TIny House KonMari: Why Tidy?

In The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, the first step Marie Kondo asks her readers to take in the KonMari process is to ascertain what their goal is in tidying in the first place.

Determined not to shortchange the process, I gave this question a lot of thought.


My beloved parents are not tidy people and yet both are perfectionists. I grew up believing that you could only have guests over when your house was spotless. At the same time, our house, while clean, was rarely tidy, and over the years, my parents only accumulated more and more belongings with no room to store them. My dad's whole extended family struggles with discarding anything, and their solution for having no room for so many items is to just build another storage shed to house it all.

I have known for many years that I did not want to live like that. I think that by falling into the tiny house lifestyle, we have been somewhat successful in curbing that inclination to just accumulate more and more stuff. However, since having children especially, I feel like even our tiny space has gotten significantly overfull. I want to live in a home where people can drop by unexpectedly without sending me into a panic, but all of the stuff we have makes it nearly impossible to keep our home in the shape I want it to be. It's stressful.

In addition, I crave more wide open spaces. In a small home, it doesn't take much to clutter up a walkway. One extra box or a bag of groceries or any number of temporarily housed items sitting on our floor makes the room feel so much smaller (and it's small to start with). In a tiny house, it's imperative to keep the clutter to a minimum, but I never learned how to do that growing up. There are times when I wonder if it's the space we live in that makes it so hard or if it's just our own tendency to fill any void with more and more possessions.

Honestly, I think it's the latter.

When we first moved into our home, it was uncluttered, and I see photos from that time and am in awe at how much more inviting the space looked then simply because we had less stuff. Of course it's harder with kids because kids have stuff, too, and it all has to fit somewhere, but I think we can still have the things that we love surrounding us while not giving into the pitfalls of an overfull house. I know that living in a home without all the clutter will make our lives less stressful and more peaceful, at least to some degree.

My aunt and uncle own a vacation home at the beach that they generously let us use whenever we want if it's not already reserved. The photo above is from a trip we took there when Sunshine was not quite a year old. That house is just so peaceful. It's not crammed full of stuff, and being there makes me happy. Coming back home makes me stressed.

That's what I want out of this process: less stress and more peace and happiness in my life.

And you know what? Marie Kondo says that when you get to the root of why anyone wants to tidy, it really is to be happy. When I narrowed it down for myself, I realized she was right.


Posts in this series:

  1. Tiny House KonMari
  2. Tiny House KonMari: Why Tidy?
  3. Tiny House KonMari: My Clothes
  4. Tiny House KonMari: The Morning After
  5. Tiny House KonMari: Closet Before and After
  6. Tiny House KonMari: My Shoes
  7. Tiny House KonMari: Kids' Clothes
  8. Tiny House KonMari: His Clothes
  9. Tiny House KonMari: Books

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