The KonMari Method Won’t Work in My Household

I grew up in a cluttered house. My mom did her best to keep it tidy, but it wasn’t easy with 3 kids and a husband who collected furniture (we once had four tables and desks in the family room, not counting the coffee table). I wasn’t the tidiest kid and my closet was where a tornado lived. But, as I got older, everything started to have a particular place to live. There was still a lot of stuff, but everything had a home.

I still carry that with me. Everything has its own place, and I’m not happy when it’s been moved. Just as my husband when he moves the salt shaker 6 inches. I like to keep things tidy, and it helps everyone know where everything is. So I try my best to keep our home tidy. I find a place for everything and put them back where they belong.

I’m constantly drawn to minimalism and am interested in learning more about Marie Kondo’s method. But…I live with three pack rats. My husband stores old journal articles in multiple boxes and has textbooks from two decades ago that he’s keeping for when our kids are older. My almost 5 year old screams whenever we mention getting rid of his baby toys. My almost 2 year old has a fond attachment to trash. Kondo’s method works best when everyone is on board. I don’t think having only a quarter on board is going to cut it.

Besides, I think I’ve already decluttered my own stuff. If I get rid of anymore, I won’t have anything left.

In theory, I love the KonMari method. It sounds like a lovely way to live in a home that brings one great happiness. It’s also a fantastic way to declutter and tidy up, and ensure everyone knows where everything is. It makes for a lovely home that, in theory, is much less maintenance than a home full of clutter that has nowhere to go.

But there are also things I’ve read about it that doesn’t make me want to convince my family it’s the best thing for us. First of all, having to sit with something and contemplate whether it sparks joy just sounds time consuming. I have two kids to play with, discipline, run after, and feed all day every day. I don’t have time to sit with everything and ask it if it brings me joy. Besides, joy is more of a transient feeling for me. There are some things that will never spark joy in me. But there are a great number of things that go in and out of being joyful to me. In the summer, my Christmas decorations spark no joy, but, once December hits, I’ll be joyfully decorating and singing “Deck the Halls.” I have books that don’t spark joy until I’m in the mood to re-read them. But my biggest problem lies in everything having a home. I already do this. Ahem, I try to do this. I do this, but I’m only a quarter of this household. What’s the point of everything having a home if I’m the only one who knows it’s address? It’s exhausting to get everything home by myself every day after it’s taken a few wrong turns and wandered into something else’s home and taken up residence.

In the end, the KonMari method is appealing, but will not work with my household. I live with three pack rats. Only recently have I been able to convince my husband to give up things he’s had from before we met a decade ago (things that he hasn’t used in at least that long). Not only do these three people keep everything (and they’ll say it sparks joy), but they clean by tossing. I can never find anything because they see a space and toss something, anything, into it. And no one ever listens to my cleaning instructions. It’s exhausting to constantly clean after they’ve cleaned up. Sure, I have my kids clean up when they’re done playing and they listen, but only one of them currently understands cleaning up. The other thinks it’s a game and will dump it back out.

What I really need is a 7 letter word. S-T-O-R-A-G-E. Boxes, baskets, tin cans. At this point, I don’t really care. I just need storage for all this stuff three-quarters of my family can’t stop collecting, can’t figure out how to clean up, and won’t toss out.

22 Comments

    • kat

      It must be nice to live without clutter, but, at the same time, lonely. Though I can’t help but fantasize about a tidy home sometimes.

  • ourlittleredhouseblog

    So true, it is hard when you have a home full of different personalities. Baskets, storage containers and old Lane chest are great to hide the clutter. My husband always says we don’t live in a museum. I am just happy when family or guest come over they aren’t looking under our beds, that’s where I hide some of our clutter. In storage containers of course. This old home did not come with storage.

    • kat

      I drool over all the pieces you make that are perfect for storage. Actually, thanks to your blog, I find myself saving boxes now so I can turn them into storage containers. It would be nice to have a beautiful, tidy home, but I like what your husband says. A home should always be a home to living, breathing people.

  • mothertherealist

    ๐Ÿ™‚ I have been thinking these very things lately. I just feel so cluttered in the house! And I have to tidy the clutter!!

  • M. Phillips

    For me I have a hard time letting go of certain things. I do try to wean out most of my clothes every spring and fall only because it helps to see what summer or winter clothes I can pass on to goodwill. I think I do understand her point about decluttering but I figured while the kids are young, clutter will be a part of our lives for awhile. Eventually, we can figure out how to let go of the other things as they grow older.

    • kat

      Exactly. Kids and clutter go hand in hand. I look forward to when they’re finally ready to give up their baby toys, but I’ve also made peace with the fact that my family just collects stuff and gets attached. And a good reminder I need to go through everyone’s clothes, too!

    • kat

      Haha, no! All of her folding methods look crazy and will probably put me in a bad mood. If I folded socks her way, I guarantee no one here will have a matching pair.

  • jennifermzeiger

    I’ve had several people recommend this method to me. Still considering it, but I’m kind of like you, some things bring joy at their own time…hmmm. Makes me wonder if it’s worth the effort.

    • kat

      I actually just read another blogger’s post about it. She’d KonMari’d everything and now regrets getting rid of some things. After reading that, I’m quickly backpedaling my interest. I think I’d rather buy more storage bins that get rid of stuff. That regret isn’t worth it!

    • The Beautiful Minimal Millenial

      I KonMari’d my stuff, let my husband decide when and if he was going to eliminate things and now I am sitting in our tidy home relaxing. I would urge you to try going through the process with just your things. Things that you have 100% control over like your clothes and books and maybe your things in the bathroom. See how it works for you. You might be surprised.

    • kat

      Isn’t it? I wish it were mine. For privacy reasons, I don’t post pictures of my home or family, so this is an image I found in WordPress’s library, but it sure gives me something to work towards.

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