Spark Joy: The Problem With KonMari and a More Realistic Organization Plan for Moms in 2019

A Realistic Organization Plan for Moms in 2019

2019 came in with a bang and with it brought…. organization porn?!

Thanks to the popular Netflix series, Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, the masses are attempting to take control of their lives by folding their laundry in thirds and stacking everything upright. I'm not surprised at the popularity of this craze. There's something quite enjoyable about watching other people organize their homes (and knowing that some people live in a much higher level of disorder is strangely satisfying). By the end of each episode, you’re drawn into the mesmerizing KonMari ways and soon you’re tempted to sort through your entire home, drawer-by-drawer, and decide what sparks joy.

This is where it gets messy, so to speak. Often what sparks joy for me, and I’m sure for many moms, is looking around my home and seeing all the signs of happy kids; toys on the floor, muddy boots in the entryway, mess from a fun craft. But am I creating an excuse to have a messy home? There have been times when I have felt embarrassed at the state of the house, and that’s when I know it’s gone too far. It can so quickly go from being 'chilled' to feeling ashamed and overwhelmed, and suddenly you’re spiraling into angry-mom mode, feeling frustrated, underappreciated and resentful. And all while the mess continues to grow.

The problem with the (deceptively) simple KonMari method is that it needs to be 100% perfect, and nothing less. If my clothes aren’t folded in thirds, am I a failure? Of course not, it is one perfectionist’s way of maintaining order and, ultimately, it’s really a system of organization rather than a tiding method. The KonMari method is also only a first (really enormous) step. It will help you organize, but we still need to have a clean house, the method is only as good as it’s user. Your socks are folded into thirds; but if you still feel cheerios crunching under your feet can you still find that inner calm?

Here is a checklist of simple tasks for organization, tidying and cleaning in 2019 that, for most of us, will be manageable. There's still time to re-write your new year resolutions into something more attainable that you will accomplish and feel proud of.  

 

2019 ORGANIZATION GOALS:      

Marie Kondo is certainly right in that the method of simplifying and finding joy in minimalism will make your life easier. The KonMari method of organization is to break down into categories and purge what doesn’t spark joy. But what does that really mean!? Especially if purging with kids, asking them if each item sparks joy is as much fun as getting pecked to death by a chicken.

Here are some ways to purge that are realistic for busy moms, but will still guarantee success:

Purge Toys: Most of us need to purge toys, it’s an area that can quickly get out of control and clutter up the entire home. Strap on your patience and do this task with the kids.

Purge if:
-It's broken or missing pieces
-It's no longer age appropriate  
-It's a duplicate 
-They wouldn’t even notice it’s missing (These are often Happy Meal Toys or junk they get in a birthday party loot bag. Tip: try this for minimalist birthday parties instead)  

Beyond that, use your personal judgement on your purging comfort level. Keep in mind, it’s been proven that kids with less toys are more creative and more focused.

Purge Closet: Like the toys, our closets are another area that can also use some help. Here are our deal-breaker tips to purging your closet:

Purge if:
-It no longer fits
-You haven't worn it recently (if you didn’t wear it last summer, you won’t wear it this summer)
-It has a tear or stain
-It's uncomfortable or itchy
-It isn’t a timeless piece, and looks dated
-It’s a duplicate (nobody needs 3 pairs of grey sweatpants)  

With purging overall, drop the "just in case" excuse. We have all done it, I’ll keep this just in case. Just in case really means never. So next time you find yourself saying I’ll keep this, just in case…pause then say goodbye to the item and hello to living in a more meaningful way.     

 

 

So, your home is purged of the extras. Now what? Surprise! that peaceful-home feeling is really an ongoing game of keepy-uppy. Here is how you can stay on top of tidying and not reach that feeling of overwhelm again:

2019 DAILY TIDYING GOALS:

Make the Bed. It takes 30 seconds and can bring a big sense of control to a room. I’ve also heard “when you’re seeking romance, a welcoming bed beckons love into your life” or as I like to put it, “a tidy bed will make you feel dirty” so make your bed and look forward to more sexy time.

The Tuck. Tuck in your chair when you leave the table. It’s simple to do, it looks tidy and it's plain old good manners.

Put toys away each night. Have the kids help, make it a simple process and don’t expect too much. They can manage putting items into a basket, but don’t expect them to separate the blocks from the Lego men until that’s a less daunting, age-appropriate task. Once the toys are away, it’s much easier to relax with a glass of wine and enjoy some adult time without feeling overwhelmed by the chaos around you.

Put the mail away each night. File the bills, put the junk mail in the recycling bin. Don’t let it pile up, Taking time to address the mail daily will eliminate any missed payments and will give a feeling of financial control and a tidier counter.

 

2019 DAILY CLEANING GOALS:

Dishes. Rule of thumb: don’t let the dishes touch the sink. Get everyone into the habit of putting the dishes directly into the dishwasher. Run it overnight and empty it each morning. If you don’t have a dishwasher, follow through should be your rule. Follow through means wash + dry + put away! It is a three-step task. 

Laundry. Focus less on the folding into itty-bitty thirds and put that energy into just simply completing the three-step process, wash + dry + put away.

Sweep. Do a quick once over at the end of each day. Because the feeling of stepping on crud is like a sweet piece of hell.

Wipe. Tear a page out of Mrs. Hinches insta-stories and wipe down your kitchen and bathroom counters and mirrors each night.  This will keep the house cleaner and easier to manage overall (It also keeps you accountable to the dishes away rule because you can’t wipe the counter if your dishes are cluttering it). Once you get into the habit of wiping down daily, you may start to enjoy it. You’ll sleep better knowing your counters are shiny, I don’t know why this works, but it does.  

 

It’s proven that a clean environment can lead to a clearer mind. And while the KonMari way is an excellent pursuit at organization, it doesn’t mean you’re done. So scale back on that larger goal of a perfect garage and make a manageable goal to keep up with your day-to-day. You’ll soon find that the value in minimal energy used daily is a far better at creating a peaceful home than a daunting lifestyle-overhaul. So let’s make our 2019 goal to make that game of keepy-uppy fun to play, and to have what really sparks joy in our homes be what we already love the most: our messy kids.

 

Picture of Jennifer White

Author: Jennifer White

Jennifer White is a Toronto girl at heart who's now living in Hamilton. She works in marketing for Mabel’s Labels and is the mum to a beautiful and bright little girl. She normally has too many projects on the go and a few more in her head. She is also a rower, because it’s cheaper than therapy.

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