How to Get Family on Board to Declutter

January 04, 2019

Well hello!! How were the holidays for you? We've had a wonderful two weeks -- life goes back to normal next week and I'm kinda sorta ready for that. Not quite. :) These are definitely our favorite weeks of the year! 

This time of year one of my posts goes crazy, and that's the one about my experience using the Konmari method to declutter our house
Konmari decluttering method

I've said it a hundred times and I'll say it again -- this book absolutely changed our lives. I say "our" because it has lessened the amount of clutter in our home, so my family certainly enjoys that. 

It has affected me more than anyone because I'm typically the one cleaning, washing and picking up more than anyone else. It changed our home and how we live. I cannot recommend it enough!! We used to have spots in our home that attracted clutter. The kitchen island, the area right when we walked in the door, our nightstands were a problem area, the stairs were always full of items that needed to go up or down. (Those are just the big spots.)

Organizing and decluttering linen closet

All of these are NORMAL by the way. It's not "wrong" to have piles or clutter -- but it sure did start to wear on me. I found that I couldn't focus as well. I was more stressed and anxious when STUFF was everywhere. We spent money on items we already had. I bought items because they were on sale (and I was afraid it would be gone), instead of knowing exactly what I wanted to do with them. 

This book changed all of that. It took me around nine months to complete the whole process, but it was awesome. BUT THEN. THEN we packed up our house last year and put all of it in storage for nine weeks while we waited for this house to be finished. 

Tips for organizing and decluttering the junk drawer

Many of you have asked for an update in the three years since I decluttered the whole house. I thought I had really done it. When all our stuff arrived at this house...I couldn't believe how much I had kept that I didn't want or need. Living without it all for that long really puts things in perspective. In the year since we moved in I've donated or sold an equal amount to what I got rid of during the Konmari process. Tons of stuff!! I actually had a "sale" for family and friends right after we moved in a sold a crazy amount of decor (and made a good amount of money). 

The basics of Konmari are extremely simple -- you only keep what you LOVE. What brings you joy. AND items that you actually use...I always add that in. I mean, my kitchen utensils don't exactly bring me joy. I'm not giddy when I use them. ;) But they serve a purpose and serve it often. 

Closet with storage for cleaning, wrapping and laundry

What I love about this method more than anything is that you choose what to keep...not what to get rid of. Everything I was "taught" about simplifying before that was about picking items to get eliminate. That creates indecision. Deciding what to KEEP is so much easier. 

SO many of you have also asked me about how to involve kids and spouses. I wanted to speak to that a little more too. I did all of the decluttering by myself, and I was fine with that because I find it fun. :) I did involve my husband and kiddo at various times and I have some advice about that: 
  • Keep it short. I can spend hours "tidying" or decluttering because it's addictive when you start. The BEST feeling!! But it's pure torture for everyone else in my family. ๐Ÿ˜‚ I ask for their time for shorter periods. Let's go through the dresser. Or the shoes. Or this portion of the closet. I can tackle a whole closet in one day. They'd rather stick needles in their eyes. So we compromise. 
  • With kids you have the advantage of being the parent. I just tell our son that we're going to tackle a certain area and he has to do it. Doesn't mean he likes it. But he does it. Refer to the tip above though -- keep it brief! (I don't recommend this method with a spouse. ๐Ÿ˜‚)
  • You can involve young kids to a point, but up till about five years old they most likely won't realize if you've decluttered toys or clothes. I always found our kiddo had too many toys -- the less he had out the more often he played with them. If you want to teach your kids how to let go of things, try it out! If they are young, you can do it yourself. Our boy is 12 and LOVES STUFF. Little, big...he's sentimental and I love that. But when I involve him I'm always surprised at what he doesn't want. They may surprise you!  
  • Most kids like stuff but the stress and anxiousness from clutter affects them just like it does us. If you can get 20 minutes of their time and tackle a spot that they'll see every day...they'll be more willing to work on it again somewhere else. And some kids may actually enjoy it!
  • My husband is a busy man, way busier than I am with work and travel. So I keep that in mind. I ask in advance. I "schedule" the time to work on one area. I tell him it means a lot to me. He does it and is ALWAYS glad he did. 
  • It will take longer to go through their items than yours. Just be prepared for that. My husband's side of the closet has never looked like mine. EVER. Someday it may get there...but it's not that big of a deal. Let it go! The only reason I pursue it is because I know it will simplify his life. 
  • On that note -- right now little trinkets mean a lot to our son. They are his treasures. I've learned to embrace that. His room is HIS to enjoy. Yes, we can declutter to a point, but I want it to be the way he wants it too. You have to compromise. 
Marie Kondo (the author of the book) now has a show on Netflix. I watched the first episode and my son watched with me. We immediately went up to his room and started tackling some spots. His closet in particular has been a MESS since we moved in:

How to declutter with kids

Again...give yourself some grace! I'm a Konmari method nut and most days we couldn't even see the floor in here. 

We worked on this room over two days time. Our son looooves stuffed animals. But I swear they were multiplying in there -- it was too much. You can't see all of them but they were in bins on the floor and the shelves. 

I went through them without him and then got his approval on the donate pile afterwards. We kept his favorites and I filled the top shelf with them for now. We also went through his clothes and random stuff I threw in here more than a year ago when I unpacked. WHAT a difference!:
How to involve kids with decluttering and organization

The shelf of animals is actually quite adorable. ;) I still need a solution for the caps -- he got rid of some but these mean a lot to him, so they'll stay. Have you found a good storage solution for hats?:
Organized kid closet tips

By the way -- that long hanging organizer is for his clothes each week. We put them in here for less stressful mornings. :) I got ours at IKEA but you can find it here too (affiliate). 

His closet it a great size but nothing huge -- this is what we're not keeping and I'm shocked at how much was in there: 
Decluttering with the Konmari method tips

Wow. My goodness, his whole room is like a breath of fresh air now! 

When I used the Konmari method years ago I told you I won't ever have to do a massive whole-house purge again. When you have it in your head, you're always grabbing items around the house. Because of our move, I do have a couple more little spots I want to work on, but overall it's a constant (but much less intense!) process. I have a bag of donations going at all times:
How I purged our house for the last time

Have you read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up? I recommend checking out the Netflix show if not -- it's a good introduction to the process. There are parts of the book many find hokey and I get it. But like anything in life you can take or leave parts of it. 

Will you be decluttering this weekend? If you have additional tips for including the family I'd love to hear them! 

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  1. I am reading it right now and loving it! By the way, for the hats here is an Amazon link for an organizer (I am not an affiliate)

  2. I just finished decluttering my bedroom closet today. Sixty pieces of clothing for donation and 15 for the trash. Feels good to have that done. I haven't read Marie's book but I've watched 3 episodes of her show on Netflix. It's fun except for the episode with a recent widow. Fortunately, I don't have much clutter but I do have a problem with keeping things tidy.

  3. I’m a huge advocate for getting rid of excess! One of the things I do to help myself stay on top of it is to keep a donation box on hand - when I find something I no longer need, no longer want or just don’t even know why I had it the first place goes in the box and then to charity!

  4. love this post! hats: pegboard and hooks, either for display on a wall or in a closet

  5. Sarah, you've inspired me to start decluttering now! It's actually one of my new year's resolutions - and what better time to start it than this weekend? ❤️

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  6. Like Janell above, we always have a container (bag or box) near the front door. Book finished? In! Clothes you don't want as they come out of the dryer? In! Unwanted presents from folk I never see? In! etc. I never heard of Ms Konmari until you mentioned her, but now I realise I have always done this. My home here in the UK is v. small indeed so if it ran riot I wouldn't be able to cope anyway!! And when the bag/box goes off to the charity shop, my home is clearer, the charity gets money from the sale, and the buyer gets something cheaper than retail (and in these difficult days, possibly something they could never buy at full price anyway). This is a 3W situation...... Win, Win, Win!

  7. I'm still enjoying folding my clothes her way after a year. Youngest is home from Seattle this week. I asked him to look in his closet for things he wanted, I'll ship it to him. More rain in Virginia today.... guess what I'll be doing%?

  8. I keep a bag or box in the garage and it seems as though I'm "donating" something constantly. I live alone and have a small home, so I try to keep up with organization and decluttering. My garage is the worst, since that is where everything I want out of the house goes until I can dispose of it one way or another.
    I've watched the new Konmari show on Netflix - in fact binge watched all 8 episodes over a 2 day period - and while it inspires me to keep doing what I'm doing, I feel the book was much better, since her advice was presented in English rather than having to read the subtitles on TV, knowing she had much more to say other than what was translated. I felt it did not give her enough "voice" and therefore was not as inspiring. Surely I'm not the only one who felt that way, but if the TV show encourages people to declutter who do not want to read the book, then that's amazing.

  9. I think I need to buy this book! I used curtain rods and clips in our closet to organize my husbands hats, we both love it! Look at item #3 at this link to see a picture

  10. This is funny that you are talking about this because my husband and I have pretty much watched every episode of the Tidying Up show and are now on a tear reorganizing and purging every area in our home. We tend to be on the more organized side anyway but this has helped even more. I'm surprised by how much we are getting rid of. I just finished going through our Christmas decor as I was putting it away. We had things we hadn't put up in several years still taking up room in our basement. I now have 3 empty bins :) I'm pretty much hooked on Konmari on now!

  11. I too read it when it came out. And did purge. But, since then we have had to pack up a parent's estate of 60 years and lost my mom, and will be helping dad at some point par their things down. I have learned what is truly important, and what things we are holding onto that in the end most likely just get thrown away or donated anyhow. This past year we had a lot going on, with my husband's cancer diagnosis and surgeries, selling and cleaning out the house I mentioned 800 miles away and then my mom's death. Things piled up a bit again. I am ready to go room by room as well as the basement once again. Anything not used in the past 6-12 months is for sure gone!!
    For ball caps you can use a plastic hanger and shower curtain rings as long as they have the opening in the back of the cap.

  12. I'm all for keeping closets tidy (I'm fairly OCD) but your son's closet before looked pretty good to me!

    My main thing is to have "empty" space in closets, cupboards, etc so the visual clutter is cut down.

  13. Thanks for posting this followup. I'd heard about the book when it first came out but didn't buy it. I just binge watched the series on Netflix and will pick up a copy of the book from Walmart tomorrow. Watching the show and the reactions of the couples as they get rid of the clutter is really inspiring.

  14. It's actually a European philosophy from you guessed it, Wiccans. Ancient wise women would teach this to their female children. It was believed that it would straighten out the energies of the home and bring peace, it was also used to prevent bad spirits from entering the home to cause trouble. The broom was seen as an instrument of all witches both male and female to remove bad forces from their path both in their home and in their futures.

  15. Oh oh oh! I saw on our latest parade of homes a family with teenage sons had what looked like a large mug rack hanging on the wall( maybe it was specifically for hats?) But they had all their sons' hats on this wall rack and it was a piece of art with all those colors and all were in easy reach. OR you could just put command hooks on that wall above his shirts and hang up all his hats. For a boy, those hats are his art work! My twin boys are almost 12 and in the house we're building there will be some fun spots for hats in their rooms! Whatever you do I hope you share it! You always have great ideas!

  16. I just read Marie Kondo's book, and feel inspired but haven't quite started yet! I notice that you talk about decluttering "areas" (closets, etc.), whereas the book recommends that you tackle types of items, regardless of where you keep them. For example, if you have clothing in your bedroom closet, but also have some stored in a spare room or cedar closet, she says you should get EVERYTHING out and go through it all at once. Did you follow that advice? It makes sense, but it seems much more overwhelming than just going through one area at a time. Especially when going through a family member's "stuff."

    1. YES, this is important. When I used her method I would pull all like items together. It makes a big difference. If you read the post I linked to I explain more about that. Seeing the numbers of items is a big thing mentally.

    2. I've been doing this..similiar ites all at once..instinctively. home is close to a hoarders home..and even though i am DEFINITELY making progress..its slooowww. I have joined a 12 step program for Clutterers...(Clutterers Anonymous)which is exTREMEly helpul and supportive..but im glad to find this posting fore more inspiration too!๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜„

  17. I read the book years ago but just started a whole-house declutter effort. With life stabilizing a bit I was energized and also surprised how much I could tackle in short amounts of time (i.e. nap time). I happened-upon a bunch of decluttering challenges for January so I'm saving some with a year-long goal of doing some all the time. I need to hone the habit of getting rid of things. The research is interesting too for how to organize specific items (like categories of kid's toys!) and how to dispose/recycle things (like paint in a town-wide earth day event or random project leftovers at a Habitat Restore!). I Kon-Mari'ed my dresser in 20 minutes which got me energized to make continual progress and I don't need a whole Saturday...good thing since I don't have one! Thanks for sharing the continuation of your work!

  18. I haven't read the book but I have been so intrigued by all the posts I see about how well the method works! I can't wait to read the book!

  19. This narrower version of the hanging storage that you already have works great for hats:

  20. For stuffed animals that you no longer need, check with your local animal shelter; some shelters take them for the animals to play with or snuggle. Actually, the same can be said for chairs. It give the animals a place to curl up besides on the floor. =)

  21. The book really changed my life. The clutter is an anchor. I fam ree now to pursue interests that bring me peace and joy. I'm not spending all my time managing the clutter.

  22. The thought of the book made me so anxious, how could I get rid of so much? It made me think that the results needed to be a minimal lifestyle, no clutter. However, I watched the first two episodes of the show and it changed my thoughts completely. Seeing the results opened my eyes to what the end result should be like. Basically everything sorted and with a home, but not necessarily having to get rid of everything.

    In terms of your hats, there's a hat holder on (Baseball Hat Wall Display) that would be easy to make yourself, plus it could use his hats as a display in his room instead of in the closet.

  23. For caps we use simple push pins or cup hooks on areas of the wall (in the closet for hubby, on a bedroom wall for teenage son because he likes to look at them). Dirt cheap and easy! They just hang them on the tack or hook and they hang in places where they aren't easily bumped and knocked off. Works great!

  24. I love seeing your stage "three years later.." I read this book last year and just didn't click with it. I was always de-cluttering and minimizing but when the show came out I decided to watch it with my kids. We immediately started tackling things. I think seeing her heart, and examples to watch helped me! I felt weird thanking things, as a follower of Christ, I thought that was wrong. I now see it as saying thank you to anything!! We say "thank you" constantly! So it was exciting "thanking" everything with my kids too, and we would even add on why we were thankful without noticing! My four year old : Thank you shirt for being so nice.. To God be the glory, and I am almost done with Konomo (sp?) stage and my house is a disaster at this moment and I am SO EXCITED!!! I have followed every rule to a tee, and I am almost starting week 2. *doing it alone, with 4 kids at home, who homeschool..and one newborn!!..AHHH!!* Needless to say I am tired but so excited about the new life ahead of me! Thanks for the post!! I will be back for more!

  25. Ten years ago I started my process of decluttering a household worth of possessions that included 60 years of marriage and living in 9 different countries as well as 6 different states. I have inherited my parent's belongings, my grandparent's, my husband's parents and grandparents, my two siblings as well as various aunts and uncles. You can begin to imagine the amount of stuff that I had to decide to get rid of. My children and grandchildren have taken all that they want. I do not want to burden them with the overwhelming clutter that would be theirs at my death. It is such a relief every time we see another bag going to thrift or trash. I have an assistant coming in to help me sell the items that can bring in some money. It isn't that any of us need it but it is the easiest way to deal with it. We are in our eighties and "plan" to live a few years more but in a much more relaxed and sustainable way. It is heartwarming for me to read of so many young people choosing a more minimalistic lifestyle. I wish all of you much success!


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