Last summer, I learned about Marie Kondo’s method of organizing, called Konmari. Since then, it seems like “Konmari-ing” your home and decluttering have become even more mainstream, though I have to admit, I’ve fallen off the wagon.
Here’s how I describe Konmari to others. It’s an organizing and decluttering method that is focused on looking at what you have and deciding whether or not you love it. Marie Kondo tells you to ask “Does this bring you joy?” Here’s how I did it. The first category you’re supposed to tackle is your clothing. Kondo tells you to get out all your clothes and pile them up somewhere. I did not do this. Instead, I tackled my clothes in categories. Workout clothes, work clothes, casual clothes, etc. But I did follow the rule of piling it all up. For example, I pulled out all of my workout shirts. I looked at each one and decided whether or not I loved it. Not what it cost me, not how often I wore it, but whether or not I liked owning it. If it was something that I didn’t wear often but I loved, it was staying. If it was something I wore all the time just because I happened to grab it out of the closet but I didn’t really like it, it was going.
It is amazing how much clothing I got rid of in this manner. And I like the method because she doesn’t say “If you never wear it, get rid of it.” She admits that we may have items that have significant sentimental value, and that’s okay. You’re allowed to have a comfy t-shirt with holes that you love to wear around the house.
And no, you can’t say “Hey, I’m in high school, and I’m doing Konmari and I hate my school uniform, so since it doesn’t bring me joy, I’m getting rid of it.” No, there are things you have to keep.
So I got through my clothes and then sort of fell off the wagon. After all, clothes were relatively easy and I knew what to do with what I got rid of. Finally, I got back to it. The next category was books, and this was a hard one. I have trouble getting rid of books. But I managed to pull together three large boxes of books to be donated.
Next up? Paper. Now, paper is a bit different, in that there’s not as much of it that I love, but there’s a lot of it that needs to be kept. Tax paperwork, insurance paperwork, etc. But how much of it do you actually need to keep? One thing’s for sure, I didn’t need to be keeping bank statements from college. I shredded many, many bags of old paperwork and have managed to whittle down my filing significantly.
It’s really amazing what we keep around because we think we might need it someday. And don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of reusing things to save money. Old washcloths become rags. Old sheets get used to cover up the guest bed for easy removal of cat fur when guests arrive. But at some point, we start to have significantly more than we need. I went through the house and collected up all of the various cleaning supplies I had squirreled away in different cabinets and realized that I had purchased duplicates of many different things. Now, there’s nothing wrong with keeping a bottle of toilet cleaner in every bathroom if you want, but you should know that those bottles are there, and I did not. Now I know what I have and won’t be buying anything new until I’m sure I need it.
I also made sure to keep my receipts on everything I donated to make sure that I got the tax deduction. It was more work on my part, writing down all the items of clothing, and it’s not a step everyone is willing to take, but it was certainly worth it for me.
Now that I’ve gotten the big categories out of the way (clothing, books, and paper), I’m going to start tackling things in whatever order I choose. Next up, I think I’m going after the kitchen. If nothing else, I know the plasticware cabinet could use some thinning. And who gets joy out of scratched up old plastic containers?
Megan is a 40-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.
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