Are you one of the millions of Netflix subscribers who watched an episode of Marie Kondo’s “Tidying Up” series and gave it a mega eye roll? Sure, the idea of decluttering sounds amazing. But she clearly doesn’t have kids in her home.
Surprise – she does! Kondo is the mother of a 2-year-old and a 1-year-old. She admits that since welcoming kids into her life that she has had to shift her ways a bit to accommodate their “slightly” messier lives. But she reassures all parents that even with kids in the roost, it’s possible to keep things neat and tidy.
On general tidiness…
Kondo says that she tries to show her children what she does daily to keep the house in order. For example, she’ll show herself washing clothes and folding them in front of her kids. She believes that parents need to set the example of being tidy if they should expect their kids to follow suit.
The Kondo method also stresses that we should declutter before we even attempt the idea of organising our things. Moving items around are only a temporary fix to a long-term problem.
On where to begin…
Sometimes the most debilitating part of the decluttering process is knowing where to begin.
Kondo’s method involves tidying everything at once but by following a specific order.
- Miscellaneous (kitchen items, office items, etc.)
- Sentimental items
She strongly discourages tidying your belongings by room because it will take significantly longer to get the task done.
On feeling overwhelmed…
The thought of tidying up a whole category of “stuff” can seem impossible when so many other things are going on. Kondo says that you can subdivide these broader categories, such as clothes, and tackle one of those subdivisions each day. For example, on Monday you may go through your tops and on Tuesday pants.
On folding laundry…
Children as young as three years old can be taught to fold simple things, like socks, handkerchiefs, placemats, and napkins. As they master the folding technique, they can move onto larger and more difficult pieces of laundry.
Speaking of “technique”, the Kondo method of folding probably isn’t the same method you’ve been taught. Check out her show or watch a few clips online, and try to stack them so that they are kept upright in a drawer (it’s amazing how much easier it is to find clothes this way!).
On what to keep and what to toss…
You may have heard by now that if an item doesn’t “spark joy” in you, then you should toss it out. Trying to figure out what this “joy” is as an adult with your own belongings can be confusing.
If you’re having a hard time, Kondo suggests that you pick three items from a pile and give yourself three minutes to think it over. Compare each item so that you get a sense of what brings you joy. These may be items that:
- Are highly functional
- Make life easier
- Are extremely useful
- Include features that put us at ease
For example, some of your pre-baby clothes may make you feel sad and depressed. Donate or sell these items and hold onto only the clothes that make you feel beautiful and confident (did we mention that Peachymama has loads of stylish postpartum clothes you’re sure to love?).
But what about your children’s possessions? What about the overflowing toy trunk and the endless stream of art projects?
Kondo says that the decision as to what to do with these items should be left to the child. Children can identify which items bring them joy and which don’t, and they should be fully responsible for those items (that includes putting them away when they are finished using them).
On getting rid of books…
Adults may have an easier time paring down their shelves to a few special reads. Try tossing out beloved children’s books, however, and you may find yourself having a more difficult time.
The suggestion Kondo makes is to create a book “Hall of Fame”. This area will be where the books you value and refer to the most will be kept. Everything else, Kondo says, must go. The reasoning: the fewer familiar objects we have, the more open and appreciative we are to receiving new information.
On having kids help tidy up…
This is an area Kondo has admitted she, too, has struggled with. With two young children at home, this doesn’t come as much of a surprise.
She suggests that the whole family tidy up the home together. Parents should encourage their kids to clean up, but finish their own tidying before helping their own kids.
What parents shouldn’t do is force their children to tidy up. If the kids aren’t into keeping their personal space – like their bedrooms – organised, then parents should focus on keeping their personal space neat to promote a calmer mindset.
Have you tried the Kondo method with your family?
Photo by Time