We previously shared our attempt to KonMari our House in a week. This was a spur of the moment decision – we were motivated and ready for a change so just went for it! For the most part it went well. Ideally, we would have been more prepared for the undertaking. 2 people’s opinions, 2 people’s schedules and 2 people’s things (as well as jointly owned items) make taking on KonMari as a couple challenging. However, the bonus to doing KonMari as a couple is that you can support each other through the process and create the home you want together.
Here are 7 tips to rock KonMari as a couple:
1. Get Prepared
A bit of preparation can go a long way! Taking the guesswork out of what to eat, where to donate and how to recycle items will save you time and frustration when you’re tired. It will also give you an idea of how long you may need to look at your giant recycling pile before the next pick up.
Things to do ahead of time:
- Schedule time in your calendar.
- Have meals and snacks prepped and ready to go.
- Schedule a dog sitter and/or baby sitter. It’s doable with kids but easier when you’re not working around naps.
- Have boxes and garbage bags in big and small sizes.
- Know when your next recycling and garbage days are.
- Find out where to donate items. Some charities prefer certain items like clothes.
2. Support each other
You may be surprised at what does and doesn’t spark joy for you or your partner. Fight the urge to ask, “That brings you joy??” Coaching with questions like where might you wear that? or how do you see yourself using this? may be helpful IF you can keep the sarcasm out of it. Allow the person to make their own decisions without making them wrong. Keeping this in mind was really helpful when we were letting go of previous purchases or projects that hadn’t been used or worked out the way we thought.
3. Get on the same page ahead of time
According to the KonMari Method, each of you is responsible for your own items. However, what brings one person joy may not bring joy to the other person. Therefore, clarify beforehand how you will handle joint items that are regarded differently. As well, have a discussion about whether you are planning on donating or selling items that don’t bring you joy. Depending on what/how many items don’t spark joy, selling may or may not be worth the effort. Selling items may be more important to one person than the other so being clear about your intentions can help reduce frustrations when a pile of to-be-sold items are taking up space.
4. Set a deadline
A deadline to finish the process will give you both an agreed upon goal to work towards. Deadlines can also be helpful to put a limit on how long items will be kept for. When will you make a donation trip? How long will you keep unsold items? For example, we decided to try and sell a few things but were clear that they were being donated at the end of the month.
The other time suggestion we have is for when you have planned time for this process and just don’t want to do it. Think, tired after work, when you’re overwhelmed or you just can’t see the end. Try setting a timer for an hour or less. Knowing that’s all you have to do will get you started. Usually, once you’ve started, you’re likely to go longer than the set time. If you decide to stop when the timer goes off, at least you will have done something.
5. It will get really messy before it gets tidy
We mean this figuratively and literally. Making so many decisions is exhausting and we have a lot of emotion connected to our stuff – positive and negative. On top of that, the piles of donation, recycling, garbage, etc start to take over the available space. Frustration and overwhelm can easily start to take over. If you’re in the middle of decluttering a category, open a window and take a 10-minute break. Be honest with your partner if you need a breather either from them or the process. Encourage each other to fulfill your commitment by holding each other accountable to the goal and time you have set aside to KonMari as a couple.
6. Have fun and get to know each other a little better
Crank the tunes, make jokes and share stories about items you own. Guaranteed some of these items are from your respective pasts. It is fascinating to learn stories behind why things have been kept to this poinst. Share stories, memories and reasons why items are still with you. Sometimes this can also help decide to let things go. Initially, it may seem like it is the object that is bringing you joy when, in fact, it’s the memory or sentiment attached to it that’s making you happy and the object isn’t significant any longer.
7. Stay motivated
Staying motivated can be challenging when you can’t see the end or are feeling stuck on a category. Try watching an episode of Tidying Up on Netflix (and get some tips) or be reassured with stories in Marie Kondo’s book about how others struggled with different categories.
Check out this video on basics of the KonMari Method:
When you KonMari as a couple, you have the opportunity to inspect everything you both have contributed to your household and decide what you want to keep in the home you are creating together. If this is your first foray into decluttering, the process will take you a lot longer than if you have had previous decluttering sessions. Be realistic and gentle with yourself and each other if it takes longer than you think it will. Marie Kondo has said that, on average, it takes about 6 months to completely go through a home. You may feel some friction at first but trust the process and you will likely start to notice a shift to working as a team and feelings of relief. The good news is that it will end.
Did we miss anything? What helped you KonMari as a couple? Let us know in the comments!
Denise and Sean
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