Recently, I read a review of this book, “The life-changing magic of tidying up” and then saw a YouTube video from Marie Kondo, the author @ a TED talk. She was explaining her “KonMari” method of de-cluttering and organizing. Marie is a Japanese cleaning consultant. “Okay”, I thought, “Another piece about de-cluttering; I just wrote a post about organization a couple weeks ago.” (see The Rhythm of Organizing).
It’s been three years since I “Kon-Maried” my home. Lately, there has been a big resurgence of the Kon Mari method (The life changing method of tidying up), due in large part to Marie Kondo’s new Netflix binge-watchable show. I thought it was time to take stock as to how the Kondo method of de-cluttering stood up over time. Did my clothes stay folded in rectangles that stand up? Do I thank my belongings after using them, and greet my home when I get back from being out and about? And, do I only keep things that “spark joy”?
The answer is: Mostly!
I did get rid of an awful lot of stuff when I went through the Marie Kondo’s process. Most of the items that were kept were things that I liked. I’m not sure many of them spark joy because there are many things that are functional and”okay” but needed to be kept as they were essential; For example – appliances. Many are now 20 years old (since we got married), I wasn’t in a place where I could replace all the stuff I wanted to toss out. But…a lot about the method held up over the past few years. Here are the things that worked and stuck:
1. Still no clutter: I didn’t replace the clutter I got rid of that I didn’t need or want.
2. Everything is Usable: Well, almost all the stuff in the house is stuff that we use, consistently; if it’s not, we get rid of it quickly.
3. Things are folded: I still fold my clothes the “Marie Kondo” way! (nice and neat rectangles that stand up and are all facing the same way.)
4. Things have a space: I know where things are most of the time, even though I still lose my keys periodically, and my reading glasses, but these are usually right on top of my head (where I left them).
5. Appreciation: I notice we have had a heightened sense of gratitude for what we do have, and do less pining for things that we don’t.
Having enough, Being enough, Doing enough.
Minimalism does translate into other areas of life. Using the method and enjoying your environment has rewards associated with it. Just like there is a body/mind/sprit connection, it follows that there is a body, mind, spirit, and environment connection. These are the rewards of having less and liking what you have:
You create space, time, and energy to get done what you need to & get clear about who, what, when, where, and how you want to be and do.
(My original post is below).
If you are doing the Kon Mari method, leave a comment or a picture. I’d love to know what your “aha’s” are, and your before’s and after’s.
A little bit about the “KonMari” Method.
But, this was something a bit different. It wasn’t about how to approach repetitive household chores, it was about your relationship to your things and what’s important to you.
Being a dance/movement therapist, I thought it sounded interesting as she advocates for checking in with your body and your emotions when considering whichobjects to keep. If the object “sparks joy” when you touch it, and consider it, then you keep the object. The ones that don’t spark joy, you toss. That way you are only keeping the items that you love.
At the TED talk, an audience member asked the question, “What if “what you have”, doesn’t spark joy, but you need it?” (My “BS meter”wanted to know this, too; as, for example, most of my possessions for many years didn’t exactly spark joy, but were what was practical at the time, and what I could afford.)
The answer from Mari was to pare down what you don’t need and cultivate gratitude for that which you have and do need at this time. This made sense to me, and I was impressed that she handled the question so proficiently. Ok, I let down some of my skepticism, and I found myself enjoying the book, and starting to incorporate some of the ideas in my home.
The KonMari method stresses that you do this process of decluttering (or “tidying” as it is referred to in the book) all at once. You can, however, break it down to doing one category at a time, but the idea behind doing it “all at once” is that it gives your brain a shift when you see the drastic and positive change due to the process. The book explains that this prevents “rebounds” or relapses.
Here are a couple of the other directives from the book:
1. Sort items by category, not location.
(So for example, you organize all of your clothes from each closet at once; not just your bedroom closet.)
2. The order or tidying is important. Start with clothes. You put all your clothes in a pile. The clothes category is then broken down: Tops first, then bottoms, clothes that should be hung, socks, underwear, bags, accessories, clothes for specific events, and lastly – shoes. (There is an order to everything).
3. Sort mementos last because “people get stuck when going through these items” and have a hard time finishing the process, according to Mari.
4. Go through and touch each item and see if it “sparks joy” within you. If not, toss it. You really consider how you feel about your things. It helps with decision making and with being tuned into your body and emotions.
5. There are specific ways to fold each item (mostly into these rectangles)
6. Organize by color. Dark to light.
Those are some of the basics. So far, we’ve gone through clothes, cupboards, books, music, and tools. We sorted, tosses, donated, and fixed/mended tons of “stuff”. More to do this week, but things are looking and “feeling” good around here. We’ve created lots of space, to welcome in the new growth associated with springtime.
The book is fast becoming something of a phenomenon.
It is currently on the New York Times bestseller list.
If you’d like to purchase the book, here is the link: KonMari Method
Here is a little look of one of my “before and after” pics.
“Order is dependent on the extremely personal values of what a person wants to live with”. ~Marie Kondo
Create your health with the magic of tidying! ~Chris