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When it comes to decluttering, do what works for you mama

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up doesn’t work for everyone—and that’s okay.

When it comes to decluttering, do what works for you mama

I love the subject of clearing clutter. For me, and most others, outer order contributes to inner calm. I feel this phenomenon in my own life—the effect of decluttering exhilarates me in practice and fascinates me in theory. And I find the relationship between possessions and happiness fascinating as well.


So I was eager to read Marie Kondo’s blockbuster bestseller, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I found it thought-provoking, and I gleaned some great clutter-clearing tips from the “KonMari Method.” But, I also discovered I have some profound disagreements with it.

I’ve come to believe deeply that we all must find our own way to happiness and good habits.

There is no magic, one-size-fits-all solution. Just because something works for you—or Marie Kondo—doesn’t mean that it will work for me. We can all learn from each other, absolutely, but there’s no “one way” to achieve anything. You indulge in moderation; I abstain. You exercise in the afternoon; I exercise first thing in the morning. You like lots of abundance; I like simplicity. No one’s right, and no one’s wrong. It comes down to what’s true for the individual.

And, Marie Kondo does indeed argue for the one best way. But here’s the thing: if you read five pages of her book, you know that Marie Kondo is an extreme, idiosyncratic personality—which I love and makes the book much more interesting! But what works for Marie Kondo isn’t necessarily a great guide for what works for everyone else.

As she describes herself, she makes it clear that she’s a simplicity-lover, who likes to take big steps, who’s a sprinter, and a person who doesn’t feel strong emotional attachments to possessions. (Though at the same time, she shows a strong feeling of animism, which I found intriguing.) But some people are abundance lovers, and some people like to start small, and some people are marathoners, and some people have strong emotional attachments to possessions. So her guidance may not work for you.

Here are the seven KonMari Methodconcepts I disagree with:

1. Putting every item in a category on the floor in the middle of a room as the first step in clearing clutter.

She says if you’re cleaning out your coats, take out every single coat; if you’re clearing your bookshelves, take out every book. In my experience, this can easily become overwhelming and lead to even more clutter that lasts a longer time, because people bite off more than they can chew. Know yourself.

2. Having a joyful relationship with every item you own.

She recommends asking yourself whether or not an item “sparks joy.” This is a terrific suggestion and can be very helpful. But I don’t think I can realistically expect to have a joyful relationship with every item in my apartment. I find it exhausting even to contemplate having an emotional reaction to so many common objects. It’s true, though, that for many people, “spark joy” has been a revelation. Know yourself.

3. Solitude and quiet when clearing clutter.

For me, that works very well. But for many people, it’s helpful to have a clutter-clearing partner. Another person can help with the grunt work, give advice about what to keep or discard, and can make the chore more fun. Know yourself.

4. Taking everything out of your handbag...every single day.

This would not be a good use of my time or energy, and I don’t think it would achieve anything. On the other hand, many others have followed Kondo’s suggestion with great success. Know yourself.

5. Doing a giant purge, rather than tackling a little clutter each day.

Some people like to start big, and some like to start small. It’s exhilarating, and highly productive to tackle a big, one-time goal—and the subsequent clean slate is powerful. But it’s also true that we can get a lot done by doing a little bit each day over the long term. Know yourself.

6. The best time to start is early morning.

That’s great if you’re a morning person, but I doubt that’s true if you’re a night person. Know yourself.

7. Folding is the best way to store most clothes.

She’s a big proponent of folding—and she has a very particular method of doing it. I myself just can’t handle that high of commitment level to folding. Know yourself.

Use what works for you.

The problem arises when you beat yourself up for not being able to do things the “KonMari” way, aka, the right way. Though when it comes to clearing clutter, there is no right way, only what’s right for you.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Marie Kondo’s book. I found it thought-provoking, helpful, and engaging. The minute I finished the book, for example, I got rid of a million coats.

But here’s the thing, it seems so obvious to me that there’s no one “right” or “best” way to change habits. So why, then, do so many experts assert that they’ve found the one true way?

There’s something about human nature when it comes to getting advice—we love to be given the true plan, the precise template that’s going to reveal the exact directions to success.

And when it comes to giving advice, it’s easy to assume that because some strategy works well for us, other people will use it with equal success. But it’s always a matter of the individual.

I learned many little things from Marie Kondo’s book, and there was one big thing I learned: that we should remain grateful to our possessions for having served us well, for embodying someone else’s affection for us in the form of a gift, or for giving us a thrill upon purchase. An “attitude of gratitude,” even for inanimate objects, makes us happier. And I know that I’ve never let go of an old laptop without taking a moment to think, “Farewell, my old friend, we’ve had some great times together, but now it’s time for you to rest.”

My village lives far away—but my Target baby registry helped them support me from afar

Virtual support was the next best thing to in-person hugs

They say you shouldn't make too many major life transitions at once. But when I was becoming a mama for the first time nearly five years ago, my husband and I also moved to a new town where we didn't know a soul, bought our first house and changed jobs.

To put it mildly, we didn't heed that advice. Luckily, our family and friends still made it feel like such a magical time for us by supporting our every move (literal and otherwise) from afar. They showered us with love through a virtual baby shower (expectant parents nowadays can relate!) featuring the unwrapping of gifts they were able to ship straight to me from my Target registry.

Here's one piece of advice I did take: I registered at Target so I could take advantage of the retailer's benefits for registrants, which include a welcome kit valued over $100, a universal registry function and more. Fast-forward a few years and Target has made the registration perks even better for expectant parents: As of August 2020, they've added a Year of Exclusive Deals, which gives users who also sign up for Target Circle a full year of savings after baby is born on all those new mama essentials, from formula to diapers and beyond.

Honestly, even without the significant perks of a free welcome kit with more than $100 in coupons, additional 15% off coupons to complete the registry and a full year of free returns, registering at Target wasn't a hard sell for me: Even though the experience of shopping for baby items was new, shopping with Target felt like returning home to me… and the comfort of that was such a gift.

And of course, Target's registry plays a vital role right now, as expectant parents everywhere are being forced to cancel in-person baby showers and navigate early parenthood without the help of a hands-on village. A registry like this represents a safe way for communities to come through for new parents. If you're anything like me (or any of the other mamas here at Motherly), you certainly have emotional ties and fond memories associated with Target.

What to register for at Target was also an easy talking point as I began to connect with moms in my new community. I will always remember going on a registry-building spree with my next door neighbor, who had young children of her own. As we walked the aisles of Target back in 2015, she suggested items to add… and we laid the foundation for what has since become one of my most cherished friendships.

Even as I made connections in my new hometown, I was nervous that expecting my first baby wouldn't feel as special as if I were near family and friends. But my loved ones exceeded all expectations by adding the most thoughtful notes to gifts. They hosted a beautiful virtual baby shower and even encouraged me to keep the registry going after my baby made his debut and new needs arose.

In the years since, "community" has taken on a wonderfully complex new meaning for me… and, in these times of social distancing, for the rest of the world. I've come to cherish my newfound friends in our local community alongside those long-time friends who are scattered around the county and my virtual mama friends.

Now, as my friends' families grow, I'm so grateful that I can show them the same love and support I felt during my first pregnancy. I sing the praises of Target's baby registry—especially in light of the pandemic, since I know mamas can do everything from a distance thanks to Target's website and the added benefit of getting trusted reviews and helpful registry checklists.

And now that I'm on the gift-buying side of the equation, I've found new joy in picking thoughtful gifts for my friends. (Because goodness knows Target has something for everyone!)

For my friend who is a fellow runner, I teamed up with a few others to give the jogging stroller she had on her registry.

For my friend who is a bookworm, I helped her start her baby's library with a few books that are also well-loved in our home.

For other friends, I've bundled together complete "sets" with everything they need for bathing or feeding their children.

I know from my own experience that, yes, the registry purchases are so appreciated, but the thoughtfulness and the support they represent means even more. Because although my village may have been distant, the support they showed me was the next best thing to in-person hugs.

Start your own Target Baby Registry here to experience a Year of Benefits including a Year of Exclusive Deals through Target Circle to enjoy for a full year following your baby's arrival, a year of free returns, two 15% off completion coupons and a free welcome kit ($100 value).

This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

$35

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The 6 biggest lies I believed before having kids

Just about all of us had set assumptions about raising kids before we became parents ourselves.

Just about all of us had set assumptions about raising kids before we became parents ourselves. Some of these ideas might have been based on our own ideas of how we would absolutely do things differently than everyone else. Others, we believed what everyone else told us would happen would apply to our littles, too. But, that's not always the case, mama.

Below are six of the biggest lies I believed before having kids—and the reality of what actually happened for me.

1. Put your baby down drowsy, but awake

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