Japanese organisational guru Marie Kondo has found such worldwide popularity that Netflix has finally decided to give her a whole eight-episode television series, in which to talk tidying.
Kondo – whose technique was popularised in her book ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ – wants us all to declutter our lives. To ask ourselves whether the crap we hoard is ‘sparking joy’. If the answer is no, it goes.
This might seem brutal but with over 8,000,000 copies of her book sold globally, she is definitely on to something.
After my own Mari-moment at the beginning of 2018, I asked five other women what they learned from Marie Kondo and more broadly, from decluttering their lives.
Adopting the KonMari method doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
For me, it started in January when a friend suggested I read Marie Kondo’s book at the start of 2018 to help get my life in order. But investing in a whole novel felt like an awful lot of commitment just for a tidy wardrobe.
So (as with many aspects of my life) I cherrypicked parts that worked for me and willfully ignored the chapters I figured were less important. For example, rather than following the golden rule of asking out loud whether my items ‘sparked joy’ I just mused internally. And credit to Kondo, she has a point.
Acknowledging the lack of enthusiasm for a lot of my clothes, made me part with items I should have ditched years ago. There is undoubtedly benefit to be had from just dipping your toes into the world of KonMari.
Folding your socks differently isn’t just pointless faff.
Life coach Helen Sanderson, wrote in a blog for HuffPost UK: “One of the things Marie Kondo is most famous for is her folding method [which you can view here]. I’m sure you’ll agree that a drawer filled with beautifully folded items where you can see and find things easily would bring joy and harmony to anyone. Especially someone who spends half their time rummaging in the bottom of their cupboard looking for things.”
Throwing stuff away isn’t for Instagram, it is for you.
Freelance journalist, Sophie Bauer says: “For me, the most wonderful and ridiculous benefit of decluttering is the fact that it allows you to understand and appreciate who you are, rather than who you were or who you want to be. Our home and, by extension, our possessions, are powerful signifiers of our identity, which we broadcast to the world both for that elusive ‘other people’.
“Decluttering forces you to confront what you really hold dear. And in doing so you’ll probably realise that a lot of your stuff could go in a time capsule as it is, in all honesty, totally unrepresentative of who you are. Here. Today.”
Viewing tidying as a chore is the wrong way to look at it.
A colleague, Amy Packham, who also loves a declutter, told me: “Every six months or so I’ll have a huge declutter of my bedroom. It is not so much because it’s messy or looks bad, I just find it so therapeutic and refreshing to clear things out that I don’t use, need or care about anymore.
“The benefits are more about how I feel mentally after I do it – taking two big black bags of clothes, shoes and bags to the charity shop down the road feels insanely good – I’m not even sure why. Also having less material ‘stuff’ seems to feel good in a way and like I’m cleansing my brain by not being in a crowded room full of shit.”
Keeping gifts you hate isn’t the only option.
Another colleague Louise Ridley explained: “There’s an incredibly liberating idea in the book that you don’t have to feel guilty about giving away, or throwing away, gifts people gave you that you don’t like, because once they’ve been given to you they have served their purpose as a kind gesture.”
Saying no to additional burden is important in all aspects of life.
Author Nora Rosendahl, says: “People, projects, and events can take a huge chunk of our time and energy, even when they do not fill the requirement of being really important. [Marie says] for these things we need to learn to say no, and do so with respect.
“When you’re asked to do something you feel obliged to do, think carefully about that task’s true purpose in your life. You’ll be surprised how many things you’re doing out of a sense of obligation, kindness or to avoid confrontation.”