So, you’re disorganized and overwhelmed. Do you really need a Marie Kondo style rescue?
Let me start by saying I’m not against Marie Kondo, per se, but at this point, I am not convinced that her method of getting folks organized is really about organizing folks; I think it’s becoming more of an opportunity for Marie to organize her own pockets full of cash. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Marie Kondo, for the uninitiated, is a lovely Japanese woman who claims to be able to turn your entire abode into a fabulously organized space that sparks joy with each glance around every room in the house. From her Wikipedia page –
Kondo’s method of organizing is known as the KonMari method, and consists of gathering together all of one’s belongings, one category at a time, and then keeping only those things that “spark joy” (tokimeku, the word in Japanese, means “flutter, throb, palpitate”), and choosing a place for everything from then on.
I have a healthy case of OCD and I still don’t find organizing to be about sparking joy.
Like seriously, my OCD is developed enough that it bugs me to not use CDO as the abbreviation since that’s the correct alphabetical order… I love bins, boxes, tubs, folders, files, dividers, and all of the assorted accoutrements that can be used to organize all manner of things.
I take perverse pleasure in cleaning out my freezer or making sure my paint swatches are all sorted by color – I tried by manufacturer but that didn’t make much sense given that every paint store can replicate any color in a jiffy – and I do admit that when I recently gave my home office a little face lift it does make me smile every time I peek in the doorway.
But… things like rubbish bins, goods that are better off staying in their original packaging, ugly mixing bowls (which happen to be the perfect size for cooking and are in superior condition, I will add!), cleaning supplies, spare parts for my sewing machine, and that kind of stuff? It doesn’t spark joy, I’m not throwing it away, and I refuse to believe I should chuck it because it does not “spark joy”.
The better, easier way to get organized.
The KonMari® method is great if you want to become an “authorized consultant” and you want to sell your services as an organizer going to peoples’ homes to convince them that their diaper pail must spark joy or they must stop using the darn thing. It’s also great if you are Marie Kondo and you have four different books that you are still hawking copies of on any media that will give you space. Heck, this almost looks like an ad for the darn thing, but I guarantee you it’s not.
Here are my simple, easy tips for getting organized without paying anyone a dime (except for the Container Store or wherever you buy your color coded bins and hanging files) –
- Gather your stuff up, preferably in your garage, spare room, or that storage closet in your office that doesn’t actually store anything.
- Get ready for a vicious purge. I mean seriously, if you haven’t read that summons for jury duty from three years ago that you either willfully or accidentally ignored, there is no reason to get all worked up about it now. The only thing it’s sparking is panic, and that is no good for organizing anything, including your free time in jail.
- Decide what you really need to keep. Make stacks, piles, whatever floats your boat, but organize it all together initially, so you can see what you have.
- Leave all that stuff, go to the store to buy organizing supplies.
- Get completely sidetracked at the store. Target has SO MANY COOL things! If you live near a Container Store, OMG, it’s like days of wandering around checking it all out. We did our master closet in their Elfa system last year, and it was like magic working out all the possible combinations of shelves, drawers, sliding bits, side bars and the rest. Sheer heaven!
- Pick out your supplies, and then take them back to your house or office. Get ready to start setting up shop and then realize that you probably need to paint that home office, spare bedroom, supply closet, whatever you’re going to be using for your haul from the organizing store.
- Take a trip to the paint store. If you’re like me, that’s where the real magic happens! I absolutely love paint swatches, combing through them, pairing them up, it just makes my OCD sing with joy when I hit the jackpot and find perfectly balanced tertiary sets with equal saturation levels. Now that actually makes my sparks overload with joy!
- Get the paint. Maybe think about hiring a painter, especially if you’re neither handy with a paint brush nor motivated to get this mess cleaned up and this stuff you are keeping put away.
- Pile up the outcasts and get ready to drop them off at the donation store. Of course for me, that also means I get to pop my head into the store, and I can’t tell you how many times there are perfectly good picture frames, planters, cookbooks and other little tidbits in there that have somehow been chucked out of peoples’ homes and offices because they aren’t sparking any more. Crazy, eh?
- If you finally got the paint done, then toss that stuff into the boxes, line them up neatly on the shelf, floor, in the cabinet, wherever, and go do something fun with your life. Don’t let CDO rule you ;)
As you can clearly see, this organizing thing doesn’t require hiring a consultant, having a ceremony for all the stuff you send to the local thrift store, or anything besides spending a couple of really pleasant afternoons checking out new organizing supplies and paint chips… especially if you don’t do the actual painting yourself.
Sounds like what we can all call a win-win to me.