If the excitement around Tidying Up intrigues you but the method overwhelms you, there are KonMari alternatives you can try instead.
Truly, we’ve reached peak KonMari.
Her show is a hit on Netflix, she has multiple books available in stores (including a manga Japanese comic book). She helped Ellen learn her life-changing magic and a quick Google search brings up over 24 million results. Speaking of Google, she’s also been a featured speaker on their stages.
By now your dog sitter, dentist and dry cleaner have all told you it’s the ONLY clutter clearing method you’ll ever need.
You keep hearing countless success stories and end up even more discouraged.
Why? Because it’s just not sparking joy for you.
There’s no doubt her work is changing lives, but clutter clearing isn’t one size fits all. This article outlines 3 simple KonMari alternatives to try instead.
My KonMari Story
Before I share my 3 simple KonMari alternatives, let me give respect where it’s due.
This article isn’t about me complaining about Marie Kondo or a harsh judgement of her character or method.
I’m not jealous of her or wish to drag her down. Honestly, I think it’s awful when journalists and fellow women disrespect her culture or Shinto-inspired method.
My personal experience with The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up is a positive one.
That book changed my life in 2011.
How did it change my life?
It opened my eyes to the energetic possibilities of clutter clearing. When you clear clutter and it finally *clicks* your home feels different and your life transforms. Marie taught me that this is a result of the energy within all of our belongings.
Her message of caring for and respecting our “stuff” really spoke to me. I practiced mindfulness in my daily interactions with my belongings. Instead of throwing clothes on the floor in a heap, I took the time to fold them and put them away.
But … yes there’s a but.
I actually never finished her book or method.
Why KonMari Alternatives Might Be For You
Marie Kondo teaches you to sort belongings by category instead of room by room. A key difference in her method is that you must take EVERYTHING from that category out at once to sort.
Basically, the KonMari method turns your house upside down before you put it back together.
It can take weeks or months, but the process is the same. Follow her rules for what order to sort in, learn to precisely fold clothes, only keep what sparks joy and do it ALL from start to finish.
Clearly this has been magic for a multitude of people. But for some, there are glaring issues with this process.
I rarely follow instructions start to finish exactly, even when I’m baking. That meant following this process start to finish wasn’t aligned with how I work at my best.
If you feel like the only person on the planet who hasn’t caught onto the Marie Kondo craze, check out the following reasons why KonMari alternatives may be for you.
You’re Overwhelmed and Can’t Find the Time to Clear Clutter
My Clear Your Life Community is full of bright, talented and awesome people. When I ask them why they have a hard time clearing their clutter, I hear two reasons the most. They’re overwhelmed and they feel like they don’t have any time.
Does this sound like you?
If so, the KonMari method is an overwhelming and time-consuming solution to an overwhelming problem for overwhelmed people who don’t have a lot of time.
You Live in Four Distinct Seasons
I’m writing this article on a sunny summer morning in Canada. But trust me, within months of me hitting “publish”, I’ll be wearing a completely different wardrobe.
Given the temperature difference AND the activities that go along with our changing seasons, keeping all of my clothing and gear together year-round just doesn’t work for me.
My husband and I bike, hike, swim, ski and play baseball.
With the gear we own and the change of seasons, I prefer to keep my seasonal items stored separately. I don’t want to see my winter jackets and snow boots during the hot hazy days of summer!
KonMari States You Only Have to Clear Once
In my most popular blog post to date, I explain that decluttering is an ongoing process. As you grow and expand as a person, your needs will also change.
This connected with a lot of readers in the comment section.
Unfortunately, Tidying Up’s promise to only have to clear once will discourage those who need to upkeep in the future.
I currently live, travel and work in 112sq feet. Even after extreme downsizing, I still clear clutter from my life on a regular basis. As my needs change, the items that I have use for also change. I firmly believe that there is no end to clutter clearing.
The good news?
It gets easier and more intuitive with time, and your attitude towards clearing can change dramatically.
Ready to learn 3 KonMari alternatives to flipping your house and your life upside down? Read on…
3 KonMari Alternatives That May Be A Better Fit for You
1. Small & Steady
My number one recommendation for anyone ready to clear clutter but overwhelmed at the process: start small.
When you complete small clearing projects in a short amount of time you actually see the results and enjoy the results immediately.
Also, the smaller the project, the more likely that you’ll actually finish it.
This means you won’t turn around after 4 hours and see a bigger pile of mess than when you started. If you’re scared of creating more work and not feeling like you got anything done, small projects can’t be beat.
2. Timed & Done
If a timer counting down motivates you to move quickly and make decisions rather than agonize over them, then try this exercise out:
Grab 2 garbage bags, set a timer for 15 minutes and move around your house quickly looking for quality items that can be donated and/or items that belong in the trash.
Once the timer goes off, you’re done!
This can be a great way to jump start your clearing, which you can follow up with small projects as listed above.
You can practice this so quickly; you won’t even have time to procrastinate.
3. Write it Out
What if I told you one of the greatest skills to master when it comes to clearing clutter doesn’t even involve decluttering?
Stay with me here…
Carolyn Koehnline has used journal prompts to coach people with their clutter for over 20 years. She states she “…noticed that it was more often the case that people reported successful clutter-clearing not as the result of a particular tip or strategy but because their perception of the clutter issue had changed.”
In my ten plus years of clearing my clutter, I’ve also developed a daily journal habit.
If you want to clear clutter but can’t seem to make it happen, open your journal and get writing.
Here are 3 simple journal exercises to start you off:
- Write out your ultimate vision for why you want less clutter. Get clear on how your life would improve. Write as though it’s already happened.
- Write a letter to your clutter. Tell it how it’s affected your life and any frustrations you have. Let it know that you’re ready to make ammends and move on.
- Start a gratitude list. Gratitude for what you have now helps you let go of what you don’t need anymore. It will also address over-purchasing so that your clutter doesn’t creep back in.
Keeping a journal writing practice sharpens your skills for staying consistent at something, which will help you on your clutter clearing path.
Marie Kondo deserves every ounce of success she has and there’s no question that her methods have changed lives forever. I personally love that her TV show has inspired a whole new round of people to take action against their clutter.
But please remember…
There’s no one answer for everyone.
Clutter clearing is deeply personal, and just because the KonMari method worked for your hairdresser, doesn’t mean it has to work for you.
Keep trying KonMari alternatives until you find the right one for you. As long as you don’t quit, you can’t fail!
Do you prefer alternative methods to Marie Kondo’s Tidying Up? Let me know in the comments below.