Find out how I saved tons of money by implementing the KonMari Method of decluttering and organizing!
Have you heard of Marie Kondo? Of course you have…even my 70 year old mom has heard of this decluttering and organizing expert from Japan. When I asked her about Marie Kondo, my mom said, “She’s the coo-coo one, right?” And to translate that to modern language, “She’s the cray-cray one, right?”
Well, yes I suppose, Mom. It *does* sound a little strange that Marie Kondo wants all your possessions to ‘spark joy’. And anybody is going to feel a little silly thanking their items before they throw them away (er, do I really have to thank this holey sock?)
But let me tell you, Marie Kondo, who has developed the KonMari Method of decluttering, has saved me thousands of dollars.
What is the KonMari Method?
For those of you who have been living under a rock these last few years, the KonMari Method is an extreme way to declutter and organize all of your possessions. This method is described in Marie Kondo’s ever so popular book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.
This method helps you simplify your life and encourages you to only own the items that make you happy; your things should ‘spark joy’ in you when you wear them, use them, see them, etc.
Marie Kondo’s method is unique because you declutter your items by category (clothes, books, paper) instead of the traditional method of cleaning by room/location. For instance, you gather all of your books (those in your living room, office, night stand, kids room) and you put them in one big pile to declutter.
Once you have a pile, you take each item, hold it in your hands, and determine if it ‘sparks joy’. If it doesn’t, then the item doesn’t stay in your home. Using this method, you declutter items in a specific order: first clothes, then books, papers, miscellaneous, and finally sentimental items.
How has the KonMari Method saved me money?
My spending patterns have taken a drastic turn…for the better! I find myself being much more intentional about what I buy and bring into my house. Each and every thing I now purchase must ‘spark joy’. It’s unbelievable how this cleaning method has impacted my finances.
Here are the following ways I have saved money since implementing the KonMari method:
1. I stopped buying tons of low-quality clothes and shoes. This has been a huge money saver for me. At least once a month I would go to the mall to find new clothes and shoes. I always seemed to need something (for work, for a party, for working out). Now, when I’m shopping for clothes and shoes, if I don’t love the item, if it’s not going to make me feel like a million bucks, I don’t buy it. And to be honest, I don’t find myself in malls too often anymore – I don’t enjoy bringing more stuff into my house. This has saved me (on the low end) at least $100/month or $1200/year.
2. I stopped buying home decor items. It’s pretty easy to have a spending spree in this category. But now, before I purchase something, I ask myself: Do I absolutely love this item? Do I see this item in my house for years to come? The answer is almost always no. It’s great not to have a bunch of knick-knacks in your house (and bonus, I don’t have to buy organizing baskets for these random items). I now only own things that make me smile, like framed photographs that remind me of an awesome vacation. This has saved me around $50/month or $600/year.
3. I eliminated fast food spending. This is a strange savings to attribute to the KonMari Method, but stick with me. I found that I ate fast food as a quick-fix to my hunger or cravings. I didn’t really enjoy the experience; it just satisfied me for a second. The food wasn’t really bringing me joy, making me happy; in fact, it was doing the opposite. Typically I felt bad and guilty after eating junk food. So, I just stopped eating fast food. Okay, this is like mostly true, Chick-fil-a brings tons of joy to my stomach, so I still eat there on occasion. This has saved me around $30/month or $360/year.
4. I don’t buy silly little kitchen gadgets. I ended up throwing out so many useless, only-used-once kitchen gadgets when decluttering. Now I know that these kitchen supplies will usually just sit in the back of my drawers…so what’s the point of buying more? Plus, it’s a rare day that a pineapple slicer is going to spark joy in me. This has saved me around $15/month, or $180/year.
5. I stopped buying office supplies, arts & crafts, and totally miscellaneous stuff that I can’t even categorize (ahem, Target and Amazon!). As I was making my way through the KonMari Method, I noticed that I have tons of….miscellaneous…crap. I literally had 16 different rolls of tape….whyyyyyy???? I don’t need any more pens, water bottles, or whatever else I used to buy at Target. This has saved me $50/month or $600/year.
6. I saved money on gifts, and focus on gifting experiences. Since I’ve been very hesitant to bring anything new into the house, it has affected my gift giving and receiving. I really don’t want my husband to spend money on another piece of jewelry, or something else he thinks I want. Instead, for my last birthday, I requested that we spend the day together hiking at a National Park and trying out a new BBQ restaurant near the park. For a grand total of $20 (the cost of the BBQ) and some gas money, I was able to have a very memorable and fun birthday. This has saved me $400/year.
7. I stopped buying books. Since selling and donating about 90% of my book collection, I no longer buy books unless I LOVE them. They have to be an absolute favorite or a great resource for me to give up the shelf space. This saves about $30/month or $360/year.
8. I no longer buy souvenirs. This is an obvious one. Now my favorite souvenirs are pictures from my travels. This saves about $100/year.
9. I stopped buying cheap furniture. Unless I love the piece of furniture, and plan on loving it for at least 10 years, I don’t buy it. Sure, I don’t have a nightstand right now, but that’s because I haven’t found one that I love yet. While I never bought furniture very frequently before, now it’s even less frequent. If I’m going to drop the cash, I want to smile every time I walk into the living room to see the coffee table. This saves about $300/year.
10. I reduced makeup spending. There was so much expired, unused makeup stashed underneath my bathroom sink when I decluttered. It became obvious that I have about 6 favorites, and I don’t need anything else. This saves about $20/month or $300/year.
11. I sold stuff. This is the obvious one. But I put it last because it has the least impact on my finances (and technically it’s not under the category of “saving money”…more like “making money”). I sold a ton of my clothes (many of which still had tags!) to ThredUP, a bunch of books on eBay, and some furniture on Craigslist. I made some money, but nothing as significant as the savings mentioned above. I didn’t really make much from this (I donated way more than I sold), so I’m not including it in my calculations.
Woah, the list above shows that implementing Marie Kondo’s principles of decluttering saved around around $4,400 in just one year. That’s insane.
Has there been a case when the KonMari Method made me spend more money…?
There are some instances where the KonMari Method has caused me to spend more money than I usually would. For instance, I find that I’m really happy when my car is clean. So I go to the gas station car wash a little more frequently. This costs me around $10/month or $120/year. I also find that I’ll probably spend an extra $15 on a nicer sweater or pants that’s a little higher quality than what I used to buy. This costs me around $100/year. But those additional costs don’t compare to the amount I’ve saved!
Cool! How do I start? Can I save money too?
Yup, you can save money too when you declutter and organize using the KonMari Method. Here’s how I suggest getting started:
- Buy (or borrow) Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. You don’t have to read it all, but it will be a good reference for you.
- Go to youtube, type in KonMari, and watch some videos (basically the cliffnotes to the book). I suggest this youtube video because the KonMari Method is succinctly described and then implemented in a cluttered NYC apartment.
- Ask your spouse if they are on board. If they aren’t, that’s okay. Trust me, you will still reap the benefits just decluttering your stuff.
- Start following the method, decluttering by category (and do this in the correct order).
- As you go through the decluttering process, you’ll probably make some money selling your things, but the ultimate money savings will come when your mindset shifts to only owning and buying things that spark joy. Don’t buy that sweater just because it’s on sale and you sorta like the color.
- Start spending money on experiences that will make you happy and joyful, not on things that will just satisfy you in the moment.
- And oh yeah, if you’re hard core, read her second book, Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up.
The bottom line is that I just don’t buy stuff that I don’t need. I don’t buy stuff that I don’t absolutely love, that doesn’t spark joy. It has saved me so much money and this new mindset can save you money too!
Have you done the KonMari Method? Did you notice a change in your shopping trends? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!