My KonMari Experiment: What Worked, What Didn’t, What I Learned


A few months ago, I started seeing chatter about something called the KonMari Method and its creator, Marie Kondo. I gathered – correctly – that it was a way to organize your belongings.

Interesting, I thought. We could use a clean-up. But we’re not quite trapped in an episode of Hoarders, either.

Then I came across Kondo’s hit Netflix show, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, and y’all! It looked so easy! I ran to the bedroom to tackle my dresser drawers quicker than you could say “spark joy.”

The Illusion of Clean

So, I have a cleaning mantra. I call it “the illusion of clean.” It exists in three parts: beds are made; dishes are done; toilet bowls are clean. If I do those three things, in my philosophy I have achieved the illusion of clean. This is my shortcut, my good-enough-for-now standard. I clean what I can see.

Similarly, I perform the “Sunday-night straighten.” This entails picking up the clutter-bomb that erupted in the living room over the past week and putting the pieces of rubble in the general vicinity of where they belong. Is it clean? No, but I can see my coffee table, so it fits my illusion-of-clean sensibilities.

Because my clean standard is, well, low-ish, I liked the KonMari concept of tidying. The word itself feels less like a total overhaul and more like taking care of the essentials. I’ll never be a minimalist like some of my fellow moms, and I didn’t want to take on a huge reorg. I just wanted to tidy up.

What Would Marie Kondo Do?

A drawer full of clothes that won't close.
I see you, overstuffed drawer that won’t close. Help is on the way.

So while I’ve made peace with my illusions, I was intrigued by the KonMari Method. Therefore, I put on my Marie Kondo hat and went to town on the thing that’s bugged me the most lately: my stuffed dresser drawers.

Now, the first rule of the KonMari Method is to take all of your stuff out of hiding and drag it into the light, where you can see your multitude of clutter sins. So that’s what I did.

Piling clothes on the bed as part of the KonMari Method
The pile of clothes on my bed. This does not spark joy.

Keep in mind, this is just my dresser. Of course, that means I’m already breaking one of Marie Kondo’s rules: tidy by category, not by location. My closet full of clothes isn’t part of this round of tidying. But I’m sure Marie would just giggle sweetly at me, though, right? Right?

Tackle the Tidying

There’s a moment in most episodes of the Netflix show after the guests have built their clothing mountain one tattered t-shirt and unworn skirt at a time when they look helplessly at the pile and think “now what”?

I laughed at those people.

But now I stared down my own pile, feeling those poor souls’ pain. Where do I start? And will I finish in time to actually sleep in this bed tonight?

In that moment of desperation, Kondo advises starting with something easy. With that in mind, I found some shirts with holes in them. Out they went. There. Now we’re on our way.

As I worked through the pile, I tried to find my own definition of whether a piece “sparked joy” – a basic tenet of the KonMari Method. I settled on these questions:

  • Do I like it? The color, the shape, the design?
  • Do I feel great in it?
  • Does it serve a purpose?
  • Does it represent something I care about?

I can’t say the things I kept met all of those criteria, but it helped me make some hard decisions.

KonMari Failure – And Success

And so I sorted and cleared and folded. Next, I used the KonMari filing system to store my shirts standing up in the drawers. I tri-folded socks and underwear and placed them in smaller containers in the drawers. I relocated swimwear to a lower drawer. I left a couple of drawers empty for the coming closet apocalypse.

And then, I stepped back to assess what I had done.

The KonMari Method of filing clothes.
The drawer is done! And I really like being able to see everything at a glance.

In the end, my KonMari experiment is a mixed bag. I cheated by doing only one clothing storage area instead of the whole category, as Marie suggests. The containers I used for my socks are too tall, so the socks get caught when opening the drawer. I know I kept too many things.

On the other hand, I gained some positive takeaways. I love “filing” my shirts in the drawer since I can see every item. The folding method is close to what I was already doing, so I adapted to it easily. Also, I now have a way to assess the things I own and determine whether I want to “carry them into my future,” another question Marie asks her guests.

And there you have it. That’s my dresser all done up. Stay tuned for the Marie Kondo treatment on my closet!

Next step in organizing with the KonMari Method: the closet.
Hello, closet. You’re next.
Kathy’s family moved to Tampa when she was 5, and aside from a few years at the University of Florida (Go Gators!), she’s never lived anywhere else. She’s Irish by heritage, Greek by marriage, and mom to one brilliant little boy. She’s an avid sports fan and lived her Disney-geek dream as a member of the 2015 Disney Parks Moms Panel. A former TV producer and PR pro, Kathy now proudly sports the title of stay-at-home mom. Follow her sports-loving, Disneyfied, Tampa-centric antics on Twitter @kathyk671.