What to Do When KonMari Organizing Doesn’t Work

what to do when konmari organizing doesn't work


Last month, I spoke to a group of entrepreneurs about getting organized.  At the end of the talk, there was time for questions- one of my favorite parts of any speaking engagement!  One entrepreneur, asked what I thought about using the KonMari method to get organized.  (Side note: I’m often asked about this method and I’ll be honest- I’m not a fan!  Because I know that the KonMari method doesn’t work for me.)

So I answered her honestly, but rather brutally: it’s not the best way to get organized if you live in the United States.  We have more space, and much more stuff than Japanese homes, so the process can be utterly overwhelming!  And it can take much longer than just doing it the “non-magical” way.

I asked her if she’d tried the KonMari way.  She hesitated before sheepishly saying yes, but… she’d been working on it for 9 months and she’d only gotten through all the pants in her home!  We all laughed pretty hard and then I suggested it might be time to try something else!

…So what could that something else be?  Well, one thing is to throw your hands into the air, give up and continue to live in clutter and chaos.  But that’s an awful suggestion and I’m only kidding, of course.

Instead, why not take the same principles of the KonMari method and tweak them so they’ll work in your household?  Not everything about the KonMari way won’t work for you. That’s because the KonMari method is only a spin on what every other organizer knows to be true.

Here’s how the “modified KonMari” method (a.k.a. my usual method)  works.  And by the by, the following step-by-step advice is no different than the organizing advice I dish out in any other post!

1. Start in one room and de-clutter each part of the room that doesn’t work.

2.  Get rid of things you don’t want, won’t use, aren’t in good condition, or are no longer needed.  Give yourself permission to let go of these things.  It’s ok to let go of these sorts of items!

3.  Work in small areas.  No, this doesn’t mean squeeze yourself into tight spaces, but rather, don’t bite off more than you can chew.  Start with one drawer and get it right instead of dumping out every drawer all at once and having a whole lot to deal with at once.  Work bit by bit and you’ll consistently work your way to being organized.

4.  Put things where you’ll actually use them.  For example, the laundry stain remover should live with your laundry supplies instead of under the sink with general cleaning supplies.  If the stain remover stays under the sink, best case is that you’ll forget you have it and worst case is that you’ll buy a second container and have to store both.  Plus you’ll no longer have the money you spent on the second product.  This is the put like with like rule that I’m sure you’ve heard before.

5.  Label things, especially if you’re using containers that you can’t see through.  It’ll make it easy to tell what’s what without having to look into the containers.

6. Go easy on yourself and don’t put yourself down.  You’re not foolish for accumulating so much.  No one, not even your favorite organizing guru is 100% organized 100% of the time.  Because life.

7.  Think to yourself: You can get organized.  You can do this!  Positive affirmations are the ticket to organizing success.  It worked for the Little Engine Who Thought It Could, and it will for you too.

Now, what are you waiting for?  Go tackle a drawer already!


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