Kiss Your Clutter Goodbye! (With or Without Marie Kondo)

Photo of jeans folded and placed upright in drawer. Marie Kondo's KonMari method
Folded jeans: Marie Kondo’s KonMari method (sort of)

Have you ever watched the show, Hoarders? What about binge-watching the series to scare yourself into throwing things out? Well, on the opposite end of hoarding is minimalism. There’s even a show for that. Then there is Marie Kondo’s book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up…

But what about an in-between solution for those of us who are ready to gain some order and space, but aren’t ready for, or don’t want to go to extreme measures? Even organized people need help when going through a big life change such as a divorce, a new member of the household, a move or job change.

The Best Organizing System

As I packed for a trip to see my parents, I carefully folded my pink Life is Good t-shirt using the KonMari method, folding it in thirds so the neck opening is tucked inside but I can still see the front of the shirt. I add it to the neat stack of clothing in my rolling bag.

The socks are a different story. I match them up and roll them like little potatoes, securing them by folding the tops over each pair, then toss them into a corner of the bag. According to Marie Kondo, I am torturing them, wearing out the elastic and not letting them breathe. But my colorful ankle socks tell me they are happy this way, together and secure, like swaddled babies. And by the time the elastic is worn out,  the heels will have holes and I will drop them unceremoniously into the wastebasket. This works for me.

Marie Kondo’s methods aren’t for everyone. I like emptying out my purse or wallet, mindfully putting back needed and useful items, but this often happens while going through a car wash, before a trip, or while waiting for someone. Not every day.  I love her method for folding clothes. It’s great for packing so that articles of clothing can be retrieved without messing up the rest. However, that’s where I stop.

My first clothing purge involved two glasses of wine, ’70’s rock and a goal of weeding out 50 pieces of clothing. Well, I ended up donating 51 pieces: I accidentally gave away my favorite pair of jeans. So now I omit the wine.

For some people, micro-organizing methods such as Kondo’s KonMari method, work well. But for others, this is a recipe for failure. My clients with ADHD and OCD have attempted micro-organizing, but when they couldn’t do it perfectly, did nothing or gave up early in the process. I think you can kiss your clothes goodbye, with, or without Marie Kondo. I use a combination of systems that work for me and you can too.

Changing your Organizing Mindset

As with many important goals to achieve, and obstacles to overcome, downsizing, rightsizing, decluttering and organizing requires a change in mindset. My clients reach out to me when they are ready. Whether motivated by one of those big life changes mentioned earlier in this piece, another missed deadline or lost car keys, the “pain” of their current, disorganized state finally outweighs the “pain” of change and making improvements.

Like most baby boomers, I have stuff. Stuff I bought. Stuff from my grandparents. Stuff I bought my child. Stuff I think I’m going to leave my child.

When I divorced in 2013, I had to sort through boxes of stuff. Books. Christmas decor. Kitchenware. And I could no longer avoid the dreaded attic. Every downsizing and moving task involved a decision. It was exhausting and overwhelming. Still, every Saturday morning for two months, I’d sit in the garage to rummage through boxes of stuff and memories.

Occasionally I’d find something of my daughter’s or something I thought she’d like to have. My daughter was living on her own, and when I went to visit her, I’d bring along a few things I thought she’d want. Sometimes I’d leave a bag on her porch. Eventually, she would no longer open the door for me. Instead, she would slip outside, shut the door behind her and insist on seeing whatever I had behind my back. “MOMMM!” she’d admonish, “I don’t want it and I don’t need it! I have enough stuff.

Baby boomers, listen up! Your kids don’t want your stuff! My daughter’s reaction to my well-meaning, but unwanted “gifts” changed my mindset for hanging on to anything I don’t need, use or love.

How a Professional Organizer Can Help

So, should we organize things or throw everything out? Professional organizers don’t make you throw everything out. You make those decisions. I love this quote by Ryan Nicodemus of The Minimalists: “Nothing makes me happier than living a well-curated life.”

Curate: “to select items from among a large number of possibilities…”

How about I help you edit or…curate?

It helps to bring someone in from the outside, someone with a more objective view. As a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers, I am “dedicated to helping people and organizations bring order and efficiency to their lives.” I want to transfer my knowledge and skills to my clients so that the process sticks! You deserve a professional to help you get on track personally and/or professionally. I can help you:

  • Sort, purge and organize your stuff.
  • Be more productive, in office settings as well.
  • Set up systems that work for you.
  • And if you are intimidated by someone coming to your home and seeing your stuff, virtual organizing is an option.

Overwhelmed? Call me at 904-500-SORT (7678) or message me here for your free consult. I’d love to help you Zen Your DenSM!

Barbara Trapp, CAPM
Professional Organizer
Zen Your DenSM
Professional Member, NAPO (National Organization of Professional Organizers)
Residential Organizing Specialist, NAPO
Workplace Productivity Specialist, NAPO

2 thoughts on “Kiss Your Clutter Goodbye! (With or Without Marie Kondo)

  1. Hello there! Every time I Google to find someone to help me organize my home your name always appears. Must be a sign.
    I am kind of nervous to hire anyone, though. Anyway, I am overwhelmed with organizing my home. BTW I can relate to the Barbie doll organizing story, my five year old says the same to me. But with my home out of order I feel my life is out of order right now. I used to be focused and now I am not! I just want someone to give me the support I need to get this job done!

    • You’ve just redirected your focus to your five-year old! That’s why it helps to have a little help and an objective eye when weeding out and organizing. And when kids are around during an organizing session, I get them involved. They let go of more of their toys than their parents ever imagined they would! It’s a good learning experience for all and results in lots of bags ready for donation, recycling and…trash. When you are ready, contact me! I’d be happy to help you put your home in order. 🙂

Comments are closed.