Diabetes KonMari: Supplies

Have you heard about The KonMari Method? It’s the concept of de-cluttering your life developed by Marie Kondo. She wrote this book:

51H8x07Fd7L._SX351_BO1,204,203,200_The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

She wants you to only keep things that “spark joy” and to find a place for everything in your home. Obvious, she does not have diabetes, because she would know that it’s hard to get that spark of joy from a lancet. But.. I kind of get what she means. (I’ll explain later.)

I was curious (her “method” is hot on Facebook and Pinterest), so I took a gander at what her revolutionary concepts boiled down to – and if I could adapt them for life with diabetes.

KonMari: Diabetes Supplies

Here’s what her main concepts are – and my take on whether I can (or you can) KonMari my diabetes supplies. Some of what she espouses is a little touchy-feely, but if you can go with the flow or look past “thanking your items,” you might find Diabetes KonMari could work for you, too.

  • Tidy up all at once, not little by little. The idea that if you just try to organize a little bit every day, you’ll end up organizing just a little bit every day.
    • I feel like that’s all I do with a kid. Tidy up little by little – a Lego here, a stray sock there. You know the phrase: “Death by a thousand cuts?” That’s what tidying up little by little can feel like. Anything that I can do for my diabetes to “tidy up all at once in one fell swoop,” I’m willing to do. Also, need to check those expiration dates, right? So, let’s do this.
  • Sort by category, not by location. “The best sequence is this: clothes first, then books, papers, komono (miscellany), and lastly, mementos…Sticking to this sequence sharpens our intuitive sense of what items spark joy inside us.”
    • OK, it’s all komono with diabetes, right? Grab all your diabetes supplies and everything related to diabetes. Everything. Put them all together. Wait. Did you forget that box of lancets hiding in the other bathroom? That one, too. The meter in your purse? The extra meter in your suitcase? Glucose tabs. Juice boxes. Anything and everything to do with diabetes, down to the extra supplies in your emergency kit. Put it all there, sweetie. Everything.
  • Start by discarding, all at once, intensely and completely. “Do not even think of putting your things away until you have finished the process of discarding,” she exhalts.
    • I had diabetes detritus that I didn’t even know I still owned. Items that I’m sure I said once: “I might need that.” and threw it in a box. Lancets from 2004, still in the packaging. (Admit it… you probably do, too, if you’ve had diabetes that long.) I culled my diabetes supplies down from a mountain to a fairly robust mound, putting some items into piles for donation (if I could) and trash (if I couldn’t). Gotta say it was cathartic. And here’s why…
  • sparks-1-1553324-640x480Keep only the things that “spark joy”. She wants us to pick up every item and ask, “Does this spark joy?” She tells us: “Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest.” Let’s be real. We’re not going to hold every item. But…
    • “What the hell, Christel!?! (Yes, that rhymes.) How can diabetes supplies give me joy?” Yeah, yeah. I’m right there with you. Except that I have this one favorite lancing device that I use, so why do I have seven different other types of lancing devices that I will never use? Why do I keep infusion sets that I tried once and abhorred? Why do I have glucose tabs that make me gag in the bottom of a backpack? (I’d rather eat table sugar.)
    • The point of this is to figure out what you do like and keep those items and get rid of the rest. If you’re scared about losing your one lancing device you own, get another from your medical team or purchase one. (Or swap an unused one with someone you know.) Clear out the stuff you “might use someday if I use up everything else” and you’ll find you have the diabetes supplies that may not bring you unbounded joy, but don’t suck.
  • Once you’ve finished discarding things — (selling them, donating them, giving them away, or ::gasp:: throwing them away) — only then do you store them. KonMari tells you to think about why you have a particular item(s), and then think hard about the role it plays in your life. Ask when you got it. Why you got it. How about that spark? If you decide it’s not worth keeping, you can say, “Thank you for teaching me what doesn’t suit me,” and let it go.
    • Um… I don’t think you have to touch and thank each lancet separately. You’d be “thanking” for a long time. But think about what you don’t need.
    • But in donating these items, you’re helping someone else. Books on diabetes that you don’t need? Donate them to your local library or share them with your local diabetes group. Ask if anyone could you unused lancets, syringes, meters, etc. and gift them to someone who will be sparked by joy. And if you can’t find anyone, you can always donate to Insulin For Life – USA. (Link and info on what you can donate here.) But throw away any expired or used items. Those aren’t helping anyone – especially you.
  • If you use it, you need to put it away. Storage is key. “Clutter is caused by a failure to return things to where they belong. Therefore, storage should reduce the effort needed to put things away, not the effort to get them out.”
    • I bought clear plastic bins with locking lids and put my most used items (strips, pump supplies, and Dexcom sensors) on a shelf that I can easily access. Extras? Storage that is easily accessible but out of the way. What about glucagon? Glucose tabs? Those lannnnnccccetttts? Find a place for them to “belong” and keep them there until they are needed. Nothing is worse that trying to find a glucagon kit shoved in a drawer.
  • Eliminate visual clutter. “By eliminating excess visual information that doesn’t inspire joy, you can make your space much more peaceful and comfortable.”
    • Sounds funny, right? “I keep the meter on my bedside table, along with my juicebox and my glucose tabs and my receiver and…” We talk about being overwhelmed with our supplies/devices sometimes, so this is what I’m doing:
      • My bedside drawer holds my meter, my glucose tabs/juicebox, etc. At night, I take them out and if they didn’t get used, they go back into the bedside drawer in the morning. It’s a hard habit, but I like being able to look over in the morning and see the absence of diabetes on the night table.
      • I’ve begun to find storage places and taking diabetes out of my line of sight, but I know where everything is stored now.

empty-box-1312775-639x424Would you be wiling to try and KonMari your diabetes? Do you think this method can’t be used for diabetes? Or do you have a better method to “spark joy?” I’m curious as to your thoughts, too!

  1. This is my favorite thing today. Thank you!

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Great post!!! I’m planning on trying. Out this process this coming weekend. I do have a storage cabinet whee I keep extra supplies but like u my bedside table is cluttered w D junk!! So if at the very least I can free up some space in the drawer to put it all away during the day, that would be great!! We’ll see how I do!!!

  3. Thanks for this great post. I’m in the midst of doing my own cleansing and de-cluttering and it does feel pretty great. I also put all my diabetes supplies in one bag and now I’m not searching and discovering d-surprises every which way.

  4. This is a great post and really woke me up. dedicated a whole closet shelf with all the pump supplies etc and I realized that I have an old pump and meter that was replaced with the 530g system (and Hate it) and was wondering how I can “get rid of it”? Are there any suggestions?
    Thanks so much!

    1. I would contact the old pump company and ask what you could do? Some companies allow donations, others do upgrade programs, etc. However, you can’t “give” it to someone else to use as it is a prescription item.

  5. I did this with my closet this year. I got rid of a lot of D-supplies last year before we moved. I found a manual from my Accu-check 2 in all of my stuff. (Yes, the original.)

  6. (I am a friend of JoAnn Milo – one of the GNOers in California!)

    Coincidentally, I just did this a couple of weeks ago – and had just heard about the “Spark Joy” concept in an article the day before I was undertaking this task with my “Professional Organizer” friend.

    We emptied my office completely and I went through every item in the room. I got rid of a lot of old Diabetes devices, including sending some extra supplies to someone in need and sending an old G4 to someone to hack for artificial pancreas purposes. But the most interesting discovery of the day was when I came to box of old Diabetes notebooks where, before my CGM and pump days, I wrote down every meal and blood sugar from 2002 to 2012. Ten years of my life in numbers! I had been hanging on to these as a record. But when it came time to discard them, I burst into tears. It was like thinking about throwing away my life! And yes, I could see certain bits of my history in this paper trail – dates and meals eaten on certain vacations, and certain meals at special restaurants (who could forget eating at The French Laundry!). But mostly, it was a reminder of a lot of really hard work – the overhead of being a “D” person.

    My friend asked me, “Do these “spark joy” for you? And that’s when I started to cry. They did not. They were mostly a reminder of my failures, not my triumphs. After recovering my senses, I decided to keep the first two notebooks – the ones that showed the start of this long journey. The rest went into the trash.

    Now all my diabetes supplies are organized in a little five-drawer tower in my closet. Remarkably, I think of those notebooks from time to time – wondering where they are in the City Dump and realizing that I feel amazingly lighter without them!

    Happy organizing!


  7. I did it (sort of) today. Thank you for the inspiration!

  8. […] kachunkers, tubing, and associated cartridges/syringes/needles. That’s how today became diabetes KonMari day. (Christel’s post was the inspiration, of […]

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