I used the KonMari method to clean up my sad break-up feelings and this is what happened

Sparking joy is what relationships usually do but it’s a veeery different story when they end. More often than not, we’re faced with a very difficult reality of crying, missing the other person, and trying to unlearn so many habits you had with them. It’s tough. And it builds up to a scary emotional height the longer you ignore it. It’s not fun.

So while I was dragging myself through the proverbial glass, hating how things turned out, hating myself for the things I did or failed to say, I felt myself shut everyone out and build those walls high and strong. Only ’til here, I told myself, referring to closing in my feelings. It can’t spill through here.

And, like all things that happen in sad internal narration, it backfired.


I use humor to cope with my pain and funny gifs help a lot

Everything fell apart almost hilariously and it’s kind of ridiculous. Fights, arguments, more heartbreak after initial heartbreak, pushing people away, I walked right into every cliche. And I buried myself in a hole where I was continuously reminded of how hurt I was, how I was left behind, erased, ghosted, all that. And it feels worse than it sounds.

Before long, I was cluttered inside and out. The “clothes I’ll use again” pile grew as high as my self-loathing, there were crumbs on my bed from the rare times I actually wanted to eat, and way too many tear-filled tissues overflowing from my trash can. I was (kinda still am?) a mess. And it’s not a pretty sight.

So I went to the internet’s new favorite person to go to when it comes to messes: Marie Kondo.


I was desperate for some semblance of organization in my life. It was practically in shambles and I wasn’t okay with it. So I took a stab in the dark with the KonMari method both in terms of my belongings and my emotions–this is what went down.

1. Thanking the space

I first attempted to at least look like I had my life together at a glance and attempted to clear out my things. I tend to hold on to a lot of things and I really don’t even need all of them. And yet. The worst of these are clothes, books, art materials, and anything sentimental. I’m naturally a very emotional person and so I hold on to anything and everything that I can tie back to someone, somewhere, or a memory.

Because of this, I have so much random memorabilia. Some things people might even consider garbage. Letters, notes, drawings, even containers from fast food places that were tied to some inside joke. And we had plenty, me and him.

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So I did it step by step like on the show. And what Marie always did was thank the house she was about to clean up for protecting the family and allowing them a place to grow in. So I guess I took a second to thank my room, for housing all my things, giving me shelter, and a place to cry. And then I took an even longer second to thank the relationship, even if it ended in flames. I thanked it for all its happy memories and the moments it allowed me to grow, even if I didn’t want to.

I thanked the opportunity to love him and be loved by him. Even if part of me didn’t want to say thank you, I did.

2. Does this spark joy?

Next was the bulk of the entire exercise–decluttering. And I had tons of stuff and tons of feelings. So it already felt hopeless to even try. But try I did.

I pulled out all the clothes that reminded me of him. Just some pieces that stood out because I wore them when I saw him or he made comments about them that reminded me of other inside jokes or anything. The first was a blouse I wore the first time we saw each other. Did it spark joy? Yes, because it was the first time I saw his face. I kept it. A jacket that I didn’t change out of for 3 days after the break-up. No, it had to go. A skirt I wore on one of our dates. Yes, he made me laugh so hard that I spilled wine all over it.

All throughout picking out my clothes, I was crying. Because even if he was gone he felt so alive in the fabric I was holding. Clothes I wore when he said he loved me the first time, clothes I cried into the weeks after he ghosted me, clothes I ruined by picking apart the hems when he was telling me why he did what he did to me. All of them, no matter the context, kept me warm, especially when he was hurting me the most. It was an exercise in gratitude. So I said “thank you” to each piece of clothing I gave up.

In the process, I also started questioning the memories I fixated on and if they brought any joy the longer I lingered on them. It was hard to try and move on from them and make peace with them, but I took the first step by saying: thank you.

3. Everything has its place

Marie Kondo loves boxes. Compartments for every little thing and belonging. I bought boxes. Lots of them. I organized my markers and art materials so I could see them all when I opened drawers. I folded up love letters I never sent and tucked them away in a box. I put boxes in boxes so I could use them later. Everything had its own place and I was glad.

I even drew physical boxes on paper: Happy memories, sad memories, good things he said, good things I said, things I wish I did, things I wish I knew.

And I sorted things out to see it all in front of me. The bad outweighed the good tremendously–the lying, the ghosting, taking his temper out on me, all that. But there was no denying that there was good.


When I looked around me, I was shocked at how sore I was and how clean it was. Maybe it was all the pent-up energy I’d been using to just cry. But things seemed in order and I couldn’t make sense of it. I guess I was hoping I felt better and I did, marginally, but that’s still a small victory I’ll take. It didn’t mean I moved on completely, I still hurt a lot and I still cried so much (so much) but it at least gave me some clarity: There was good and bad and everything in between.

While I was still sad, things were a little more clear, too. I didn’t deserve to be hurt. He did things to actively hurt me. And it wasn’t okay. And as much as I couldn’t reconcile someone saying they loved me and then hurting me this way, I had to just put it in the “things I still can’t make sense of” box. Because maybe sometimes people are just selfish. And I hate that. But it’s true.

I finally got out of the house a few days ago. I went to see friends. And even if it feels like I want to jump out of my own skin or run away or hide, I like how the sun feels. I cry in public a lot still and it hurts when I see something that reminds me of him. But I think putting things away and into perspective has at least brought some peace. I can’t say I’ll ever get over it, it still hurts too much, but I at least put things in their place.

And that’s okay for now.

Have you ever used the KonMari method? Let us know how it went for you!