Out With The Old & In With The New: Using KonMari To Get Rid Of The ‘Stuff’ In Your Life


Since coming back from a wonderful camping holiday in early February I’ve been completely overwhelmed by life.

We walked through our front door and into a blissfully clean house that we’d taken the time to tidy before leaving (because there’s nothing worse than returning home to a huge mess!) but within 3 hours we were back in chaos.

Bags that needed unpacking, toys that had been instantly spread throughout the house, piles of holiday washing, the reality of returning to the real world. Cupboards were bare of food, lunch boxes that needed filling for kindergarten the following day, gardens overrun by weeds and plants dying a slow death in the heat. It was pretty clear to me within a day of returning that the relaxation that was achieved on holiday (minus the 10 hours a day that weren’t relaxing, such as the hours of the day my children weren’t sleeping!) that something’s gotta give.

I can’t keep on top of this without driving myself to further insanity.

I need to fix this.

I bought a book just before I went away called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo.


The plan was to read it while I was on holiday. I had visions of relaxing back in my deck chair outside my tent, the book in one hand and a bottle of beer in the other (I momentarily gave up on the no alcohol policy because HOLIDAY) but that of course (duh!) never happened! In fact the book never even left my bag. In between the chasing children down the beach, carting them back under my arm while they screamed because the sand burnt their feet, the cooking, bug control and socialising, I just never got the chance!

Since I’ve been home the reality of home life has hit.

Too. Much. Stuff.

On top of that: Kids who won’t eat anything except carbs and processed food. Lunch boxes that quite frankly would appall anyone with a judgmental bone in their body because they don’t contain fruit nor vegetables in any capacity (sue me). So many freakin toys my children don’t play with ANY of them. Literally. No home baking because quite frankly I can’t be assed. In fact, I would quite like to curl up in my lazy boy chair and go on strike!

And I know for a fact I’m not alone.

Mums everywhere are exhausted and hot and at the end of their tether. I know this because I’m reading it all over social media!

Yesterday I finally found the opportunity to sit down and open this book that promises to change my life and I’m ready to take a crack at it. Charlene at Teacher by Trade, Mother by Nature (who I initially heard about this book from) is blogging her way through the book. Thankfully I can follow her journey and inspire myself to get through it! Because it’s pretty full on.

KonMari (the method she teaches in the book) promises to change your entire life. By removing the excess in your home and only keeping those things that you love your whole life will be renewed. It’s an interesting and provocative concept!

Let’s be honest, throwing out shit that cost money is hard! If you’re anything like me you can’t let go of the cost factor. You hate waste. I hate waste! I always think to myself that there are people who would get use from this, that or the other and so I load all my unwanted goods into shopping bags ready to donate, only to then find them piled in the corner of my bedroom for months on end! I need to just toss it out. Out of sight, out of mind right? If only I had a garage I’d have a garage sale! But I don’t. So I need to stop with the ‘but that cost me $20!’ even if it’s an item of clothing that no longer fits, looks terrible or just something that has never been comfortable and I never wear. Or an ornament that someone gifted me long ago that I don’t love, jewelry that hurts my ears, a candle I’ve never lit, a book I’ll never read (or one I’ll never read again), a toy that has never been played with, a blanket never used, clothes that are too small for the boys anymore and furniture that doesn’t fit in our house.

I want to make way for the NEW. For tastes that are my own.


And I want less shit so I don’t have to tidy up ALL DAY LONG. Ok, with kids I’ll still be tidying up all day long! Who am I kidding?! But at least it will be less to tidy.

Part of my problem (and probably the beginning of my clutter issue) is that when my mum died 13 years ago I ended up with tons and tons of her things. Clothes, books, ornaments, make up, furniture and piles of paper. Scrapbooks of her gardening, her crafts, her ideas, her yearly planner diaries, two novels she wrote (can you imagine the sheaf of paper that is?!), her tapes (yes, the old cassette tape type!), books full of poetry and artwork. She was an amazing artist so the pictures grace my walls with pleasure but a lot of the rest of it is just taking up space in drawers. Egyptian cotton pillowcases (the kind that you would never actually use because they’re adorned with delicate hand embroidery and probably cost an arm and a leg). Antique tea sets (I don’t drink tea!) and beautiful bowls and crockery. Don’t get me wrong, it’s beautiful stuff. Gorgeous even. But it’s not me. She loved things of beauty and she spent hours seeking things out. She went to antique shops like you and I would visit Kmart, endlessly searching for her next treasure. Of course, given the sentimental value attached I held onto it all. And some of it is likely worth a bit but I wouldn’t even know where to start attempting to sell it though I do feel her treasures deserve to be in a home where they are appreciated and loved. As a consequence I never really decorated my house with my OWN stuff and I don’t even really know what my own style would be because I’m surrounded by stuff that isn’t my own, so much so I have no space to put my own personal touch to it.

It’s apt that I decided I need to do this on her birthday.

For anyone who has lost a parent and gained possessions, it is a hard road to go down. First sorting and accepting ownership of things at a time when emotion is raw. Then realising years later that you have so many things that are not your own. That you don’t love like they did. But because they loved it it can be incredibly difficult to part with such items because in many ways, their energy is still attached to that item and you relate that item to them. And because you loved them, you hold onto the item.

For this reason I’m about to start the tackle on my own mountain of belongings first before moving on to her stuff. It’s a shame I quit alcohol because I’m pretty sure that would come in handy (alcohol lowers the inhibitions and I’m sure would encourage me to be ruthless!). I like the motto this book offers though. To hold each item in your hands and ask yourself ‘Does this inspire joy?’. If not, throw it out.

Simple right?

There is an order to the madness of KonMari tidying starting with clothes. Clothes will be easier … right?! One can hope!

Have you ever accumulated a loved ones possessions after death? What did you do with them?

Is your house over run with stuffDoes this book appeal to you?

 Linking up with: #IBOT @ Essentially Jess 

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36 thoughts on “Out With The Old & In With The New: Using KonMari To Get Rid Of The ‘Stuff’ In Your Life

    1. I just feel like my life is out of control! My day starts at 5am and I get home at 6.45pm these days after a change in circumstance means I’ve had to rejig my entire work day. I just want to come home to relative order (hahahahaaaa!)

  1. I’m actually a little over hearing about the book, lol. I struggle with decluttering for long, boring reasons, but I’ve made progress in recent years – pretty much I shove things in a suitcase and then look at it a month or two later and I’ve lost all connection to it and can throw it out. Slow and steady wins the race.
    Vanessa recently posted…Personal Price LimitsMy Profile

  2. I read an article about the KonMarie method at the end of last year and vowed I would make it a priority this year. So far I’ve managed to do all of my clothes. It was liberating getting rid of so much stuff that had literally been sitting unworn in a washing basket for over 3 years! However once I finished that and started to work through the girls I lost my mojo coz I started to get the sads about all the tiny little clothes that I’ll never get to dress another o my babies in. So I stopped. And haven’t started again since.

    I will hopefully get through it all though, and I too love the simple idea behind it “does this bring me joy?”, I found that really liberating when it came to getting rid of all the clothes and I know I’ll feel the same when I start on paper (not the girls clothes, I think that will always make me sad).
    Kylie Purtell recently posted…Eight {2016 52 week project} | PhotographyMy Profile

  3. We have recently “decluttered” our place and like you with 2 small children I wasn’t sure where to start. I took a different approach to the book though and looked at how our rooms were configured, how were we using the space, and what storage/furniture would aide to make the space work for us. Like many people over the years we had bought furniture that didn’t really meet our needs but was in our budget and as well had a bunch of hand me down stuff. I bit the bullet and invested in furniture that fitted into the rooms and good storage that suited us. It ended up not costing as much as I thought (& believe me didn’t replace loads) things like ikea Kallax shelving (trade me) mocka storage boxes for toys (each child has their own that they can easily access for all their misc toys, but “sets” of toys like lego, playmobil, Thomas trains are in plastic boxes that stack but are clear so they can see what’s in them and a new smaller desk in our spare room. It’s been life changing and I didn’t get rid of much, just sorted and good storage stuff.

    1. I love Mocka and would love some of their felt baskets for toys or Trade Aid baskets because I love the basket look and feel the texture adds to a room. We’re waiting till the kids are a little bit older and our dog dies before getting new furniture (that sounds horrid but he’s 13 and not in the greatest health and likes to rub his face in furniture because he always has itchy ears so don’t want to buy new stuff and have it ruined) but it sounds like that’s a great plan! Would love to see some before and afters!

  4. Thanks for the blog love Haidee! I look forward to following your journey and if you need a buddy, I am here to support you. I have been doing the KonMari method for a month now and have tackled some pretty big tasks. I have recently got rid of stuff I have held on to for over 10+ years and that in itself is ‘life-changing’ – it feels great!

  5. Having that emotional connection to your mum’s stuff sounds like it will be a hard job to get through. I’m not sure I could do it. I place a lot of sentimental value on things. Good luck with doing your clutter first.

    1. Yes, me too Tegan but with such a small house I’m kind of being forced to and after 12 years (13 this year) you get to a point you need to let go. It’s freakin hard! I’ll keep the things that mean the most to me though.

  6. Indeed to get all
    Kon Marie on my own ass. I’m struggling with all the stuff and we are not big buyers of stuff. I am getting a new kitchen in a month and it’s making me think about what to keep and what to get rid of. Do I really need those vases and bowls? Bron

    1. Me tooooooo! A new kitchen that is! I’m so excited! We have the original 1959 kitchen in our house and it is literally falling apart! Like I opened a cupboard the other day and the whole thing fell off the hinges! It really could not have come at a better time, it’s been a constant source of embarrassment for me with visitors! What are you doing with yours?

  7. I’ve never heard of KonMarie. It sounds really interesting. I’d love to declutter here too. There is just so much stuff and yes the heat. The heat is bad. I hear it’s been quite hot in NZ. My rellies in the south island have been having 35 degree days. Good luck with the tidy up.
    Renee Wilson recently posted…Everybody (my blog’s back, alright)My Profile

    1. It’s been the warmest month on record EVER in Wellington (Feb) with 24 degrees most days but up to 30. That’s more than high enough for me thank you very much!

    1. Haha, well I recommend it! You have to want to do it though or you’ll just put it all in a box and then put it back after changing your mind!

  8. Oh and I totally hear you about the toys! I’m more likely to get things done if I just go slowly and only take one small tasks – just one cupboard or one shelving unit at a time because slowly it all adds up. It’s also a little easier to tackle with a baby around because you can do some while they nap 🙂 Look forward to hearing more about your decluttering experience. It can be extremely therapeutic.
    Erika @ Ever-changing Life of a Mum recently posted…Anxiety in children – how to help when the worries take holdMy Profile

    1. I snuck a whole big bucket of toys out the door the other day and dumped them in the wheelie bin while the kids weren’t looking. I did it quickly without over thinking it and I bet in a week I won’t even be able to tell you what was in that bucket! Sometimes that’s a good way to do it too 🙂 I miss the naps and the lack of opinion! Haha.

  9. I agree with every word of your post. I think it feels so good to remove stuff from my home. My problem is that my husband has to hang on to everything he has ever been given. I am going to buy the book for his birthday present!

    1. OMG, I know Sherry! And what makes it worse for us is not having a garage! It’s a freakin nightmare! And only two bedrooms so no spare room or wardrobes or any place to keep stuff! I feel ya!

  10. I actually lost my mother 12 years ago last Saturday. I accumulated some of her things. Unfortunately, my father discarded most of the things I would have wanted soon after her death. She was an artist too and I luckily have a lot of her artwork on the walls of my home. My grandmother, who was also like a mother to me, passed away a year and a half ago. I accumulated A LOT of stuff after that. I had the same problem with attaching sentimental value to anything and everything that ever crossed their paths.
    In January, I participated in Lynn’s boot camp over at Nourish and Nestle. She had a schedule to get through every room in the house and eliminate anything that didn’t inspire joy or wasn’t absolutely necessary. I got rid of SO MUCH STUFF. You should check out the schedule she has on her blog, it helped me a lot.
    It can be tough to part with something that was once a loved one’s. There are a finite number of those things. However, I’ve found peace in just having the important things. It’s alright for me if I don’t keep all of my mom’s art supplies from the 90s or my grandma’s clothes. Honestly, I never used any of that stuff in the years it sat around here. But, the artwork, the journals, and the photo albums are the things that mean the most to me. Keeping those items that hold the most value is the important part. 🙂 <3
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    1. It adds a whole new element to everything doesn’t it Gina? I did a big clear out of her paperwork last year and cried my way through it but it was cathartic to get rid of at the same time, though painful to discover lists of birthday and Christmas presents she had intended to buy us and her well thought out itinerary for the trip to Europe she was never able to go on because the cancer came back. I’m choking up just thinking about it all! No wonder we put it off.

  11. Hi Haidee! I’ve heard about the book, but never read it. I am a declutter fanatic that is, I throw away too much sometimes. Older toys, we sell them and my kids get to use the money for a fun activity or something similar. We also moved houses and continent like three times in the past 4 years so that made me de clutter a lot! It does make me feel really free and light and it is true, the less, the easier to be on top. When my parents passed long time ago, we had to sell our house and with it a lot a lot was given away and also sold and now I’m really sad about it, as I remember stuff I’d love to still have from them now. But I could’ve not kept everything. About the holiday, I know exactly how that feels coming home and everything being stressful again within an hour or two, even when you left it great before leaving! Drives me insane as well. Good luck with the book, you can do it! 🙂
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  12. Good luck clearing out your stuff and feeling like you have more control over your home! I read this book at a time when I was very stressed out and we were planning an inter-city relocation, so it was the perfect storm – it gave me a way to feel like I was taking control of things and also made me ruthless because I just couldn’t be bothered packing and hauling anything I didn’t really love or use. I don’t envy you the task of having to sort and give away some of your mother’s things, but I think you have the right mindset about wanting to pass those items on to someone who will love them as much as she did. I had a similar feeling with my Grandmother’s things, vintage sheet music and the like, but managed to find a friend who was happy to have those, and it was win-win 🙂
    Robyn recently posted…LOVELY THINGS ABOUT TODDLERSMy Profile

  13. I’ve heard of the book but have never read it. I’ve also heard she has an unusual way to fold clothes and sort through everything, but maybe that’s why it’s so successful. I lost both my parents, as well as my sister , so I had accumulated so much. We downsized over two years ago and had no choice but to get rid of lots of our stuff. We had a huge 2 day estate sale and I just had to let things go. Prior to the sale, I gave some of their items to other relatives. I kept all photos, albums and other items that would mean nothing to anyone else. I’m happy with my decisions.
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  14. Haidee, I hope that this helps you. We don’t have much extra in our home right now, we have sold everything that was of worth to help with Levi’s care and we did get rid of a bunch of things we didn’t use or wear. It did help. It made us lighter. And there isn’t a lot to clean up any more, LOL, just mostly all the dust and the junk mail that seems to find our mailbox. Keep us posted, I’d like to see how you fare.

    I do have some of my Grandmother’s things, and they aren’t things that we use, a pink wash basin, pitcher etc. but they are beautiful and I’d hate to see them out of the family. so for now they are hidden on a high shelf in the closet. And I do have a few of my Great Gran’s depression glass, we use it occasionally though. I like being able to touch what they held in their hands, it’s not much. But I love the connection.

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