“A place for everything, and everything in its place”. I’ve long aspired to that definition of luxury, but I could never seem to live it. So, when I kept hearing buzz about Marie Kondo’s Japanese organizing method—and saw firsthand how it changed the lives of my friends—I knew I had to try it. I felt hopeful this method was the answer to living a joyful, clutter-free life. Turns out, I was right.
If you’re not familiar with the Marie Kondo method, it’s essentially a two-pronged approach to tidying. Step one, put your hands on everything you own, and ask yourself if it sparks joy. If it doesn’t, thank it for its service and get rid of it. Step two, take your remaining joy-giving belongings, and put them where they’re visible, accessible, and easy to reach. It’s really that simple.
The KonMari method really clicked with me one day when I was unloading silverware from the dishwasher. I put a tiny spoon in the large spoon section, and found myself correcting it without a second thought. Suddenly, it was so clear to me. That’s the very essence of the KonMarie method. When something has it’s place, it’s so easy to put it there, and putting it away feels effortless. That’s it.
I’m constantly downsizing. Even when I moved from my apartment to a house, I donated more than I brought in. Yet, in spite of it all, I still had so much clutter. Even after organizing and reorganizing my belongings, and doing big, decluttering sweeps, I would end up with several junk drawers and misplaced objects. It wasn’t a sustainable process.
When I finally got my hands on the book, I couldn’t wait to get started. I was surprised at how easily it came to me. I started with my closet. In one night, I made the decision to donate nearly 1/3 of all my clothes and accessories. Move it out! I moved on to the kitchen, my books, and outdoor equipment—it was going great! I was feeling extremely accomplished, confident and in my groove, when I decided to take on my makeup collection. And that is where I hit a massive wall.
Before I go into it, I’ll give you a little background on me: I grew up with a mother who didn’t wear (or even own) ANY makeup. My household was a shampoo/soap only kind of place. So, when I was first introduced to makeup as a teenager, I was completely enchanted by it’s transforming qualities. For the first time in my life, this farm-girl-tomboy with a bowl cut felt girly. I was hooked.
Fast forward now, I’m in my 30’s and have been blessed with a career in the beauty industry. My job has also given me the opportunity to amass quite the collection of beauty products. Some women have closets full of clothes—mine was a hoard of makeup.
As difficult as the process was, I finally did finish organizing and discarding the cosmetics that no longer brought me joy. Once the process was complete, I walked away having learned 8 important lessons:
1. Special occasion and daily makeup should live in the same space.
Before reorganizing, my makeup was split into, daily, special occasion, travel and extra stock (my own personal store for when one of my other collections ran out). I found out that—even on special occasions—I’d still reach for my “daily products”. Why? Simply because they were easily accessible.
2. It inspires experimentation.
Now that I store all my makeup in one place, I’m more willing to change up my look. If all of my eye and lip colors are right in front of me, it’s so much easier to feel inspired by the shades, match my color to mood, and think outside the realm of “everyday” looks.
3. You’ll save time.
When you’re not running around to different locations and rustling through piles, you'll be surprised how quickly you can get out the door.
4. Even if you haven’t opened it, it can expire.
I had so many unopened creams, serums or eyeshadows that had expired while waiting to be used. Once I put my hands on each item, I realized how silly it was to keep them, which made the discarding process a lot easier.
5. You'll find even MORE joy in the things you keep.
One of the most magical things about this method is—once you remove the old, stale colors and not-quite-right formulas you’ve been hanging onto—the products you hang onto take on a whole new life. The items I kept have more meaning to me now, and seem more beauty, after having survived the decluttering process.
6. You’ll spend less money.
Raise your hand if this has happened to you: you buy a replacement for something you think you’ve lost, only to find it later and end up with excess. I can’t count how many times this has happened to me. If you have a special place for everything, it’s not only easier to find, it’s easier to see if you’re running low. Plus, if you start using your makeup more frequently, you’re more likely to finish it before the expiration date.
7. It’s sustainable.
It’s true—if you do it right, you won’t have to do it again. Once you have a truly dedicated place for something, it’s effortless to put it back.
8. It’s contagious.
This was probably the most surprising lesson I took from the KonMarie method. I was so focused on improving my clutter problem, the people around me could feel the difference and started to do the same. I didn’t ask my husband to join the process, but he told me he was so inspired by my progress that he wanted to clean out his own closet, and even tackled the mountain of ignored basement clutter!