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Kehler Counseling Blog

Tidying in Overdrive! Komono Phase

Heads up - I would love to share photos of the actual process and took more than 100 but Vistaprint and Windows don't download photos easily. . . if you want to see photos I will be creating a PowerPoint with all the details next!

I'm now 80% completed with Marie Kondo's process of Tidying - that's a BIG DEAL when you see how much is accomplished and how satisfying the process is.   

One thing you will discover as you proceed through each category is how you can't wait to get through to the next one. . .  I never wanted to quit or stop - I couldn't wait to get through the next category to get closer to having my home truly filled with what gives me true JOY.  

One thing for sure - each category offers its own unique process of selection, editing, and discarding.   JOY continues to be the foundation but what brings that joy is different for each.  Here are my examples:

  • This is a personal experience. Period.   What you select to keep and treasure or what you discard or 'free' yourself from should reflect your OWN life - your NOW life.   NOT your past life, your past loves, your past lifestyle.    

  • For me that meant that I did NOT NEED utensils, dishes, servings, or decorations for elaborate parties, formal dinners for 12, holidays with more than 100 guests, grand antiques for a grand 19 room 1900's Historical home.   My NOW life is a 6 room house that is perfect for my NOW life.     With that understanding it was easy to donate and give away 'extra' over 4 servings with the exception of sets that give me 'JOY' now - as my mother and I share a very special affection for a well set table.    With this in mind -I saved the treasured patterns, including "Blue Willow" Acme from my maternal grandmother, newer 'better' quality sets, and 'good' China that instead of burying in boxes - I arranged where I can get them easily and when I open the cabinet that they are now stored in - I open the door and feel the same 'joy' that men feel when they open their t-shirt drawers after completing the 'folding' process of the first category.    

  • While going through the Kitchen categories - divide and conquer in small doses to stay focused and motivated.   Similar to clothing - break your kitchen categories into smaller, manageable categories but stick to categories!   Break it down into: dishes (formal and informal), serving dishes, baking dishes, pots/pans, cooking utensils, small kitchen appliances, silverware/flatware, types of foods (cooking/baking), spices, cleaning supplies, bar supplies/equipment, special event items.    Stick with Marie Kondo's strategy of gathering ALL items in the category -on a flat surface (I used table in center of room) - so you can see everything and truly decide if you really want to KEEP it, NEED it, WANT it or if you really don't like it, need it, its dull, used or useless.    While going through kitchen items I found it was easy to let go of dulled knives, worn out utensils, ugly patterns, ugly colors, fad items, and items that I had accumulated multiple numbers of because extras were in several different places - or buried in the back of the drawer.    

  • If you have a large kitchen and plenty of storage this process /category will take time - plan accordingly!    Assign your spouse a different project that is not in the same room!   If you got this far in the Tidying process you already have discovered that this is a solitary project!!    It is about what makes YOU happy, YOU treasure, YOU feel LESS stress (that is also JOY!!).   DO NOT DO THIS WITH A PARENT, SPOUSE, FRIEND OR CHILD.  I say that 'screaming' because no matter who it is - they will influence you!! They will edit, judge, scan, and advise through the entire project and if you allow that you have completely lost the foundation of this process and the MAGIC!   You may have a 'neat' house when you're done - but it won't be your house with your affection and joy.    Remember every item is for you to decide - your choices should not have 'mom's approval', concern about saving, treasuring, collecting or storing again -unless YOU want to.   If the item doesn't 'work' for you - let it go!     As I already said - if your new and now lifestyle doesn't 'need' an item, collection, or even 'gift' - let it go.  Let someone else chose it for their joy. . .  it's that simple!   

  • In this category of 'smalls' -consider the cost of storage, how easy it is to replace, how much space it takes, how often you use it and how dated it is.    What helped me through this phase with numerous categories is the question - along with 'joy' was -can I get a replacement easily?  (Amazon is ONE button away and 24 hours to our door) I have 2 Dollar Stores, 3 Grocery stores and a "Super Center" within 5 minutes of my house.  Would I buy another one of the same thing?  Does my 'now life' NEED this?      My lifestyle changed so radically with divorce so it was easy to discard what was no longer appropriate.   I also edited out fads, time consuming items, dated technology, duplicates, useless items, and just 'ugly' items.  It is shocking how much space, time and energy we use for 'stuff' that we either never use again, have idealized fantasies of using, or add to our stress level rather than reduce it.    I would put many small kitchen appliances in this 'discard' category.  How many spend more time CLEANING out the appliance than it takes to use a simple knife, spatula or spoon to do!?     It's why Food processors, Blenders, Mixers, Espresso machines, and counter top cooking appliances often go unused collecting grime and dust!   We really don't want to clean them!    If you keep your cooking simple and healthy cooking really is - you don't need 12 appliances to make a great tasting meal!    

  • Once you get done with the numerous categories of the Kitchen - move onto other 'smalls'.  I will advise going through your entire house the day/ night before and arranging each category together in an 'assigned' space.  WARNING - your house will look like a bomb hit it!!   But just gather them by category - and go to bed - rest yourself and sort/discard the next day.   I also advise completely emptying the storage spaces and leaving them empty overnight.   I found it very helpful to start in the beginning with a completely empty space, and the category items removed from it.   Arranging ALL of the items of the category on a flat surface also allows for reflection and counting!  You can see how many you really have, how many different items you have of the same thing, their appearance, condition, and quantity are also more obvious.   I used this staging to sort out ugly, refill or condense, toss aged, and count the amount I really had and needed.    The laughs I had were about HOW MANY items I had and I live ALONE!!   I no longer needed more than 2 or 3 of ANYTHING!   Seriously.   It was ridiculous how many dumb things I had accumulated and thought I needed more of!    I had 8 cans of spray starch, 12 different car cleaning sprays for just tires and wheels, 6 different ear buds all tangled up in a clump, dozens of 'food storage' containers, flatware for 24, and I have ONE drawer in my kitchen!     
  • Assign spaces/containers/storage for each category AFTER you discard!  If you got this far you have already discovered that this process is NOT about putting 'everything' back in 'its place'!  You have discovered that you have eliminated all the noise, the dumb,ugly, useless, outdated, fads, broken, chipped and missing pieces so now you have only what is current, relevant, useful, treasured, functioning and beautiful.  You have now cleansed your environment of countless items that annoyed you, stressed you, haunted, triggered, or just made you angry.   We ALL have that going on every day in our homes.  Don't kid yourself!   This process is priceless in eliminating and addressing every single one of them!    I can't describe it - you really have to go through it to understand this element!     As you proceed you are also noting and taking care of or tossing items that added stress and annoyance - because you're editing by JOY!  If something is broken, missing, squeaks, hard to care for, hard to clean, takes up too much time or space - you give it UP!   The CORE is JOY.  You don't 'save' stuff that gives you negative tension, anger or triggers a bad mood.  You have to believe me that you will NOT MISS those items!    You will really begin to understand what a 'stress free' environment really is.   You will excited because at this point you are already enjoying the benefits of what your home's NEW potential is.   

This process is a deeply personal process as well as an eye opener about how Americans accumulate and store so much more than necessary.   The paradigm shift of working through this process is nothing short of remarkable.   As Marie Kondo advises - let the  retail stores be your storage unit NOT YOUR HOUSE!  How profound this really is!  If a large percentage of Americans followed through this process - our economy would nose dive!  Retail chains are thinking that it will increase the demand for 'organizing' items but what you will find is that you need them less than ever!   It is that life changing!    Just think about the size of your house, garage, storage units, sheds, rental units, bedrooms, number of kitchen cabinets, shelving, and how much 'stuff' you are going to 'inherit' - that you will need to ADD to your house!    If you edited and surrounded yourself with what gave you true joy would you need all that extra square footage??   You do realize that property taxes NEVER stop and that they are based on square footage?   That your large scaled home is going to cost you until it is sold or you die - through taxes, utilities and extra space to care for, insure, and decorate?     We have gotten caught up in 'Bigger is Better' and a 'Man and his Castle' is somehow evidence of 'success' - when in many cases its just a storage unit to shift 'stuff' from the "Big Box" store!    How many have storage spaces specifically for their Costco purchases??      As I staying focused on joy and my home is now becoming noticeably efficient and tidy - I am finding that I really do - as Marie Kondo describes - TIME to do what really gives me joy.   My home is almost 'done' - and the rooms that are completed are so remarkably changed that I'm no longer feeling the stress of the 'noise' of the clutter that they once had.   My views or eye captures what eases my mind, soothes, or invigorates with attractiveness and beauty.   I no longer have piles of 'stuff' that is nagging to 'take care of me'.   I am finally beginning to enjoy my 'humble' abode.  I am now able to sit with contentment and truly relax - and enjoy 'deck time'  with only 4 categories to complete: Seasonal Decorations, Decorative items, Memorabilia and finally Photographs.    Next weekend will be my final dedicated day.  I started in May - I allowed 6 months - but I honestly wanted to get it completed - and devoted 3 Saturdays each month to get through it.   I did not attempt to do it during the week and I would advise anyone attempting it to try the same.  The process is physically demanding - don't underestimate it!   OTC painkillers and planning an activity of joy - afterwards is absolutely encouraged!!  
 This is about JOY in your entire life!  

Karen 

If you are interested in photos - send me an email to: kehler1@gmail.com - and I will forward you my PowerPoint presentation.  

3 Comments to Tidying in Overdrive! Komono Phase :

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emergency first aid at work on Monday, December 07, 2015 8:55 AM
That is among the very best posts I ran across to date. The material are very excellent and incredibly helpful. My spouse and i activated for your Rss by the way! Many thanks, this really is really cool!
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Mary on Sunday, January 31, 2016 4:04 PM
I concur. I was wondering where to put all the stuff whilst sorting it. Especially as it seems like my komono will take weeks and months rather than hours. I am planning to put everything in the category I am preparing to sort in 1 large cardboard box or box pile. Never felt keener to sort. I am a borderline reality-tv-hoarder :)


Henry on Tuesday, December 15, 2015 1:52 PM
Yes, that is among the absolute best presents I kept running crosswise over on date. The material are extremely superb and inconceivably supportive. My companion and i actuated for your Rss coincidentally! Much obliged, this truly is truly cool. Thanks!!
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