Condoms and KonMari – tidying up the little drawer that really sparks joy
By now you’ve probably seen Marie Kondo’s life-changing TV series in which she brings harmony to the homes of strangers by teaching them the decluttering art of ‘KonMari’. (If you haven’t, here’s the short version: throw out everything you’re not wearing right now and set fire to your credit card).
One drawer which never seems to get a rummaging on the Tidying Up show is that special one right next to the bed. But of all the places in need of tidying up, it’s probably one of the most important. Between the assorted douche bulbs, your ex’s hefty glass butt-plug, the handfuls of empty condom wrappers and that ‘rainbow’ flavoured lube from Mardi Gras 2009, there’s a fair amount of clutter in there which really needs your attention.
So draw the curtains, order that skip bin and join us for seven steps to decluttering your toy box.
Step One: Get it all out in the open
Get everything together in a big pile on the bed (maybe put a towel down first). Empty the whole drawer. Take individual items out of bags and boxes. Focus on how it feels to see it all there in one place. Are you shocked? Excited? Scared?
Step Two: Check all your perishables for dates
It may surprise you to learn that many of your favourite products actually have expiry dates. Check all your condoms, lube and medications and get rid of anything that’s on the turn. Make sure condom wrappers are still intact and sealed.
“It may surprise you to learn that many of your favourite products actually have expiry dates.”
This isn’t just about being tidy. All of these things can be less effective after their expiry dates, which could mean they’re unable to provide protection against HIV or STIs.
Step Three: Does it spark joy?
The gold standard of the KonMari method, ‘sparking joy’ refers to the little thrill you get from the things which are really important to you.
So jump up on the bed and get comfortable. Spend some time with each toy. Take a deep breath. Hold it tight. Now ask yourself — do you feel uplifted? Does this plug/wand/dildo have a place in your future?
If the answer is ‘yes’, then it’s time for some housekeeping — proceed to Step Four.
If the answer is ‘no’, then it’s not adding any value to your life — go straight to Step Five.
Step Four: Do a thorough health check of anything you want to keep
A lot of your toys (e.g. those made from glass or pure silicone) will be around longer than you will. With the right care, they will probably outlast our civilisation and quite possibly life on earth.
This doesn’t mean they’re indestructible. Check all of your toys for:
- Cracks, especially at joins and flex points
- Pits or holes
- Texture changes, including roughness and persistent stickiness
- Shape changes, including ‘melting’ and warping
- Flakes or ‘crumbs’
These can all be signs that the surface has been damaged, which makes it fertile ground for all kinds of bacteria and fungi. As a general rule, if you can see the damage, it’s already too far gone. Bin it.
Anything with a motor needs routine maintenance — actual sparks are best avoided in the bedroom/playroom. If you’ve got any toys with batteries or electrical leads, make sure all contacts, jacks and sockets are clean and free from corrosion.
Step Five: Thank U, Next
Found a toy with no joy? Don’t forget to take the time to say ‘thank you’ before you say ‘goodbye’. Remember everything it taught you. Give it a little squeeze of gratitude (use your hands if you like).
Then, when you’re ready, move on to the next one in the pile.
“Found a toy with no joy? Don’t forget to take the time to say ‘thank you’ before you say ‘goodbye’.”
Step Six: Storage
Now that you’ve culled the pack and got rid of any wounded soldiers, make sure your remaining goodies are all set for your clutter-free future together. The right storage will keep your toys in showroom condition and make sure they’re safe and fun to use for years to come.
Clean and sterilise any toys according to the manufacturer’s instructions (these will vary for different materials) and make sure they’re dry before you put them away. Store every item, including batteries, separately, either in a pouch or a sealed box — fresh socks are handy for this. Some materials, like silicone, can deteriorate from prolonged contact with other toys and lube, so take care to make sure all containers are closed tightly as well.
Finally, make sure your private toolbox isn’t in a place where it’s going to be exposed to direct sunlight or high temperatures, as this can deteriorate lube, condoms, amyl and medications such as PrEP or HIV treatments.
Step Seven: The afterglow
Take a moment to look back on what you’ve accomplished. You’ve earned a break.