You may remember a whole series of posts (a year ago) on how I Kondo’ed my life. I got rid of everything that was weighing me down and, with a stripped down, purposeful life I felt happier.
Well, it worked. I really liked the feeling of deliberation and control. Choosing outfits and things to put in my handbag from a carefully curated selection. Always knowing where to find a small safety pin, a pair of pink tights or my walking boots. Not losing stuff and knowing the place where everything was kept.
Life changing yes.
But, and Kondo makes quite a lot of this, it is supposed to be a once in a lifetime change. And for me, gradually, the old habits came back. New stuff entered my home, by hook or by crook. I bought stuff. Not all of it loved and then it would get shoved, guiltily, in a drawer. Worse than acquisition, I dropped some of the disciplines such as folding my clothes carefully before I slotted them back into the drawer. Putting things on top of other things so I could no longer see the thing underneath. Out of sight, out of mind, and then I would buy stuff I didn’t really want or need. This was what led to my hoarding post last week.
The feeling became uncomfortable for me. Like when you eat so much your tummy hurts. Or you drink and feel terrible the day after. I began to just feel a bit unhappy, losing things and feeling muddled.
In the middle of the hard slog SWAP challenge I kept saying to myself “I will spring clean after it is over, in May”. And then wondering if some of my SWAP struggles were actually due to the disorder that was building up. I love being organised and tidy, yet I was working through mess and piles of unidentified stuff.
So, I started to Re-Kondo. Don’t know if it is “a thing” but this is what I have done. If you too have Kondo’ed and lost your way here are my notes and learnings.
Tips for doing a ReKondo
- Dedicate some time. Less than the original but give yourself a full day or two or more. Concentrate on doing it properly.
- Like the first time through you can’t just do one drawer or room at a time. Start with clothes, and follow the original order or methodology that worked for you.
- You will identify things you have bought since the first Kondo that you don’t like or need (joyless). Discard
- You will find things that you have used a lot but now look old and scruffy. Discard
- You will find things you kept last time but have not used for a year. Discard
- You will find things that got hidden because you didn’t put everything back carefully. Expose these to your gaze by proper folding and see if they get used. This is where I feel joy being sparked. Opening a drawer and finding things that I like, displayed for my selection, a bit like going into a nice shop rather than a jumble sale.
- You may find your folding technique has got sloppy. I was a bit disappointed with myself as neatly folded means that the clothes last longer and won’t need ironing before you wear them.
- You may find things that need a wash and a press. Give them what they deserve before replacing.
- By pulling everything out you can refold neatly. However many items will already be neatly folded so you can just make a decision and put them back
- When everything is pulled out use the opportunity to vacuum the space and wipe it with a clean cloth.
- If you do it well you will have some empty drawers and spaces. I like this feeling.
I even tidied my pin cushions. And in doing so I discovered 15 needles that had been lost inside the tomato! Isn’t that shocking? I removed them all, with trepidation and tweezers, as if I was doing a delicate operation. For a couple of years I assumed I had dropped them on the floor and lost them forever.
- Kondo makes light of the putting away only taking a few minutes every day. I suggest that this ritual may take a bit longer – ten to fiveteen minutes a day of folding, tidying, getting everything straight. I don’t always have the energy for this. If lose your daily discipline it will slide. Not as much as before, but still you can get out of sync.
- Re-Kondoing is a lot easier than doing it the first time round. It is still worth being ruthless. Do you really like/need that item (does it spark joy?). Just because it is quick doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be thoughtful.
- Make sure you can see what you have already got. This is the most important message for me as it saves me buying things I already have.
- Spring cleaning has a long history. Doing an annual Kondo at the same time makes sense.
- I am not completely finished, but already I feel better. My sewing adventure at the weekend was lighter, easier and, with everything to hand, I got less frustrated.
I loved reading this because since I followed in your footsteps I have had to redo my surroundings at least once. I have tried the ‘one in one out’ method but it is hard. After all one day I may need the hundred spools of green thread! Having been inspired by your first blog on the subject I am happy to periodically go through my stuff and turf some out . You have yet again given me the idea and I will go and attack the kitchen today.
Great idea. Whilst I am pleased with what I achieved with Kondo I did not finish everything and some categories need a lot more work whilst others just a light touch.
Hope you can get the peace you desire from the process.
I laughed when I saw the title of your post. I don’t think I need to kondo, but to contact those obsessive compulsive tv programmers and ask them to send me several dedicated minimalists with mops. Amongst people I’ve known, the tidiest homes have belonged to those who do little in them, for whom even cooking is an occasional activity. So it was no surprise that taking on a big project like SWAP got your organisation a bit fuzzy round the edges. Based on friend-survey, I also noticed something about the kind of art made related to the situation it was created in – splashy exuberant expressionistic grew in an organised place, and hard edged detailed controlled abstraction in utter chaos.
Does a very controlled looking product need to be pulled out of chaos, the building blocks selected from a heap of possibilities?
I hinted at this in my post the other day, but I went through a period a number years ago in which I bought too many clothes and felt that my life of stuff was in general disorder (not that yours is!), so in recent years I’ve worked hard to be conscious of what I have, how I use it, etc. I felt it corresponded with mental clutter that I was carrying. Kondo fit in nicely with that and helped to clarify my thinking on some points. I’ll never be an exceptionally neat person out of the gate, but I now have a well-organized and managed home with a few areas of chaos (usually the top of my dresser and my kitchen table, where I do a lot of dreaming!). Best, I hardly shop for anything anymore as I know what I have and where to find it. I am able to use and appreciate my things more effectively, and they do give me great joy! At work, I’ve been teased for years for being the “messy desk” person, and that will never change to some extent, although I heard something recently about how people with messy desks are more productive – so there! Anyhow, I hope you enjoy your neatened space. I did a heap of spring cleaning myself on Saturday – everything just looks dusty to me in the springtime, when there is (theoretically in our case) more sunshine. PS I’m going to muse over Jay’s comment – very interesting.
Does this mean you’re going back to SWAP?
No, i am just going back to sewing. Still need to finish the re-kondo.
I would probably benefit enormously from going through this process but it just seems too huge and radical so I will be doing a watered down version for now.
I agree with how much better you feel when not buried under piles of belongings. I sometimes wonder how I managed to collect so much ‘stuff’, and I’m sure I’m not alone.
This struck such a chord with me. I have never Kondo’d but have read much about it. I like to think I’m a pretty tidy person who just has too much stuff. But I’m forever having a de-clutter here and a de-clutter there. Maybe I need to finally give in to buying the book? Yikes, it just sounds so time-consuming…
I haven’t kondo’d and probably won’t, at least yet. Though I certainly need to. Or at least a version. I have been pruning a little, in my own way. I find that disorganisation tends to stifle creativity. To much sorting out before you can start, never properly completed. I’m looking forward to sorting this in my own way in a couple of months. Good luck with your sewing
PS I love the spring cleaning image