Spring Cleaning Your Home + Mind | My Experience with the MariKondo Approach

I consider myself to be a decent housekeeper and always considered my home well kept. I enjoy rearranging furniture and keeping up with the latest home trends, I would rather drool over a Pottery Barn catalog and roam the aisles of home goods shopping for home decor over anything else.

But recently, I have realized the walls of my home are caving in around me more than ever.

The past few years clutter has accumulated faster than I am willing to admit, and the more clutter the smaller this space has begun to feel. During my morning coffee every morning, I walk around for at least an hour putting items back where they belong before the hectic day even begins, for the most part, everything has its place, most times you can find the scissors in its regular drawer, etc.

I believe in making your home unique to your individuality, surrounding yourself with things that make you happy, my husband and I have always “tried” to be on the same page of “less is more.” I strive not to have an overabundance of items we don’t need or use, I feel anxious if I can’t see the majority of my kitchen countertop, and since having children I have had to get used to items continuously all over the floor.

My husband Steve, once a awful housekeeper (sorry honey) somehow and thankfully (hopefully not by my nagging) has become the same.

Since becoming a mother I quickly realized how hard it can be to balance everything that comes with motherhood. The kids seem to have more things now at three and five than they ever did as babies, laundry piles up faster than I can keep up with, my daughter’s love of crafting which means I will be vacuuming beads and glitter for years to come, her large Barbie caravan with all its accessories, and my son’s love of farming with tractors, trailers, fencing, animals… you understand. Right? ..

Honestly. My children have never been good at putting one activity away before getting out another, and that’s my fault since I have never taught them to do so. If they are playing well, I don’t dare interrupt them to tidy up before getting out the next activity, and at the end of the day we throw everything into the same bin and they get it ALL back out the next morning.

I have packed and sold many totes full of clothing and toys that my children have outgrown and have always been captivated by the mantras of simple living; the less is more concept or this era’s minimalist lifestyle, but somehow I haven’t kept at it “enough” and now I am sitting here right smack in the midst of a motherhood hurricane.

A few weeks ago the flu bug hit our home, hard. My son had no desire to do anything but sit and rock on my lap and rest. I am an antsy person, I don’t care to sit for long periods of time, and for that matter I don’t watch much television, but I do love any opportunity to hold my children which these days as they are getting older are far and few between.

Then I remembered hearing so much of this take over the world phenomenon new Netflix Series “The Magic of Tidying up with Marie Kondo” and decided this would be a great opportunity to see what all the buzz is about. I was thinking it was just another “simple living minimalism fad” and I really wanted to see how this “The Fine Japanese Art of Tying Up” was going to help me.


Marie Kondo’s approach. My first impression.

According to Marie’s approach, I have been doing it all wrong, upside down and backwards. The “KonMari” number one rule out of eight is to organize in “categories,” not by rooms. Hence, clothing, junk drawers, toys, etc. I’ve always gone from room to room to room, making my approach, I call “out of sight, out of mind” creating havoc and stress on myself but never coming up with a successful organizing solution and then waking up to do all over again the next day.

Over the past few weeks I have been Marie” Kondo-ing”  Marie Kondo Approach our home. Several trips to Goodwill and selling items on marketplace, my home is slowly taking a dramatic turn to where it was pre-children. I can breath because I can pick up the house and children’s toys in half the time which leaves me more time to do things I enjoy and that makes me happy, happy, happy.

I still have several categories left, but it is freeing when things feel as if they belong and everything starts to come together. My husband even got in on the action, he was thrilled that he had dresser drawers full of  T-shirts but only wore the same dozen, and after Mario Kondo-ing he had so much more room to put his clothes away and aware of what he actually owns and still wears after several years.

Devote a whole day once you start, just keep going and don’t look back.

I started with the things that have been bothering me the most, my closet and my kid’s toys. I have a closet full of clothes but never anything to wear. Do I need 10 pairs of black pants? No. I created a staple wardrobe keeping mostly the items that I love and can easily mix and match. Now it takes me half the time to pick something out and get ready.

My kid’s toys… like most kids, they have way, way too many toys. When I got started and in a rhythm, I couldn’t stop, does my five-year-old daughter need 25 Barbies and three identical Elsa’s? NO. Does she need 12 babies and a drawer full of doll clothes when she plays with the same two? NO. Does my three-year-old son need 25 cows, 18 trucks, three sets of blocks?  NO… NO NO NO! 

I organized the toys into bins: Each child once had a large unorganized toy box full, now they have half the toys but separated and organized into smaller bins set into shelves, Barbie’s in one tote, farm animals in another, etc… everything ORGANIZED.

When I was finished,  I was worried. I thought they were going to come home and cry and hate me from all of their missing things and remember it for the rest of their lives…

But the opposite happened! They play longer with their toys now than they did before; they didn’t even notice what was gone because they didn’t even know what they had.  We are now working on picking up one activity before moving on to the next which doesn’t always happen, and toys get mixed up but it takes minimal time to reorganize, and they actually like to reorganize it themselves. 

The whole perspective is to own less, live more, and live the life you’ve always wanted.

These items are just things, if you have less the harder it is to create a mess. The more clutter you have, the more you subconsciously feel cluttered causing you stress, like me walking around every morning and putting things back in their “place.”  Is it possible that we can be brainwashed in an hour of a television show?  Is it a mental state that we go into some trance that unconsciously causes us to look the other way as things are piling up?

Do we become attached to things?  I am not sure, but it has worked for me and I am going to continue! Happy Marie Kondo-ing!

“Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest. By doing this, you can reset your life and embark on a new lifestyle” – Marie Kondo.


Alexis is a photographer and writer at Live Northerly and Madison Mom, a mother to two energetic littles — Lydia and Leo — and a wife to her high school sweetheart Steven. She is a born and raised Wisconsin girl and now lives in the Driftless Region near her husband’s third-generation family farm. Alexis loves to celebrate life, from the little moments to the special occasions and hopes to inspire others to find the beauty around us! Follow her and her families adventures @wisconmom


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