Is the KonMari Method the Answer to Your Family’s Kalat?

There’s probably one thing that every #momlife has in common, dealing with family kalat or clutter. Clutter in the living room, clutter in our bedroom, clutter in the kid’s bedroom/play area – basically, clutter in every part of our home. Plus, let’s admit it, kids may be the smallest members of our family, but they tend to accumulate the most stuff – whether it’s ootd’s for different occasions, to all the Disney princesses or Lego sets, sooner or later, we find our home packed to the brim with our kiddos’ stuff.

Sound’s familiar? Well, if #momlife is synonymous to #momligpitkalat (SG/MY: #mommycleanup) for you and it’s beginning to get on your nerves, then read on about the organizing method/book that’s making waves on Instagram and a number of #momlife /lives out there – the KonMari Method.

What is the KonMari Method?

The “KonMari” Method is organizing consultant Marie Kondo’s method of simplifying and organizing the home. It led to her runaway bestseller book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” which currently enjoys a cult-like following, with fans proudly sharing before and after photos in social media.

Marie Kondo believes in doing one epic cleaning sweep. And a number of her popular cleaning “principles” include: “keeping only what sparks joy” (a line that has already been used in a number of pop culture references), discarding everything else, and assigning a home for everything within your home. Sounds good but it might be a little hard to implement for us moms, right? But in the name of getting rid of or even controlling our kalat (SG/MY: mess), we are willing to try anything. So here are a few KonMari principles that might be worth considering and doing for a clutter-free home and life:

Let go of things to make room for things that matter.

This is the first step in Kondo’s method and we think that this just doesn’t pertain to material objects. Kondo recommends that before we move anything in our home, we have to first visualize the life we want to have with a clutter-free space. And don’t just stop with seeing mess-free rooms and orderly closets, but rather look deeper and see what does a life without the mess mean for you? Does it mean more quality time spent with family? More art and play activities with the kids? More dinner parties with friends? Basically, things that have been set aside because we’re too busy dealing with our “messy” house. Kondo emphasizes that once we discard some things, we are freeing up space for the things we love.

Keep only the things that spark joy.

So what does this popular line really mean? Another step in Kondo’s method is to identify the things that “spark joy” for you and to do that, you have to pick it up (not look at it from afar), turn it over in your hands, and study it. How does this possession make you feel? And if you discard it forever, how would that make you feel?

Kondo acknowledges the “intuition” that things that spark true joy for you might not always be rational. For us moms, it might be our child’s first onesie, blanket, or even toy. It might be our first shirt during our first date with our husband, or our dress when we found out that we were pregnant. Kondo writes that “if you can say without a doubt, ‘I really like this!’ no matter what anyone else says, and if you like yourself for having it, then ignore what other people think.”

Tidy by category and not by location.

If you are like most households, then items of the same category might be stored in multiple places in your home. Kondo recommends that if you tackling your clothes, then you should take out every clothing item out of every closet and drawer in your whole home. While this may be problematic for moms with kids running all over the place, you can accomplish this by further minimizing the “categories.” So for our clothes example, you can de-clutter tops first – pull out all your tops first and work on them, which is easier than pulling out all your clothes in one go. Once you’ve decided on the items to keep and discard, you can then fold the keep file neatly back into your closet, and pack up the discard pile.

Treat your possessions as if they were alive.

This is a fairly odd concept, but no, it doesn’t mean that you have to talk to your items. This means that we should stop and consider how we treat our items on a daily basis: we sometimes just unceremoniously drop our clothes or bags on that chair in our bedroom, kick off our shoes near the door, or just pile up the books on one corner. These habits are often the cause of how homes become messy and how we misplace and lose track of our possessions. And this could best be prevented by better “respecting” our items for the use they provide us by sorting and storing them properly. Properly sorting and storing items means stowing them in a way that each can easily be seen and accessed at first glance and giving each item room to “breathe.” Basically, there should be a place for everything and everything in its place.

Your possessions reflect your state of mind.

Kondo says that we can’t let something go and hold onto things for one of two emotional reasons: a fear of the future or to preserve the past. A lot of moms might be guilty of the latter – keeping a lot of our kids’ firsts in order to preserve the past or how we felt during that time. There’s nothing wrong with that (especially if some items do really spark “joy” for us), but we should also remember that the present is more important. If holding on to these mementos from our past clutter our home and affect our daily living, then perhaps it is also time to let some of them go.

Lastly, Kondo encourages us to celebrate the present, which is perhaps her most important principle yet. Because in doing so can we only freely let go of our past’s clutter and recover our home. Goodluck mamas! Here’s to reclaiming power over our possessions, because they surely do not have power over us.

*Originally published in

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