, this time to a house overlooking a big green field, where our new arrival, due the following month, would be able to play outside and hopefully make lifelong friends. Again, during the move we pared back more of our things, and had a clean space to begin our lives as new parents.
But as soon as our baby was born things suddenly got cluttered. Being a new mum is filled with so many changes. As my home got messier so did my mind. I know babies come with lots of things but the mess wasn’t just from the extra objects that inevitably arrived too. I wasn’t able to stay on top of being organised the way I once could. And although somebody visiting my home would probably think it was neat and tidy, I knew that behind cupboard doors and inside drawers it was chaotic.
Slowly it started to really get to me. My once organised and decluttered home gradually began turning into a place where clutter collected and grew. What I needed to do was a big overhaul; so I did. It was great for a while but steadily clutter started to build up again. And even though it was better, it still wasn’t exactly right. I still had more than I needed, and I could never find that ‘thing’ I was looking for. With everything that was going on at the time - a part-time job, looking after a toddler and staying on top of the day-to-day activities, I just didn’t have time, energy or headspace to stay organised and keep everything in check like I once did.
Then, after a few years of endless tidying and moving stuff around, I was given a book as a gift. Like the old proverb, the teacher appeared. The book was called ‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying’ by Marie Kondo and when I finished reading it I knew exactly what I had to do to turn things around.
I followed the method meticulously. Starting with clothes, I worked my way through my wardrobes and drawers discarding items with tired fabrics that no longer looked their best. From hats, scarves and jumpers, down to almost threadbare socks I’d had for years. I went through every single item, decluttering and organising as I went. By the end I was left with a beautifully organised space, with clothes I could easily access and see. And everything I now owned I either absolutely loved or absolutely needed.
The clarity and energy I felt afterwards gave me such a lift. And once I’d finished tidying my clothing I got started on the next category, books. After that, I was hooked, and determined to complete all five categories. Within several weeks, and after multiple trips to charity shops, our home was completely transformed and had a completely different vibe and energy. It felt lighter, happier, and so did I. Everything in it was completely pared back, every single item was neatly organised and every corner of our home was clean, clear and clutter free. I knew exactly what we had in our house, where everything was and where everything belonged when it wasn’t in use. The KonMari method of decluttering and organising described in the book turned my home into a place I loved spending time in - with my family, with friends, and the rare times when the house was quiet, by myself.
Don’t get me wrong, my home could almost always do with a lot more cleaning, and it gets messy every single day. But it’s quick and easy to put everything back in order. And because I now have fewer things, and know exactly where every item belongs, I no longer spend hours tidying after busy days. A quick run around at the end of the day, or every so often throughout the day puts everything back in its place and gives me that calm, serenity and peace of mind I’ve needed since becoming a mum.
There are so many layers at the heart of the KonMari experience. There is the calm, joy and clarity you get from an organised space. There’s the confidence you gain from making decisions about which items to discard and which to keep, there’s the extra money you save by not repurchasing things you already own just because you can’t find them. There is the heightened feeling of gratitude towards your home and your life. But there’s also a journey of self discovery rooted in there too.
“More than tidying, the KonMari method changes how we look at our possessions, at ourselves and at our lives. It has the ability to help us understand who we are and how we want to live our lives”
The life-changing magic is different for everyone, for some it could lead to starting a new career, for others it might mean going from living in a home surrounded by clutter to living a more minimalist lifestyle.
The organised and clean space I gained after applying the KonMari method to my home felt amazing, but for me, the most unexpected and meaningful benefit was this: it helped me to merge together becoming a parent with the person I was before I became a mum. Going through every single item in my home, digging up treasures buried under a mountain of stuff, from my three boy’s belongings to my own childhood memories, all made a huge impact. After becoming a parent you can often lose sight of yourself a little bit. You have so much going on that it can sometimes be hard to connect with the person you once were. The connection I felt to my past, to my present and to the endless possibilities of the future was the life changing magic for me.