This is not a title I would ever have imagined writing. I was an early adopter of the “What the heck could POSSIBLY be the use of the Apple Watch” attitude.  Plus, here I am, trying to shop LESS, and certainly not trying to inspire anyone else to shop MORE by recommending expensive pieces of electronics.

Life Changing Magic of the Apple Watch

And yet, I’ve found the Apple Watch to be such a powerful tool that I decided to share how the Watch has helped me reduce anxiety and feel less tethered to my iPhone (thus less likely to fall into all the distraction traps my phone offers me!).

In essence, this is a short(ish) story of how the Watch is, quite unexpectedly, helping me in my journey to simplify my life.

Context: Why I love my iPhone

I LOVE my iPhone. I use it to read books, to navigate big city traffic and find my way home when I’m lost while walking the dogs. (This happens to everyone, right?) My iPhone is my alarm clock, kitchen timer, calendar, appointment reminder.

Not to mention, the phone number my kids know and the schools call in emergencies.

Trying to go “hands-free”

The problem with a device that does all that is that I depend on it all day long. Which means that my kids constantly see me with my phone, and I hate that. I want to set a good example for them, but I’m also feel panicked that I’ll miss an important phone call or an alarm if my phone isn’t right next to me.

This is not conducive to reducing anxiety.

And if I’m honest, the moment I pick up my phone for a GOOD purpose, like checking traffic, I’m significantly more likely to check Facebook, maybe play some Tetris, even browse Amazon.com. Not productive (and sometimes quite expensive).

Trying out the Apple Watch

In mid-December, despite mocking the Apple Watch pretty much since it’s release, I had a sudden inspiration. If I could get notifications right there on my wrist for Reminders, Alarms, phone calls, etc, I might actually be able to handle not holding my phone in my hand all the time.

Thanks to Apple’s fantastic return policy, I decided to give this thing a try.

After a month, I can honestly say this watch has been a game changer for me.

5 ways the Watch has simplified my life

1. My phone stays in my purse at home until bedtime.

My vision of a simpler life includes giving my family (and others) my full attention. That’s hard when my phone is always nearby, waiting to distract me. (Added bonus — less time on my phone means my thumbs aren’t so sore!)

2. I rarely misplace my phone at home anymore.

I’m one of those people who puts things down in the most random places. And until we get our clutter under control, it’s particularly difficult to find those things once I’ve set them down. Thus, I’m saving quite a bit of time that I used to spend looking for my phone (or at least running to the computer to use the Find My iPhone app!). (Why isn’t that app on the Watch?!)

3. I rarely miss phone calls.

Frankly, I don’t use my phone as a “phone” all that often when I place calls, but I give out my cell phone as my main contact number (simpler than giving people my cell AND home phone numbers, having to check both voicemails, etc.). The problem has been that I often don’t hear my phone ring, which in turn, leaves me really stressed out when I’m expecting a call. I find myself constantly pulling my phone out to make sure I have no missed calls, and once it’s in my hand, I’ll end up checking email and Facebook before I even realize what I’m doing. But with the Watch, I’m alerted when I get a call, so my phone stays in my purse (see #1).

4. I have less “time anxiety.”

This is a benefit to the Apple Watch that I definitely did not expect. Being on that ADD spectrum, I find myself constantly losing track of the time, checking the clock in panic every couple of minutes, lest I miss an important appointment or forget to make a call or, well, whatever. Now I just set an alarm on my Watch, without worry that I won’t hear it because my phone is in another room! I even set several alarms for things like picking up my kids from school, so I have time to prepare to depart (like letting the dogs out and grabbing cold drinks; anything that can’t be done ahead of time!).

5. I’m more productive.

To be honest, keeping my phone in my purse is already a huge boost to productivity, but even beyond that, the ease of setting Reminders on my Watch has allowed me to get all those pesky, nagging little “don’t forget” messages out of my head, clearing head space for more important activities (like writing!). (Dave Ramsey’s GTD program relies a lot on this brain dump idea.)

So how exactly do I use Reminders? I set reminders for multi-step activities — like, “Set reminder to buy birthday card when I’m at Barnes and Noble.” and then, “Set reminder to send birthday card to Sarah on Friday at 9am.” Or while I’m driving and realize I forgot to email Alice’s school about a change in afternoon carpool, I can tell the Watch, “Set reminder to email school when I get home.” I even do it for little things, like if I’m brushing my teeth in the morning and realize I’m almost out of toothpaste, but keep forgetting to add it to the grocery list, I can “Set reminder in 15 minutes to add toothpaste to grocery list” — figuring I’m likely to be downstairs by then, right near my grocery list.

In short: I have very unexpectedly become an absolutely HUGE Apple Watch fan!

YOUR TURN:

What’s your experience with smart phones or smart watches? Love them? Hate them? “It’s complicated?” How do you manage these sneaky little devices so they are helpful tools, rather than life-complicating gadgets? I’d love for you to leave a comment here or on my Facebook page, or send me a private message through the Contact form.

All the best,

Andie

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I have to say, I was hoping that, by 2016, I would no longer be writing this kind of post.  When, I wonder, will I write the “Hey, this is what worked for me!  Here’s how you can do it, too!” success story?  Well, there’s always 2017, right?

Quick background — I started this blog back in September 2014 with the basic goal of simplifying my life by decluttering my home and shopping less.  I made a lot of progress at the end of 2014 and early 2015.  And then suddenly — HALT!  In April, 2015, we unexpectedly found our new home.  2.5 years of active searching, and suddenly….

Staging a Cluttered House

Suddenly, we had to get OUR house on the market in about 3 weeks.

Despite all the decluttering I’d done, our house was still stuffed. The realtor didn’t believe we could have the house ready in 3 weeks, but I was determined.  I spent all day coordinating repairpeople and painters, and all night packing everything we could live without for a couple months into a POD.

And we did it! We got our house on the market on time (wahoo!), and it sold quickly.

In  June, we moved into our new home, where we imagined ourselves starting fresh. Keeping the house tidy and clutter free.

But guess what? It turns out that simply moving to a new house does not suddenly turn us into the kind of people who remember to put things away when we finish using them. It does not magically cure a shopping addiction. And unpacking boxes packed too quickly to be well organized does not make decluttering easier.

In the end, there’s no escaping these three facts.

1. We need to own a lot less.
2. We (I) need to shop a lot less.
3. We need to put things away a lot more.

(It seems so simple when I write it out like that.)

But how on earth do I get there?!

Make Space for Creativity

2016’s Word of the Year “Make Space for Creativity”

Last year, for the first time, I chose a “Word of the Year.”  Control.  And while I didn’t become a totally new, organized person, I did shed some of the constant panic of feeling like life was spinning out of control while I just looked on.

After a lot of deliberation, I chose this year’s word (okay, phrase) of the year to reflect the overarching goals I have in 2016 — more space, and more creativity.

 

By space, I mean physically clearing things out of my home (and not replacing them!) so there is actually space to spread out a project, but also mentally clearing space from the overwhelm, to dream big dreams.

 

As for creativity, I have recently come to a quite stunning realization: I can make art that doesn’t involve my kids.

Long story short, I had no idea how much I loved making art until I discovered it was one of my favorite activities to do with my little kids. But I only made art with them.  I mean, what self-respecting adult creates art by themselves that looks suspiciously like something my Kindergartener might have produced on her own?!

Pride, swallowed.  Creating art leaves me feeling so satisfied, and, well, I can only get better, right?

Hang on — creating art is supposed to help with the clutter and overshopping?

Fair point.  In fact, it hasn’t helped, so far.  After all, since I determined I wanted to get better at art (in early 2015), I have bought pretty much every art supply I could think of. Including four different brands of colored pencils. (I mean…seriously?!)

What I did not do, however, was create very much art.

Instead, I indulged in aspirational shopping at its finest — I bought art supplies and books that made me FEEL like I was pursuing my goal to become a somewhat decent artist. When I felt depressed that I wasn’t getting better at art, I bought more supplies, because, you know, osmosis or something.

[Spoiler alert: it didn’t work!]

A new approach to stop overshopping

So I’ve decided to try something completely radical to tackle the overshopping.

I am NOT going to focus on the shopping per se.  In fact, I’m giving myself permission to shop as much as I want.  Trying to stop overshopping is like trying to drink less Coke — aka, that time I doubled my Coke intake in a week.  Not effective for me.

Instead, I’m creating the goal of every. single. day. making something creative. Writing a blog post, drawing a birthday card, even making a creative new recipe — I’m keeping the definition loose for now.  (Gotta keep that perfectionist paralysis under control, you know?)  I just want to build a new habit of creating something new every day.

And at the same time, working on decluttering a little bit every day. Maybe 5 hours if I have time, maybe 5 minutes, just so long as I do a little tiny something each day.

(While these goals may sound a bit like New Year’s resolutions, let’s not jinx them by applying that label.)

I have a theory that these two activities combined are going to become a way for me to satisfy the underlying need to shop.  The need to have something new in my life.

Stay tuned for updates here or on my Facebook page!

Your turn

What are your decluttering goals for the New Year? Do you have a Word of the Year? Please share in the comments, here or on Facebook, or send me a private message — I always love hearing from you!

Happy 2016!!!

  • Lori - Good luck with your new goals.I love that you have given yourself permission to re-focus on creating, not gathering. After decluttering my entire house with the Konmari method that I discovered first on your blog, I have made great progress. I still have too much and I still overshop, however, so I am going to be BOLD (my word for the year) in facing these behaviours. One is caused by guilt and one is just because I have to face the fact that I LOVE getting new things! And that is ok. I bought Marie Kondo’s new book and am commiting to focusing in on my ideal lifestyle.ReplyCancel

    • Andie - Hi Lori — I just have to say, it makes me so happy to hear about your success with the KM method! And I agree – there is nothing fundamentally wrong with loving to get new things! I think it becomes a problem when I have so many things, I don’t actually get to enjoy the new things, because they become lost in the mess of all the other new things I was so excited to buy! Love your WOTY, too — good luck!ReplyCancel

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Let’s talk about decluttering for a minute.

How many times have you read or heard something like this:  “I donated 75% of my possessions, and you know what?  I never missed a thing!”

All I can think when I read that is, bully for you!  I mean, seriously, I’m happy it works that way for you.

Still, repeatedly reading that  makes me feel awful.  Like there is something wrong with me, because:

I constantly miss things I’ve donated, and regret having donated them.

Sometimes I’ve regretted something I got rid of almost as the donation truck was leaving.  Other times, the regret sets in a few years later, like when I really needed my old shawl-like scarf to wear to a special event.  And my mind is screaming, “See? Decluttering is not a good idea!  What were you thinking?!!!!

I’ll tell you what I was thinking.  I was thinking that yes, I’m going to regret donating many things.  Apparently, that’s just who I am.

But what I would regret even more is keeping every single thing I might have donated, and watching my house continue to overflow with too much stuff.  

How can I possibly appreciate what I have when there is just too much of it to even be sure what’s there?

I write this because I think it’s important, as you’re decluttering, to recognize that you might actually regret things that you give away.  There’s nothing wrong with you if you have regrets.  (Note to self: read my own blog!)  For you, it just might be part of a much larger process that is so worth it you can accept a few disappointments along the way.

Let’s talk about shopping

I’m doing a 12-week course with April Benson, who wrote the awesome To Buy or Not To Buy* that I’ve mentioned before; and it’s become very clear that one of my primary shopping triggers is good old FOMO – the fear of missing out.

Sometimes this is legitimate.  Just saw an original work of art exactly the style and size you’ve been looking for?  You’d be a fool to let that slip away!  (Maybe.  Also note that there was an implied – “I’ve been looking for this for a while” sentiment there, rather than a spontaneous purchase!)

Or maybe you’re on vacation and found a bracelet that will absolutely positively match every outfit you have and be that piece of jewelry that defines your style?  Well, you’re right, you might not be able to find it again at home.

Heck, even signing up for April’s class is a good example — only 2 seats left folks!  (It’s ironic.)   Although April will no doubt run her class again, but still.

 

So how can we pass up that once-in-a-lifetime opportunities items?

I think the same perspective I shared above can help.

Ask yourself what you’ll regret more – missing out on a cool purchase, or having your house overrun by the cumulative effects of those cool purchases.

Expect lots more thoughts about overshopping (which autocorrect is convinced is supposed to say “overshooting”) in the coming weeks, as I tackle my own issues with compulsive shopping with April’s help and the support of 5 other awesome classmates.

*Affiliate link.  You pay nothing more, I make a couple pennies — seriously — if you buy through my link.

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Morning Pages.  The reason I have been voluntarily getting up at 5:15 am all week.

Getting up earlier than absolutely necessary is something I simply don’t do.  I work best at night.  I’m useless in the morning.  If I see dawn, it’s because I haven’t gone to bed yet.

(And incidentally, getting up at 5:15 am, I am actually finished with Morning Pages and still haven’t seen dawn!  Injustice.)

Get on with it, you’re thinking.  What are Morning Pages?!

MorningPages

What the heck are Morning Pages?!

Morning Pages, simply put, are three handwritten pages of stream-of-consciousness journaling written first thing upon waking up in the morning.

But what’s the point of Morning Pages?

I learned about Morning Pages in Julia Cameron’s amazing book, The Artist’s Way.*  (She’s since written a smaller book exclusively about this practice, called The Miracle of Morning Pages.*)

The point of Morning Pages is to tap into your own subconscious mind.  This is why they must be done first thing in the morning.  Ms. Cameron argues, and I reluctantly admit she’s completely right, that if we write once our day is under way, we end up reflecting on what has already happened that day.  But sitting down to write first thing, before doing anything else (I do brush my teeth and grab water), all those thoughts that swim subconsciously around our brains end up coming out on paper.

The end goal is to identify recurring themes, capture creative ideas, feel inspired.  Or at the very least, get a bunch of whining out of your system before starting the day.

What if I have nothing to say?

Writing Morning Pages is discipline, and as such, is (according to Julia and my own experience) most effective when it’s done every single day.

What if you wake up and have nothing to say?  Julia suggests that that’s what you write.  “I have nothing to write this morning.  This is stupid.  The sun’s not even up, my eyes are shutting, and my stupid dog is standing by the door demanding to go out.” (Okay, those might have been my words one day, not Julia’s, but you get the point.)

Even if you write for days just whining about the same stuff (“I hate my job.”  “I hate my bedspread.”  “I hate cooking.”) you’re likely to see patterns emerging, which can in turn inspire action.

I’d rather type.

Nope, says Julia.  The three handwritten pages are on full sized paper (I use this* with the Levenger Circa notebooks*; I also used Excel to make my own version of the annotated paper (download for free!) for when I run out, and because I like my own printer paper better.  But I digress.).  Julia cites theory about our typing speed exceeding our thought process or something.  I’m not sure how much science backs it up, but I have found that typing isn’t at all effective for me.

You sound a little obsessed with the Morning Pages.

Maybe.  All I can say is that I have tried journaling for years (my record is about 3 consecutive days, followed by intense feelings of resentment toward the empty pages in the journal), I’ve been in therapy, and I’ve read oodles of self-help books, and nothing has helped as much as the Morning Pages.  (Added bonus — they’re free!!!)

And yes, I tell everyone about them.  Not that I think anyone has tried them yet, but

“Show me the money!”

I know, lots of “Morning Pages are so great!” and not a lot of evidence of their greatness.  So here is a quick(ish) summary of a few pretty major discoveries I’ve made in just about five weeks of regularly writing morning pages.

  1. I feel calmer throughout the day, more in control.  Little things don’t bother me as much (although I will sometime grab my journal and write about them to get them out of my system mid-day).  If for some reason don’t get to write (or finish) the Morning Pages, I feel snappy and completely out of control, like I’m watching my day happen instead of being involved.
  2. I want to create my own art, not just encourage my kids.  I realized early in my parenting years that the one activity I can sit and do for hours with my kids, never feeling bored, is art.  Since I didn’t see myself as an artist, it felt stupid to do art projects on my own, so I’d encourage my kids to do them “with” me.  Then I realized as I was writing every day that it’s actually okay for me to make art by myself, just for me, and I’m now enrolled in my very first art class.
  3. I’ve created a new blog.  As I wrote, I was constantly thinking about paper-based communication.  “Wouldn’t that photo make a beautiful card?”  “Why don’t parents have their children write thank you cards?”  “When did I stop sending birthday cards?”  Thoughts like that.  And I remembered being a kid with so many pen pals all over the world (remember Pen Pals?!), and how much I loved everything from writing and receiving letters, to picking out the stationary and stamps, even the smell of my hometown post office.  Anyway, I realized that I wanted to write about these things, and hopefully inspire others to write more, too.
  4. Perfectionism had once again stopped me from writing on this blog.  Sometime around Christmas 2014, I had this “amazing” idea to do a series of blog posts with titles based on the alphabet.  I spent a while planning out the series, gathering ideas, planning the publication schedule.  (I am SO good at planning.)  Then it came time to actually write the posts, and I froze.  In my head, the posts were well-researched, filled with wisdom from other writers, but in the end, I realized I can only write what I actually know.  So now I’m back.  Trying again.  Again.

As always, I wanted to let you know that I deeply appreciate all your support and your own sharing in the comments and in emails.  

Have you ever written Morning Pages?  Do you have questions?  Let me know in the comments — and check out Julia Cameron’s books above!

All the best,

~Andie

 

*Affiliate links.  No extra cost to you, but Amazon gives a tiny kickback to me!

 

  • Rachael-Renae - We use the excuse that LIFE gets in the way… we have become closer as a world community due to technology yet our ways of thinking outside the box has become highly effected by LIFE TRENDS.
    It certainly is the everyday small stuff that matters, and I can understand how these “morning pages” can & would help many of us if we took the time; in a very busy world that we have created that seems to have a lot of life trends that are “nothing of great importance.”
    I will be taking this challenge up to see what “morning pages” reveal to me!

    Thanks for reaching out in our meeting spot! 100DayGoalsReplyCancel

    • Andie - Hi Rachael-Renae — thanks for your observations and for inspiring me to finally sit down and write this post! ;-). (#100DayGoals Facebook group led by Julia Bickerstaff of TheBusinessBakery.com.au)ReplyCancel

  • Charlotte - I was just thinking about you the other day and was wishing you would post again. And here you are! So glad you are back. As always everything you say resonates completely with me. I have a large tub filled with letters from different people from when I was about 10 because I used to write tons of letters to different people. Now I’m lucky if I send my parents a birthday card on time. Please keep writing-you inspire me- I so want to blog also but am so scared -damn those voices!ReplyCancel

    • Andie - Hi Charlotte — that is so wonderful that you still have those letters! I got rid of all of mine many moves ago, and now I wish I’d at least kept a sampling. My thinking tends to be very “all or nothing.”
      I’m glad my posts inspire you! Would love to hear your voice more!ReplyCancel

  • Linda B - It has been a while since you posted this, but I just read it (directed here by Sally’s Lovely Links.)

    A friend introduced me to the Artist’s Way about 5 years ago. I have been faithfully doing Morning Pages ever since. I really, really love this process. It has helped me to find the small spaces to experience my creative life when everything else seems to consume me. I wish I could say that I had taken on major new creative work in this time. . . but not yet. I am still plugging away. I won’t stop.ReplyCancel

    • Andie - Hi Linda – Thank you for sharing your experience with the Morning Pages! As for major new creative work — if I had been doing ANYTHING creative, it probably wouldn’t have been such a striking change! 😉 Love hearing that they help.ReplyCancel

  • Kat - Hi Andie! Thank you so much for this post. I love the morning pages idea…I actually got out of bed at 5:15 this morning for the first time ever…and then I stumbled on your blog again and saw this post. Also, I feel you on the perfectionism stopping the writing. It holds me back on my own blog. I do hope you continue to write and share.ReplyCancel

    • Andie - Hi Kat — Perfectionism definitely has its place, but not when it completely paralyzes, us!
      PS – I enjoy your blog, too! And I used to be a big fan of the public library…except, until I get my life organized enough to return books on time, it turned out that I was actually spending MORE money to borrow books from the library. Ooops. But, hey, I need goals, right?ReplyCancel

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Continuing to look at Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I wanted to share a very small sample of her more detailed advice (much of which I either missed or dismissed as too radical during my first read-through of this book).

(This is the third post in my KonMari series. In the first, I looked at some of the big picture advice she offers for whole home decluttering. Then, I offered some quick thoughts to help you choose between the audio, eBook or Hardcover format.)

How to fold clothes KonMari style

– CLOTHES: Don’t Stack Clothing!

Yes, the traditional folding works in department store displays, where the clothing is stacked only for a short time. At home, though, she advocates a specific folding method that results in all clothes being visible at a glance in your drawer – no stacking! She argues that the tighter, smaller fold actually results in fewer wrinkles than traditional stacking, as items are not weighted down on the bottom of a pile. Plus, you have a clear sense of your options when you open the drawer.

Since my drawers were, frankly, the neatest, more organized parts of my home, I completely dismissed this advice for a while. Right up until, in a flu-induced fever, I apparently considered it imperative to immediately refold my layering-shirts drawer in this style. (Go figure.)

Once I stepped back and looked at the results, I fell immediately in love, started right in on the rest of my drawers, and attacked my son’s dresser later that night! 8 year old Bennett was just as surprised and delighted as I’d been!

The real test came this morning, though, when I had the (not-fever-induced) urge to try this in 5 year old Alice’s drawers. Since she naturally only has clothes she loves, her drawers are fairly sparse to begin with, so I hadn’t thought it was really necessary. Plus, she’s NOT a fan of change, so I watched, holding my breath, as she went to choose her outfit this morning. She opened her drawer, exclaimed, “What the…?”, and then just stood there a moment. Finally, she asked me, “Did you do this, Mommy?” I was ready to apologize and beg forgiveness, when she grinned, ran over and hugged me, and exclaimed that she just LOVED seeing all her BEAUTIFUL clothes ALL AT ONCE! It must be the happiest drawer in the world, and she can even see her Ariel tee-shirt even when she isn’t wearing it!

Still, it’s not an unqualified success yet. I fold clothes as I take them out of the dryer, and that’s not something I can really change. (If I don’t fold them then, I won’t fold them at all.) But folding the KonMari method makes it hard for me to carry stacks of clothes upstairs. Plus, the folding takes longer. On the other hand, I’ve never felt actual satisfaction putting clothes away in my dresser before, so I suppose the joy offsets the inconveniences…for now!

– BOOKS: Someday will never come.

Kondo is very strict about books. Don’t save books to reread someday (or, heaven forbid, save UNREAD books to actually READ someday) because someday never actually comes. The right time to read a book is right when you buy it — that’s the moment when the book is speaking to you most clearly.

The reality for me? I’m struggling more with books than any other category! I have intense joy from almost every book I pick up! Still, now that I’m tuning into my possessions more, I’ve realized that Kondo is totally right — I’d never noticed it before, but those unread books ARE weighing me down with guilt and stress. (I’ve just temporarily determined that I’ll buckle down and read them right away, rather than donate unread, lol!)

Though I haven’t managed to KonMari my book collection yet, her method has greatly impacted my book buying habits. I’ve always bought pretty much every book that caught my eye, and now I’m getting into the habit of simply adding them to my Amazon.com wishlist instead. (As a side benefit, you know how Amazon has these new “add-on” items that have a minimum order requirement just to ship the thing? Well, now I find I usually have something in my wishlist that I’m ready to order, and can meet the requirement without adding any “just because” items. Hurray!) I’ve also removed about a dozen books from that wishlist, just in a month of doing this, having already lost interest. In the past, I would have been donating those books, unread, right from my shelves, feeling guilty about the wasted money.

– SALES AND BULK-BUYING: This doesn’t save money.

Kondo argues very persuasively that buying in bulk (or buying on sale for a future need) doesn’t save money in the long run. Those “for the future” items are taking up valuable space you could be using right now. Space that you pay rent or a mortgage on every month. Why not let the stores pay to store those extra items? Kondo asks.

Still, I will continue to buy toilet paper in bulk because we use it at an alarming rate, and we’re really not storing it long at all. (Although, if buying in bulk only provides us with a couple weeks of toilet paper, maybe that’s not really what she means by bulk buying. Huh. Anyway.)

– PAPERWORK: Have only one inbox

Keep all incoming papers in one spot only, Kondo says. Initially, I thought having school papers, mail, receipts, etc. all getting dumped into one box each day would be a disaster. On the other hand, I reasoned, my paper clutter is already a disaster, so could it really get worse?

Like the clothes folding, I figured I’d go ahead and try this out, and woah! What a difference! Rather than feeling more reluctant to sort my inbox, I actually find it’s more interesting and fun with so many diverse items. (I can NOT explain the psychology behind this.) Don’t get me wrong — I still don’t sort daily, or sometimes even weekly. But I DO get through everything, and I’ve never been able to say that before!

What’s more? My whole family loves it! There’s never any question of where to put a paper that needs to either be filed or otherwise dealt with; AND for unfiled things, there’s no question where to look to find them!

So far, this has been an unqualified success for over a month.


Your turn!

Have you tried any of Marie Kondo’s advice? Have you had any big successes or eye-opening moments? I’ve love to hear from you in the comments below or through the contact form above! I’m also looking for KonMari method stories to share on my blog, as interviews or guest posts, so contact me if you’d be interested!

If you found these notes helpful, I’d love if you’d share with others who might be interested!  This book is too amazing not to share the love!

Best,

~ Andie

  • Lori Wong - I just finished reading this book and found it interesting and sort of terrifying! I am going to give it a go in March. Today I will try to stack my clothes vertically. It is so funny to think that this is a major departure from my standard procedure that it freaks me out a bit!ReplyCancel

    • Andie - Good luck! It really is funny the things that inspire us v. terrify us, right? 😉ReplyCancel

  • Elisa - I am neck deep in tidying my “komono” having already processed clothes, books, and paper. Loving every hardworking minute of the process. And everything I have processed so far (I started in November, but got sidetracked during the holidays) has stayed perfectly tidy. I get so much joy from seeing everything in its place and a place for everything. The only thing I haven’t done is fold my socks as she describes. I actually enjoy doing laundry now. Can’t wait to have the whole house done. Recommending it to every one I talk to.ReplyCancel

    • Andie - Hi Elisa — I saw a dad reading the book at basketball practice the other day. That’s how popular this is. I guess its continued popularity is fairly well guaranteed when so many people are reading and then RECOMMENDING to all their friends (and, occasionally spouse; this dad was apparently “ordered” to read the book!).ReplyCancel

  • Karen Hayward - Hi Andie – I am fairly new to your site – I also fell in love with the Marie Kondo book and am amazed at the results when I use her methods (WHEN being the operative word; as I also am having a lot of difficulty with the book thing!) As for clothes – I also fold them straight from the dryer – and I find her method fine as long as I put folded items directly into a basket – they stay folded this way and I can bring them all upstairs and sort and put away easily.ReplyCancel

    • Andie - Hi Karen, great idea! I’ve been trying this out (think I need a different kind of basket, but TRYING not to fall back on my old “Let’s run out to Container Store and get the “perfect” basket!” solution!). I’ve also found that if I fold the clothes normally, I’m usually just folding each item in half one more time when I put in the drawers. Still, I’m liking your basket trick, as I can then easily put all my son’s shirts/pants etc together, and my daughter’s, and everything is all arranged (plus folded!) when I go upstairs! Thanks for the tip!ReplyCancel

      • sunny - Andie – I too love running out to get more containers! Now that I’ve gathered all my empty containers in one place.. boy do I have a lot. I’ll need some of them when I start finding homes for things. Now I’m curious about folding my clothes the KM (what my friends and I have shortened “KonMari” to when we email about it daily) way. I will take inspiration from you and start folding that way. :)ReplyCancel

        • Andie - Hi Sunny — oh yes, that’s precisely what the letters KM mean to me, too! I’m finding it a little ironic that I’m having to find a place to store…my containers, until I’m sure of what I’ll need once I’ve “finished” decluttering. 😉 We often switch containers around based on what projects we’re currently working on, so I find it super helpful to have some extras around. But the 50+ reusable shopping bags that I’ve counted (including everything from canvas bags from Anthropologie to the bags they sell at Whole Foods that get me every time with their super cute designs!) are, without question, excessive. Since I used to keep them in all different places (depending on when and where I expected to use them, or where I last used them), I’m very grateful to KM for setting me on this path of gathering ALL like items together. I would have guessed I had about 20….ReplyCancel

          • sunny - Andie – it IS ironic that we have to find places to store empty containers. I had to empty out a really long closet that I’d just tossed stuff into for eight years. When I empted it out, I filled an entire corner of my bedroom with empty containers of all sizes. There have to be at least 50 containers there. I live in a small condo so there’s no room to put the empty containers. As for shopping bags, I too have way too many. There are just so many cute ones out there! (Trader Joes makes particularly cute ones…now I want to see the ones Whole Foods sells!) It would seem that I’m as addicted to containers/bags as I am to “stuff” in general :)

          • Andie - Yes! That’s it, exactly! I adore bags and containers. But I do NOT adore storing bags and containers, and never being sure which container/bag I might have stored x thing in…because it’s just all too much. But it is hard to resist (and I have seen the Trader Joe’s bags — even cuter than WF bags, actually. Oooof.)

  • HappinessSavouredHot - I love all the advice you’re providing here. Clothes and books are my biggest challenge. One day at a time…ReplyCancel

    • Andie - Thank you! Cannot recommend Marie Kondo’s book enough!ReplyCancel

  • Rachel DuBois - I’m loving the book and the KonMari process. I’ve done clothes and books and, slightly out of order, my makeup. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll tackle paperwork though I’m not looking forward to that because we run two businesses from home and there are a LOT of papers that I’ve been hiding from which I would have to face.

    What do you use for your one thing that holds all your papers?ReplyCancel

    • Andie - Hi Rachel — yay, another KonMari fan! 😉 For papers, I have a wire basket (the kind meant as an inbox on a desk) that sits on a small table in our front hall, to receive papers from backpacks, mail that doesn’t go straight into recycling, etc. Paperwork in my biggest nemesis!ReplyCancel

  • Stina Moller - Some adpects of the method are fantastic. However, there are a couple things I am struggling with. The writing is very hyperbolic — the constant referring to throwing out 30-something bags of stuff gets tedious. There is a lot of repetition. And what book on organizing has NO pictures?!

    There is no reference to armoires… I don’t have a dresser with drawers and do not find plastic drawer units to have any aesthetic appeal. I only have shelves to put my clothes on. How would that work? Any ideas?ReplyCancel

    • Andie - Hi Stina! Your comment about no pictures made me smile. At first, I was struck by that, too, but then realized, actually, “Unstuff Your Life” by Andrew Mellen (a book that happened to be on my desk, so I could check!) has no pictures. And I’ve mostly listened to Peter Walsh’s classics (Like “It’s All Too Much”) so I have no association with the book having pictures. I think the organizing books that focus more on the aesthetic side of organizing (crossing over into decorating) are more dependent on pictures. (Although, I recently read a book that was sort-of about decorating, and it had no pictures, either, and that really did strike me as odd! Of course, the title has flown from my mind!).

      As for the armoires — I’ve seen lots of pictures of people storing clothes on shelves in pretty baskets (thus the storage piece itself sparking a bit of joy, too!). I think MK suggests shoe boxes and plastic drawer units because the sizes tend to work well, and we often already have them (in other words — don’t rush out and spend money on storage units!). Like you, however, I’m not crazy about plastic storage (aesthetically speaking!).

      Best of luck on your journey — would love to hear how you end up solving your clothes storage (or other) issues in your home!ReplyCancel

    • sunny - Hi Stina! I too want photos of the process…and the book has none! BUT in the works are FOUR new books – many of them with photos. I hear they’re more practical, how-to books! :)

      If you need visuals, you can look on pinterest for “marie kondo” or “konmari” and you’ll find many article and photos of people’s progress. (it’s how I found this blog entry!) I also look on Twitter and Instagram for #konmari or #mariekondo and find many, many photos. It’s quite fun. One woman on twitter had only hanging organizers for her linens, so she folded them all and placed them side by side in the five-section hanging dividers. So she did the marie kondo folding method and then organized them side by side. Perhaps something similar would work for you?ReplyCancel

      • Andie - Sunny — thank you so much for that helpful suggestion!ReplyCancel

  • Herschel Goeke - Excellent post. I was checking constantly this blog and I’m impressed! Very useful information specially the last part I care for such information much. I was looking for this certain information for a very long time. Thank you and best of luck.ReplyCancel

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