I jumped right into my first tidying marathon after simply hearing about Marie Kondo and watching a few YouTube videos on her process, including her iconic folding technique. Many mistakes resulted from not taking the initial time to read her book and from not following Marie’s exact advice. Here is a lookback at the mistakes I made.
No. 1 Not putting your clothes in a giant pile
Afraid to make a giant mess that would take days to put away, I proceeded by looking through clothes in my walk-in closet one hanger at a time. I set aside a lot of things that did not Spark Joy, but it would take me 4 more rounds of Marie Kondoing my clothes, and a final round when I finally made the dreaded pile to properly complete this step. Make a pile from the start and save yourself the rework.
No. 2 Trying on clothes
Try to decide if a clothing item sparks joy or not during the first few seconds of holding the item. Deep down you know right away if this is something you are dying to wear again or not. If you start trying things on, you will very likely talk yourself into keeping that item. If you absolutely are not sure if you want to keep and item or not, make a Maybe pile and try on all the clothes at the very end. Remember, if you’re searching for reasons to say yes, the answer is probably no.
No. 3 Putting seasonal things away
In her book, Marie recommends not keeping your winter or summer things stored away during the off-season. I did not follow that advice and kept my winter clothes and some special event outfits in a storage case underneath my bed. The saying goes out of sight, out of mind, and they stayed in that storage case for over a year. When I finally took them out, they no longer Sparked Joy. As a rule, try not to store anything underneath your bed or in far away cupboards. Every item you choose to keep needs to be easily seen and accessible so it can continue to bring you joy!
No. 4 Not folding your towels and bed sheets upright
I religiously fold the clothes in my drawers in the KonMari method that makes everything stand up within the drawer and remain visible. I had not applied this method to my towels and bed sheets until recently. A linen closet can easily get messy as you take out items. Watch how Marie does it and extend your clothing folding practice to the other fabric items in your home.
No. 5 Keeping things just in case
During my first attempt to Marie Kondo my kitchen, I kept a lot of small kitchen gadgets for that one time I make a certain recipe. I kept my juicer because we paid so much money for it and promised myself to start using it again. I never did. As a rule, tell yourself that you are better off letting go of things that fall in the “might use one day” category. If the occasion arises that you need that a certain gadget you discarded, just ask to borrow it from someone. I have not missed a single thing that I got rid of from my kitchen!
No. 6 Not completing all five stages
The first 2 stages are relatively easy and the most fun to do. Once you finish clothes and books, it’s daunting to start going through papers, the miscellaneous items, and sentimental things. These items are often the most emotional decisions, but they can also bring out the most joy when decluttered. Having finally completed these steps now, there is no going back to the old ways as there is nothing left that does not spark joy.
No. 7 Taking too long to donate your things
Once you’re done identifying what you are throwing away and donating, make the trip to the donation center right away. Don’t hold the bags of stuff in your house for more than a few days. You will feel the relief as soon as all the things that don’t spark joy are fully out of your place.
No. 8 Marie Kondoing your partner’s things
The rule is to take care of your personal belongings only! Just because many things in your partner’s drawer don’t spark joy for you, it does not give you the right to throw them away for him or her. I have to admit that this is very hard to follow as I am often tempted to throw away my husband’s old pairs of socks. In the long run the best thing is to take the time to teach your partner about the process and he or she will likely be on board.
No. 9 Telling your mom what you gave away
Every time I mentioned to my mom that I’m donating clothes that I don’t like anymore, she would drill me on certain items she bought for me and would get very upset that I was giving them away. Save yourselves both the trouble and just don’t bring it up if you know your parent or sibling will be sensitive about it. If it becomes an issue, talk with them about how you are still grateful for the gift without needing its physical presence in your life. Some physical items are symbolic of our relationships with others, but you can still acknowledge and value that relationship without needing the physical reminder.
No. 10 Skipping your digital files
Don’t forget to keep your inbox and your computer files in order. Your digital footprint is just as meaningful as your physical one. Old files in your downloads folder most definitely do not spark joy and distract you from your work.