3 Women Reflect On How Marie Kondo Has Changed Their Lives

Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
So you've decided to finally decided to hop on the KonMari bandwagon, but you're not sure how to make it work for you. Or perhaps you've just been obsessively watching Tidying Up With Marie Kondo on Netflix and wondering (very understandably), so, uh, after she leaves do they actually keep doing that?
We've been wondering the exact same thing — so we asked three bloggers with very different lives, habits, and senses of style to reflect on their experience with the KonMari method. One recently worked with Kondo herself on a home makeover, while the other two have been maintaining theirs since the Kondo craze first hit in 2015. Read on for their thoughts on implementing, customizing, and keeping up with KonMari.
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Emily Schuman of Cupcakes and Cashmere, worked with Kondo in 2018.

What is the biggest thing you learned from KonMari-ing your home?
To be much more decisive. I'm someone who wavers on a decision for a while, which is neither helpful, nor productive. I'm much more strict about what stays in our home: only the things that I use and love. I'd assumed that once I got rid of something that I'd feel guilty, but it's actually been the opposite. As soon as something's out of the house, I feel an enormous amount of relief and it's that much easier to keep organized.

As a fashion and lifestyle blogger, how to do balance the minimalism of KonMari with all the clothing and accessories you inevitably collect?
Constant editing. I might have to go into my closet to reevaluate what's in there more than the average person, but I've also found that doing so frequently makes the process a lot easier and faster. Now I'm able to go through everything and take into account if there are pieces I'm not wearing, that don't fit properly, aren't in great condition, or that feel dated.

How well would you say you've kept up with KonMari since working with Kondo?
There are certain areas of the house that are easier to maintain than others. For example, my bathroom is tough since I'm constantly sent new products to try (I swear that's not a complaint!), so the organization in there can suffer. The same goes for our kitchen pantry because I love trying out new snacks, which means that our drawers are filled to the brim. But at least I now have the tools to manage it all in a much more efficient way and do so regularly.

Do you have tips for people on how to maintain their KonMari home makeovers?
I guess just to be honest with yourself. If and when things start piling up, start the process over again.
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Abby Lawson of Just A Girl And Her Blog, KonMari'd her home in 2015.

How well would you say you've kept up with your KonMari routine since first doing it?
I think that everybody will have their own ways of tweaking it, and have some things that work well for them from her message and some that don't. I still fold our clothes using that folding method that she shows where you can see all the shirts in the drawer. I don't really — and have never followed — her method to a T for my little boys' socks and underwear, just because it's too hard and they're seven and ten and won't keep it that way anyway. We've moved since then — when we first did it we were in this little tiny townhouse, so part of my motivation for the decluttering was just that I didn't have much space so I needed to get rid of things. It's a process, but I think that her ideas of only keeping around like what you love and being careful of what you bring into your house have really stuck with me throughout that time.

Do you regret parting with any of the items you got rid of?
No, I can't even think of any examples where I was like, oh I got rid of that too hastily and now I wish I had it back. It's kind of like, out of sight, out of mind.

Do you feel like KonMari has changed your life?
I definitely think that mindset of being aware of what is coming into my house and what I'm keeping around has been helpful. It has has changed how I think about my things because before I'd be like, oh, that's on sale. I should get that. But now it's like, well, do I really love that? Is that going to add something to my house? Or is it just going to be this thing that adds more clutter? It's not that I've never made that mistake since I read her book — I've totally made that mistake a bunch of times — but I have also not made that mistake a bunch of times too, because I have this little Marie Kondo in the back of my head saying, is that really going to be a positive addition to your home?

Do your sons understand it? If so, how have you explained it to them?
We do talk a lot about it, particularly with toys, which are obviously their area. We talk about, you know, do you use this, or is it time for another kid to enjoy it now? Especially for my younger son, who is a big more of a sensitive soul, he really resonates with that. The idea of, oh, somebody else is gonna love this and take care of this more than I do. They have also seen and recognized that when they have less toys that are well organized, they spend more time in their playroom playing with them because they can find their stuff and it's only the stuff that they love. They have made that observation to me independently, like hey, when we only have the stuff we really like, we're in here, we use it more often. So that has been cool to see.
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Sarah Akwisombe, business coach, KonMari'd her home in 2015.

How much did you stay true to the book when you were doing your KonMari makeover?
So the first thing I'll say — and a lot of people called me out on this when I wrote about the book — is that I couldn't read it until the end, because I just found it really repetitive. I think once you get the gist of how it works, you can just give it a try. I would say I read at least two-thirds of it. Some of it I found quite funny, especially as a British person. We take everything with a pinch of salt and anything that's kind of uber spiritual or uber cheesy, we will kind of make a mockery of it. So when she says, you must never ball up your socks or your underwear, because your underwear basically has feelings and its bad vibes and stuff, I was like, okay, I'm not going to say thank you to my underwear everyday. So with those kind of things, I didn't listen, but what I did do is sort of take the gist of it — ways of maximizing space, clever ways of folding things, the clustering [of different types of objects], throwing things away don't, as they say, spark joy.

How much would you say you've kept up with it since that initial purge?
What I have kept from it is that I fold my clothes a lot more than I used to. I fold all my jeans, trousers, that kind of thing. My daughter, who is six, she doesn't have a wardrobe with any hanging space, I literally fold and roll all of her clothes in drawers, which is a bit more time-consuming, but we live in a small apartment, and it's actually saved a lot of space. I have also stuck with being a little more ruthless about how much crap I'm just keeping around. I would also say I've been a little bit better with keeping — you know how she'll say, like, this is my box of socks, this is my box of makeup brushes? — I have been a bit better at segmenting things like that.

Do you regret any of the stuff you got rid of?
My instant reaction is no regrets. Sometimes when you get a Facebook memory or something like that, I'll be like, oh, that tee shirt was really cool, and I got rid of it.

Do you have tips for people who have just decided to KonMari their homes to and want to ensure that it fits within their life permanently?
Don't take it too literally. I think [you] can take the principles and make them work for you. And that doesn't mean that you failed at the method, is just that you found a way to make it work for you.

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