How it worked for me: Mari Kondo method

More of Ellie’s Room  here

More of Ellie’s Room here

I used to live with a maximalism mind set. Having an aesthetic of excess and living by the “more is more” philosophy. I loved to layer, shift and change my surrounding areas and wardrobe as I saw fit at that given moment. I shopped, collected, and gathered in way that I thought brought me joy, until one day it simply didn’t. Way back in 2014 the home we lived in flooded while we were away. We were in the process of moving and the realtor who came to our house found water gushing out. My sweet papa jumped into action and worked with our insurance company to save what they could. Once we returned home and saw the damage I did not feel a moment of remorse or sadness, but of relief. Most of the things that we deemed important were already packed away and shifted to the only area of our home that did not flood. Between loosing a good chunk of what we owned, having our home repaired, and having to move into a much smaller home without closet space set me free from the “stuff” that overtook us. What was salvageable, but could not fit into our new rental we gave to all the folks that that were putting our home back together layer by layer. In the end I would say we only kept about a 1/2 of what we owned some by choice and some by circumstance. Once we settled into our new home I quickly realized that we still had too much. That was when Mari Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, came out. It quickly became a best seller and was making its way around the blogging world. I read it and then read it again. I started the process she speaks so highly of minus some of the steps I found a little fluffy at the time. I donated and sold what I could. That included all the things that did not have a place or have a direct need. My clothing that once barely fit into a walk in closet was paired down to two ikea Pax closets. All the things that used to float around our home all got paired into places that made sense. Gift wrapping all went into a rubbermaid that fit under our bed, all electronic wires lived in a basket so not one ever disappeared again, the kids toys that were actually kept were grouped and labeled into bins making playing and picking up easier. I felt like I was starting to finally feel free of the need for more stuff. Fast forward a couple of years and we bought our current home, ready to make roots in the community that became dear to us. As I packed I continued to purge. When we moved in, I continued to purge. My two pax’s filled with clothing dwindled down to a mere two feet of space in our closet. We have empty cupboards and empty closets now. I no longer had to buy items to organize better, because with less stuff their was more space. The things in our attic consist only of Christmas decor and luggage minus a few electronic boxes kept for warranty purposes. Do I now live a minimalist life style, no way! What it did create in me, is that I no longer fill my home with things just for the sake of it. I now am conscious of my purchases and ask myself if this new item really would improve my life in any way or is it just because I happen to be in the mood to shop. Have I faltered from this method, of course. The brilliant thing is though that since every item has a spot we know exactly where it goes and makes family cleaning time go so much faster. There is no “mom, where does this go” or “mom, where is this” any longer. There are days when rooms become a mess and we don’t have the time to put it all away, but it no longer becomes a snowball effect of piles of useless things. I am feeling a spur to do the whole Mari Kondo method once again after watching her new Netflix show. What I once deemed as fluff such as thanking my discarded items now makes more sense after hearing her sweet self explain it. I know there are areas that can be purged once again. The kitchen for one, as I am sure there must be some expired items that made the way to the back of the cabinet and I am certain we no longer need so many casserole dishes as our way of eating has shifted greatly the last few years. I also know my son’s art supplies have gotten out of control as has his drawers. This is somewhere that I need to shift the method into one that works for him. I believe we will try separating his items into school clothes and sports clothes to see if that helps. What I do know it that Ellie would get a standing ovation for the way she has kept her drawers over the last couple of years. Mari Kondo’s method really did work for us and has helped me keep on top of the chaos that holding onto all the extra brought me. I have found having less options in my closet, only keeping the beauty and home products that we actually use, and so on has really benefited us for the long run. In the words of Ellie while out shopping for clothes after a growth spurt, “mom, I now have what I need and what I will actually wear so we can stop now.”

A few of my favorite Mari Kondo tidying methods ~

  • take everything out of every closet and drawer

    • this really helped me see what I have and what I do and do not actually use

    • it was eye opening the first time and lead me to be more intentional with my future buys

  • only keep what sparks joy

    • this freed me from holding onto things, just because. I now am grateful to let things go. As I now know there may be someone who “sparks joy” with the item I no longer was hoarding away.

  • make it a family project

    • having the kids participate in their own rooms really got them thinking on what they need and don’t need any longer. Now during purge days, as they out grow clothing and play things, I can hand them a bag or bin and they do it themselves. The most surprising thing is that they actually look forward to planned purge days!

    • Some areas I do the method myself, but when it comes to putting the kept items into place I have the kids help me. This way they know where the designated spot is and I am sure that the new place works for the whole family.

  • imaging my ideal lifestyle

    • One of our family values is that our door is always open. Using this method means even if the house is in what I deem a disarray it is rarely so much so that I would not second guess an unexpected knock on the door. Although, I don’t mind a text so I can be sure to not have my pj’s on still.

    • Another desire is that our home is full of peace. Having a tidy home does not equal peace in any form, but having a tidy home brings peace of mind to me and in turn leads to a more peaceful environment for us all.

    • We love to travel, but the getting there process was always so hard. Now everyone knows what they have and what they use daily so packing and unpacking is a cinch. Without excess it makes decision making quick and effective.

    • Another value is to love people through inviting those in for a family meal. We host often and love it. Through this method we stopped buying food in bulk as we saw that in the end we were wasting so much. Now we shop once a week for what we will need and this in turn makes our family meals more intentional for not only us, but the others we invite in. For us intentional meals often do not equate fancy or time consuming. Sometimes a quick pot of chili with corn muffins is all that is needed, in the end it’s the conversation around the table that makes the night sweet.

Have you tried the Mari Kondo method? Have any take aways that really help? I would love to hear.

Want to know more about her process…


The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing {for me reading sticks with my soul more so than a show}

Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up {the practical side of the first book with how to’s such as how we fold t-shirts}

The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up: A Magical Story {her newest book that I haven’t read as of yet, seems like it could be a fun quick read though}


Tidying Up with Mari Kondo


Kon Mari {her website and blog}