Conquer Your Clutter Anxiety Without Going Marie Kondo Crazy

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Just as I finally learned to embrace the heaps of paperwork my husband piles on our kitchen counter and island, the tornado of clothing and sports equipment our messy teen leaves around the house, and the mountain of toddler toys accumulating on my living room floor (thanks Grandma!), Marie Kondo had to pop up on Netflix with her cute little voice and tidying skills to KonMari the world with organizational splendor.

If you’ve been lost in Uranus, the KonMari method is a way of simplifying and organizing your humble abode by getting rid of physical items that do not bring joy into your life. This system came to light by organizing consultant Marie Kondo and is described thoughtfully in her best-selling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

books in a basket

KonMari teaches you to ask yourself one simple question when you go about cleaning up your home. Of each item in your home ask, does it spark joy? If not, get rid of it. It sounds easy, but, most of us have some sort of sentimental attachment to most of our belongings. Like, baby onesies and that killer cocktail dress you rocked pre-baby that now makes your figure look like a popped can of buttermilk biscuits.

It is for this very reason, Kondo has a recommended order in which you should tidy up.

  1. Clothes
  2. Books
  3. Papers
  4. Komono (miscellaneous stuff)
  5. Sentimental

I didn’t want to watch the show, read the book, or have anything to do with organizational effectiveness because clutter and I finally have reached a place of understanding. I will relax on the clutter and the messes my husband and children make in exchange for my sanity and keeping a happy home.

Happy home meaning less fights with my husband about where the heck I put the pile of papers that was sitting on our island for months, no more attitude from my stepson about where his phone charger, jacket, and headphones are, and less care about the myriad items that create little valleys and hills on what seems like every open space of the house.

Believe me, I’d much rather have that simple minimalistic home that you see in lifestyle magazines. The home with oversized blank rooms donning clean-lined furniture and random pieces of arts and woven mats strategically placed to please the eye. I’m assuming those homes have no children running amok and must have a basement or huge garage to store their crap in. Let’s not forget the most important, a minimalist partner who supports the idea of “less is more.”

I lived a Marie Kondo approved life pre-marriage and pre-children, but now it’s not worth fighting the battle. I’ll continue to sort and donate Violet and I’s clothes and books, maybe toss an old memento or two. But, attempt to tidy up my husband and stepson’s gidgets, gadgets, and clothing? Nah, I’d rather stay married.

I’m not saying that I don’t organize our space somewhat. Living with three messy peeps, bins and containers are my savior for organizing just about every room and they make for quick clean-up.

Here are my go-to devices for concealing the clutter that accumulates around the house.

For hiding toys (and diapers, etc.) in the living room, go for a structured fabric or thatched plastic bin that matches with your house décor.

COTTON ROPE WOVEN BASKET

Cotton Rope Woven Basket – Tidy Loft Co – 16″ x 13″

Buy on Amazon

For art supplies, buy a clear shoe-boxed size bin that you can put on a shelf and still see what is inside.

PLASTIC ART SUPPLIES ORGANIZER BOX

mDesign Plastic Art Supplies, Crafts, Crayons and Sewing Stacking Storage Organizer Box

Buy on Amazon

For your junk drawer, use squared-off bins in a variety of sizes to help you make the most of every nook and cranny.


madesmart Value 9-Piece Interlocking Bin Pack

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For your bedroom closet, choose a breathable container so your clothes, scarves, and belts can stay crisp and fresh smelling.


Ziz Home Blankets Clothes Storage Bag Breathable Anti-Mold Material 

Buy on Amazon

For your piles of aging creams, dry shampoo, lotions, and other miscellaneous toiletries use a behind the door storage device to hide your smorgasbord of products and save space in cozy bathrooms with limited counter space.


SONGMICS Small Bathroom Storage Cabinet, Door/Wall Mounted

Buy on Amazon

For the car keys, wallets, loose change, and trinkets, look for a funky flower pot (or several) to hide the man clutter while adding a burst of colorful flair.


Gifts & Decor Cobalt Planter Ceramic Garden Plant Flower Pot Set, 3-Piece

Buy on Amazon

For the pile of shoes at the door, use a beautiful storage box that doubles as a spot to sit and take off your shoes. You conceal the mess and jazz up your entryway at the same time.


Oriental Furniture Rush Grass Storage Box

Buy on Amazon

Don’t think clutter is a big deal?

A Cornell University study found that individuals living in messy, chaotic environments eat more junk food. Yikes. Another study by Princeton Neuroscience Institute uncovered that in disorganized spaces people are more stressed, distracted, thus, less productive.

Still not convinced?

Clear the Clutter Without Konmari

Clutter also raises levels of stress hormones in mothers, according to “Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century: 32 Families Open Their Doors,” a book by researchers at UCLA’s Center on Everyday Lives of Families.

When you can’t rock a full Marie Kondo approved home make-under, concealing the clutter will help to lower your stress, keep your clutter anxiety at bay, and lessen the amount of bitching from your husband about where you moved all his stuff.

I’d say that’s a win-win, Mama!

What do you do to help keep your home organized?

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Author: Brandi Wiatrak

Hey, Mama! I'm Violet's mom and Chris' step-mama, Brandi. This space is a peek into my cold-brew fueled life navigating motherhood and the world. With brutal honesty, humor, and sarcasm, I talk about the joys (and sucks) of parenting, ways to live a simple & sane life, and awesome adventures to embark on with your family. Come aboard my crazy train! Wine and Gerber Puffs included.

15 thoughts

  1. Thank you!!! I also am attached to everything sentamentally. I have started making my way through the house room by room. I love your storage ideas. It still puts things where you can find them and sounds like it’s easier to clean up in a hurry.

    1. Brandi Wiatrak says:

      Yes! Dual purpose storage is important. Find something that is nice enough to use as decor, so you can keep it accessible…and hide all the clutter. A triple win!

  2. i love these ideas for storage! I did watch the show and did use some of her approaches. It definitely helped to rid of some of the extra clothing we have hanging but never gets worn

    1. Brandi Wiatrak says:

      Kondo is definitely a smart woman with excellent tips, just wish I could apply them to the whole house! Baby steps, I guess. Kudos to you for conquering your closet! That’s awesome!

  3. Nicole Kauffman says:

    These are so great! I love the idea of buying places to put stuff that matches the decor!!

  4. amber stanfield says:

    I love the linked grass storage box. We use one similar in our bedroom at the foot of our bed to store our extra sheets, pillows, and pillowcases.

    1. Brandi Wiatrak says:

      It’s awesome! We don’t have much storage in our house and it works wonder and adds a touch of flair!

  5. Great post! I love organizing, but life happens. I love the idea of Marie Kondos techniques, but yeah I’m with you if much rather be married! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Brandi Wiatrak says:

      I wish it could be the best of both worlds! I married a packrat. 😂

  6. I love your mindset — that you just have to relax a bit in order to stay marries (and sane)! And I love the cute organizers you suggested, especially the big woven basket.

    1. Brandi Wiatrak says:

      Thanks a lot! It’s not easy to relax on this stuff, but I’d rather have a happy home than a clutter free home. My husband appreciates that I’ve relaxed a bit. Ha!

  7. I got into Marie Kondo before her show and significantly decreased the clutter in our home. And it felt good! But unfortunately clutter always comes back. It can be quite overwhelming and stressful. I feel as soon as I get rid of something, something else takes its place. So instead I have created bins that more or less conceal the clutter.

    1. Brandi Wiatrak says:

      You’re so right! Clutter is a never-ending battle in our home. No matter how much I clean and organize it always gets back to where it was at square one, which has prompted me to be more creative with how I conceal the messes. Maybe, someday when the kids are out of the house it will be clean again….then I will probably be sad no one is around. Haha! I tell ya….

  8. I love organization. With a baby and a toddler it’s not always easy having the house look nice. I like these tips! I also love the cute storage units.

    1. Brandi Wiatrak says:

      Thanks, Judy! You’re right. It’s hard having a tidy and organized house with kids. Now, I finally understand why my mom would yell at us when we were kids, “I can’t have anything nice with you kids running around!” 😂

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