If it doesn’t spark joy, be gone with it. That’s the Marie Kondo method a now universal technique where the Japanese organization expert teaches people around the world to rid their homes of clutter and thus, rid themselves of the burdens of excess.
Kondo’s best selling book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up (published in 2014), motivated people around the world to live more thoughtful, mindful lives by means of purging their homes of the things that do not spark joy.
She introduces the KonMari Method, which focuses on organizing your home by the categories of items as opposed to by specific rooms. The categories are: clothing, books, paper documents, sentimental items, and “Komono,” (miscellaneous). Kondo may be the first ever decluttering celebrity, and she has mainstreamed her method even further with her new Netflix series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.
There are six basic rules to get started:
- Commit yourself to tidying up.
- Imagine your ideal lifestyle.
- Finish discarding first. Before getting rid of items, sincerely thank each item for serving its purpose.
- Tidy by category, not location.
- Follow the right order.
- Ask yourself it it sparks joy.
And five categories to tackle:
- Komono (a.k.a. Miscellaneous Items)
- Sentimental Items
While many people associate her method with tidying, it’s really about discarding items that lack value. To determine what makes the cut, Kondo has you start by removing everything out of your closets and drawers (category one), all the books off your shelves (category two), all the paperwork out of your desk and bins (you get the idea).
Once you have a big pile, you’re to go item by item and consider if it sparks joy. While Kondo admits that this can feel awkward or unnatural at first, she assures readers and viewers that you’ll get better at recognizing what sparks joy as you go. Once you’ve tossed items in every category, you should have a much smaller set of remaining items that you can return to various closets, drawers, shelves, and boxes. Note that you’re to finish one category before moving onto the next one.
Because you’re actively choosing items that spark joy, and discarding what doesn’t, the intention of the KonMari method is to end up with a clutter-free home that is better able to bring more joy and prosperity to your life. While tidying, she encourages you to visualize the life you want to live to be less stressed, for example and what you need to get there. Anything that won’t help on that journey isn’t deserving of your space or you, she says.
What are the highs?
Sees the value in checking in with yourself as you work through your space. Holding each item in your hands and asking yourself if you need it by tuning into the feeling in your heart is a definite pro.
The simple questioning technique makes a lot of sense. “By simplifying the exercise of decluttering from a series of difficult questions (i.e. Do I need it? Do I use it? Was it expensive?, Is it worth anything?) into one core question: Does it spark joy? Kondo immediately gives you permission to let go of clutter with less guilt and more clarity.
The biggest pro of this method is that it only leaves the good stuff behind, allowing you to live an uncluttered life in which your possessions and surroundings are beautiful, functional, and make you happy. And who wouldn’t want that?
What are the lows?
Though Kondo’s prompt provides a great jumping it probably won’t apply to every item in your space and that’s totally OK. We all have things in our homes that don’t bring us joy but are necessary. For example, my first aid kit. It’s not beautiful, and it’s not joyous, but it’s necessary. If you go too far in the uncluttering, you might do yourself a disservice.
Her method also calls on people to declutter their entire space in one session, which is probably unrealistic for most people. I don’t believe organizing a home can be done in one big swoop for most people. When chronic disorganization and ADD are involved, this can be a very ambitious project, especially done alone.
Most of all, I wish Marie Kondo would just say stop! Stop buying all this stuff. The only solution to our waste crisis is to halt the consumerism clogging our landfills, polluting our oceans and overcrowding our homes. Because what would really spark joy would be a world that isn’t overflowing with garbage
Thanks for reading
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