This book was highly recommended, but when I picked it up from the library I didn’t expect to learn much—when we moved a couple months ago, we gave away, sold, or discarded probably half our possessions, easily. So our house of course was decluttered. Oh I was wrong! Kondo’s method of decluttering left me getting rid of 4 bags of trash and 2 bags of donations. That seems like a lot but it is really nothing compared to most of her clients, who get rid of 30 or 40 or more bags of trash.
Through reading her book, I realized that while in most areas I was pretty economical, I had some soft spots where I was holding on to far more than we needed or that “sparked joy” (her criteria for what you keep: whatever brings you joy). I got rid of a lot of my clothes, much of which were hand-me-downs from sisters or friends that I’d been wearing because they fit and were useful, not because I loved them. I got rid of a lot of photographs that meant nothing to me (tossed 3 entire photo albums worth). Paperwork was a big area where I needed to downsize—I kept things way past necessity (do I need paperwork from 2008? No.). I went through the girls toys (yet again) to see what they actually play with and what is just taking up space.
Everyday bryan came home from work to find a bag of trash waiting by the door and trashcans stuffed full. Yet I know there is still more I could do—two areas where she recommends discarding things but I disagree:
she recommends keeping only what you truly love and what sparks joy and what you’ll read again. I agree with that to some extent, except that I plan to homeschool, and I want my kids to have access to classics that I may not read again (except to read aloud to them) but that they should have easy access to (the Narnia series, Treasure Island, Heidi, Leaves of Grass).
- Clothes for other seasons / sizes.
since I have 3 girls, I do keep tubs of old clothes to hand down from one girl to the next. I try to be picky about what I save—the girls tend to have more than they need—but I think, counting all the many sizes from newborn to 4T, I have about four or five Rubbermaid containers full. I did also have a small tub for maternity clothes, though I think that most of my clothes are so threadbare now (3rd time around!) that I’ll keep very few items.
I also disagree with her idea that things should not necessarily be kept where they are most convenient but should have a place elsewhere in the home, all in one place rather than scattered about (for example, keeping a stack of notebooks in your room and on the porch—she’d say pick one place). with little kids and a newborn on the way, I’ve set up a “newborn station” in our bedroom (a drawer with diapers, clothes, wipes; a rocking chair with burp clothes nearby and a lamp to read by; a pack in play and rock-n-play for her to sleep in), though I do plan to move her to her own room eventually.
Overall I highly recommend this book—I think anyone can benefit from her ideas on decluttering and organization, and her tone and voice is so charming and funny that it’s a pleasure to read.