Over the last few weeks, I’ve been on a mission to declutter my home using the Konmari method, a simple concept where you keep every item that brings you joy, and bin or get rid of anything that doesn’t. By the end of my mission, in theory, I should be left with a relaxing, cheerful home containing only objects that I love. My first task, to declutter my clothing, was a fairly simple one. Marie Kondo, the brains behind the concept, believes that clothing is the easiest task to begin with as there is rarely an emotional attachment. I fully understand her thought process, although I have a few items of Cici’s baby clothing that I can’t bear to part with, so these have been left until last and filed under the ‘sentimental’ section.
I’ve skipped mission two, which was to declutter books. Would you believe me if I said I don’t own a single one? I really don’t! I lost interest in reading during my pregnancy, and not long after I had Cici I gave my suitcase filled stash away to my step mum to sell at a car boot sale. Brutal? Yes! But one less pile of stuff cluttering up my home.
My third mission, which I completed in less than a day, was to declutter my paper piles. Now I originally begun my konmari mission last year and shredded a whopping 3 bin liners worth of old bills, receipts etc (very therapeutic!), so this time around I had much less to do. Following last year’s mammoth task, I have got a grip on myself and put some organisation systems in place to help me keep the paper clutter at bay. Marie Kondo suggests binning everything! “What?” I hear you gasp. Yep, that’s right, apart from a few necessities.
So let’s take a look at what Marie Kondo suggests shredding, and whether or not I agree with her…
Study Materials, Course Notes and Handouts
Why? She believes that once you’ve attended a course, you should put your learning into action there and then. If you forget what you’ve learned, then re-do the course!
How I got on: For the most part, I agree. I didn’t have masses, but I did have papers from courses I’d attended as far back as 2010! Minute taking, customer care… information, that if needed, I could easily Google to refresh my memory. Chances are though, I’ll never need to. I have however kept notes I took for a recent Digital Marketing course I attended. I’m still learning as I go along, and I refer to my notes every so often, so I’ve put them to one side for now. Further down the line, I’ll discard them once I’ve gotten all I need from them.
Credit Card Statements
Why? Simple really, once you’ve checked them over, they’ve done their job!
How I got on: This one I 100% agree with. Same goes for store cards and bank statements. There’s an app for everything these days, and I do all my banking online or via my smartphone, so there’s no need to have paper statements hanging around, reminding me of that embarrassing impulse buy I bought last month… what was I even thinking?!
Warranties and Instruction Manuals
Why? A simple Google search will bring up most instruction manuals if you need them. She doesn’t recommend binning warranties though, but suggests sticking them all in one folder in no particular order, rather than waste time filing them all alphabetically.
How I got on: I’ll be honest, I had a massive folder full of instruction manuals, even for appliances I no longer owned! Marie Kondo is right though. I’m much more likely to hit up Google than I am to try to remember which drawer of clutter my folder is stored in, so out they went. As for my warranties, I rarely keep them, unless they’re for expensive purchases.
Why? Once a card has been read, it has done its job!
How I got on: I get rid of all greetings cards a few days after the event is over with, apart from sentimental ones. I still have those from my 18th and 21st birthdays, and possibly even my 30th. I have also kept Cici’s birth and first birthday cards. These I’ve relocated to my sentimental section to decide further down the line what I’d like to do with them.
Why? What does it matter, I don’t think I’ve ever owned a chequebook so this section I’ve skipped!
Why? She believes once you’ve checked your payslip against your wage, then there’s no need to keep them.
How I got on: I disagree with her on this one. I keep my payslips for the current financial year so that I can check it tallies with my end of year P60. I’m not sure how things work in Japan, but payslips also need to be kept as evidence of earnings (usually the last 3 months’ worth) for certain applications you may make, such as housing, opening a bank account, or applying for a mortgage, so I like to err on the side of caution. I also keep my last few years’ worth of P60’s, just in case I ever need to prove how much I earned during a particular tax year.
As you start to get a good flow going in your Konmari paper declutter mission, you’ll probably find, like me, that you discard a lot more than Marie Kondo mentions in her book. I open up my mail as soon as I receive it, and any junk goes straight into the paper recycling bin. Most of my bills are emailed to me rather than posted, so that keeps a lot of the paper clutter at bay. Those bills I do receive in paper form, I pop them into an extendable folder. Marie Kondo advises against using files like this, but I use one only. I only keep the bills relating to the current financial year and shred them all at the end, once I’ve double checked they’re all paid and up to date. I also keep my payslips in here, any warranties and important documents such as certificates etc.
There are some papers I simply can’t throw away, such as art work that Cici brings home from school every so often. I place these into a box file, however I’m yet to actually go through and sort it all out. Again, I’m saving it for the sentimental mission. Cici has started bringing home daily coloured in pages. She tells me “My friend coloured this in for you Mummy!” Urmmm… thanks random kid for my picture, and for keeping me and Konmari on our decluttering toes! These go straight into the recycling bin, when Cici’s not looking of course!
Now that I have my papers organised, my attention has been swayed by my digital clutter. I purchased my laptop just six months ago after lots of umming and arring. Being so new, it’s surprising how much I already have stored on it, in the form of images mainly. Although Marie Kondo makes no mention of technology in her book, this is something I’m planning on working on once I’ve worked my way through her book.
My next Konmari mission is Komono, AKA miscellaneous items, of which she has devised a list to work my way through. You’re probably wondering what Komono is? You know that junk drawer you have in your kitchen, the one where you keep random screws, pens, the odd stamp, some coins maybe? That’s komono. Things you keep just because, just incase. Komono is make up, electrical equipment, tupperware… things that live in your home, but perhaps not used. Just taking up cupboard space, gathering dust. Komono is going to be the difficult one for me, where will I put all my ‘stuff’? I’m going to have to be ruthless. Keep checking back to find out how I get on!