By taking the KonMari instructions to “tidy all at once” quite literally, Boston parents of two boys (ages 2 and 10) and one girl (age 8) committed to five consecutive days (25 hours) of tidying lessons over their February vacation. What was the key to getting this family to the finish line? They invested in themselves by learning to tidy the KonMari way to make the most impact in a short period of time.

Similar to changing a challenging health or financial situation, the tidying process is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. So, place yourself!

The Starting Line: Clothing

With nervous anticipation we jumped right into this new chapter of my client’s life by tackling clothes right out of the gate. When we walked through her ideal lifestyle, she longed for a simplified capsule wardrobe that would help her efficiently get ready for up to three jobs she manages daily. With her youngest son – the king of the pile – by our side, we extracted clothes from closets and drawers to confront the clutter head-on.

Working within her closet’s boundaries, my client made room for her husband’s clothing to return to their bedroom. They worked together to unify the space through tidying and create a retreat that reflected the best of both of them. She reflected, “visible disarray subtly has an invisible impact on you mentally. When there is nothing visually assaulting you everyday, your mind is free. I open my closet and nothing hits me in the face!”

Mile 6: Books

By the time we addressed books, everyone in the family caught the tidy bug. They determined which books sparked joy to create a family library. The decluttering and consolidation freed up a smaller bookshelf to house miscellaneous items.

My client began to internalize what “spark joy” meant for her at this stage of the race. She described it as “the feeling that I get when there is a natural connection to an item or a person or a space.”

Half Way Through: Paper

Prior to starting her tidying journey, my client was sure paper was going to be the most difficult category to deal with. A busy school nurse and entrepreneur, my client’s paper pile included business (past and present), personal and family related materials. We focused on simplifying her existing filing system and fed discarded materials to a hungry shredder for hours. We set photographs, artwork and other sentimental items aside to process at another time. The kids joined in to usher a desk that lacked joy out the door to an interested neighbor.

Mile 8: Miscellaneous

“I thought i had a paper problem, but I actually have a miscellaneous problem!,” my client declared as we gathered items from various parts of her home. We focused on storing like items together and tackling high-use areas, such as her linen closet and junk drawer.

Mile 22 (“The Wall”): Miscellaneous – Kitchen

At this point in the race, my client experienced a little bit of fatigue and was tempted to find a short-cut around taking everything out of the kitchen cabinet to joy check. I assured her it’s a necessary part of the KonMari process and evaluation. After taking a brief break to regroup, she got her second wind. We reflected on progress made and pressed on!

The Last .2 Miles of the Race: Sentimental Items

After I returned to Chicago, it was time for my client to finish the final part of the race on her own. This included making decisions around sentimental items collected during each lesson. With the help of her husband and children, she manifested the vision of her ideal living environment, accented by family heirlooms and photos displayed with honor.

I’m happy to report it’s been two months since this family embraced a tidy lifestyle and they’ve been able to maintain it with minimal effort! Tidying became a family affair and made room for them to spend their next vacation having fun and enjoying the outdoors!

Ready to launch a tidying marathon of your own? Let’s chat.

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Kristyn Ivey

Kristyn Ivey

For the Love of Tidy founder Kristyn Ivey is Chicago's first certified KonMari Tidying Consult.
Kristyn Ivey

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