On a scale of zero to Marie Kondo, how much progress have you really made when it comes to tidying your home and life KonMari style?
Note: This assessment was also featured on Spark Joy podcast Episode 108. Listen while you tidy!
Does it spark joy is a simple question, but it isn’t easy to execute. A universal challenge that many relate to, KonMari has inspired millions of people to get organized year after year. However, millions of people have also found themselves spinning their wheels, cycling through false starts, and hitting progress plateaus that lead to significant gaps of time between signature KonMari clutter categories.
Do you feel stuck? Not sure if you’re making progress, or what progress should even look like?
Don’t worry, there’s a way out. And it all starts with self-awareness – the foundation for any major change you will ever make in your home or life.
So let’s start there.
Grab a pen, paper, or journal and your favorite calendar. It’s time to evaluate your KonMari progress! Ask yourself the following questions:
When you have thoughts that sound anything like “this is going to take me forever, ” it’s important to acknowledge the amount of time you’ve been accumulating and experiencing a cluttered lifestyle. A year? Five years? All of your life? If you contrast that against the time it takes you to dig out and choose joy (for my clients, an average of 15-30 hours of professional support) the task immediately feels less daunting.
Do you remember the day/week/month/year Marie Kondo entered your life? I sure can. Sometimes when we dive into a major project we get so far along we forget how it all began. It’s always good to stop and reflect and note what your actual “Day 1” was – the start of your tidying event.
As I continue to work with clients and chat about clutter in Chicago and all around the country, I so often hear stories from those who have started to get organized and then stopped for whatever reason. Usually they say, “I just did the folding” (…keep going!) or “I’m going to binge the Netflix special before I start” (Note: the show wasn’t designed to be a comprehensive tutorial and two certified KonMari Consultants helped those families tidy behind the scenes), or “I’m just going to read the book one more time” (…you have the information you need. Taking action is the key).
Sometimes even our best intentions can turn into active procrastination. So, make sure you write down all of your tidying attempts to capture the full scope of your progress.
There are five! And yes, you haven’t technically KonMari’d unless you’ve made a yes/no decision about every single item in your home. Clothing, books, paper, miscellaneous, and sentimental items.
P.S. Don’t forget about Rule 1: Identify your ideal lifestyle and ideal living environment. It’s a step that is mission critical for your long-term success and should never be overlooked.
Turn your attention to the success you’ve already achieved! Maybe you love the signature KonMari fold, or you’re really clear about how you want your books to be displayed or the way your pantry should be designed to nourish your family. Lead with gratitude by shifting your attention to things in your home that are already “clicking” into place.
Be specific! “Komono” is the size of Amazon.com, so it’s important to break this category down further to understand what’s really troubling you. The more specific you are the better you can connect with your vision. For example, if you’re having trouble organizing or making decisions about your running gear, you can review your vision of your ideal lifestyle (detailed questions and exercises found in The Tidy Home Joy Journal) and see how often the activity of “running” was mentioned. Are you ramping this activity up or down? How much variety of items am I comfortable with to support the experience?
Prior to the moment you picked up your pen to start this assessment, how much time has passed since you’ve KonMari’d? This question helps you begin to get in touch with how much of a priority tidying has been for you this year. We spend our time, energy, and resources on things that directly align with our values. We have no trouble making time in our schedule for those activities. So the first step to making the connection between tidying and our highest values is to acknowledge how much attention we have or have not given to this activity.
This could be total hours logged on your tidying event to date or an average of KonMari moments. If you have no clue, think about what you were doing the last time you tidied up (Question 7). Did you spend a half day/full day/evening making decisions? If you’re still feeling unsure, make a note to set the timer the next time you tidy up. Aim for 3-5 hours of active tidying per day with small breaks as need. This helps you make a plan and make progress while not compromising your energy or decision making power.
Note: Don’t include time spent on daily maintenance tasks in this portion of the assessment. Maintenance time is irrelevant until you’ve finished your tidying event. Avoid assessing or judging your ability to maintain a tidy home until everything in your home sparks joy and you’ve practiced honoring those things.
Sit with this question for a moment. The statement “tidying up is not a priority for me right now” may be 100% true. That’s just life. Some things are simply more important. Therefore, it’s also important for you to avoid judging yourself or your progress prematurely.
If your answer to Question 9 was “yes” it’s time to acknowledge the amount of time you’re willing to make in your schedule to tidy up. Practice defensive calendaring. Delete, diminish, or delegate existing items on your to-do list to reengage your self-care. These short-term adjustments will make things easier for your life in the long-term.
So now what?
I’m intentionally not going to provide you with a legend with the “correct” answers to any of these questions. There are no wrong answers here, only true ones. It’s important for you to take a moment to sit with your Progress Summary and determine what you’re prepared to work on in the new year. If you aren’t sure what to do next or where to start I’m always available to chat about your clutter. Additionally, here are two paths to consider to enhance your experience:
…you can join The Spark Joy Club (private Facebook community) by investing in a copy of The Tidy Home Joy Journal, your #1 tidying companion. In addition to community accountability, twice a month I pop into the group live to provide beginner and advanced tidying tips to help move you from practicing the Method to fully embracing the KonMari lifestyle. Join today!
…it’s time to hire a KonMari Consultant to help you move beyond your clutter plateau and get the job done, once and for all. You can jump right in with a clutter conversation with me and further explore the value of hiring a Consultant here. “I would never have done this if you weren’t here” is the phrase I hear most frequently from clients who are committed to getting this done and want to make the absolute most of their 15+ hours of effort.
Whichever path you choose, it’s important to recognize asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness or failure. It’s actually a very powerful indicator that you understand the value of your time.
Pick your path wisely and walk it with joy.