In a nutshell:
Marie Kondo wrote a book called The Lifechanging Magic of Tidying Up. The basic idea is that if it doesn’t ‘spark joy’ you don’t need it in your life. Kon Mari decluttering is done by getting everything from one category in one place and going through it. Clothes, Books….. down to Komono which is general clutter. If an item doesn’t spark joy Marie suggests that you thank it and get rid of it. Marie Kondo has a special folding method for most things and says that you don’t need storage solutions if you declutter.
This is a personal response to the Lifechanging Magic of Tidying, everyone is different, you may love it or hate it more than I do.
The good things:
‘Sparking Joy’ is a really neat way of encompassing everything on this decluttering checklist.
Since trying out the Kon Mari method I’ve been even more discriminating in my purchasing choices. I’m buying less crap and recluttering at a slower rate.
Collecting everything from one category in the same place gives you a real sense of how much stuff you have and probably don’t need.
Folding clothes carefully gives you time to appreciate them, I find smoothing them down so they are neat very calming.
The bad things:
It’s really easy to get carried away – I am fickle and what sparks joy one day may not the next.
It’s overwhelming seeing everything of one category in one place at one time and having to go through it all.
I can’t predict the future – I don’t know what is going to spark joy in the summer so I have left all my summer clothes to sort out when it’s warmer. I rotate my wardrobe anyway so when the winter stuff goes into the cupboard I’ll be able to rethink the summer stuff.
Buying in bulk saves money, so sometimes it is better to have 4 bottles of washing up liquid.
When you read the book it seems very against keeping sentimental items. Personally, if I open one of my old Enid Blytons I’m instantly shot back to the 1970’s, to long hot dull summers with nothing to do but read. My past is part of who I am now and although I do not keep anything with bad associations I want to keep things as reminders of what made me. There is nothing wrong with sentimentality.
These are shelves in my hallway. Each item (although clearly clutter) reminds me of a really lovely time, is a beautiful object or has historical significance for my family. From the late 60’s Lego trees to the cutlass my son carved, from the broken yet still beautiful silver cup my great great grandfather won for racing greyhounds to bottles I collected from junk shops when I was 12 or 13. I think I’d be less myself without reminders of all this. It makes me very happy to keep it all.
Folding your clothes so they stand up on their own is just crazy, life is too short. Folding is great but lets not get obsessive about it.
Sometimes it’s easier to find clothes if they are on hangers.
Some things in my house spark a feeling of dread rather than joy (I’m currently looking at a coding manual on my desk). These things are needed for my work (which generally sparks joy) and I cannot get rid of them.
As with most things, moderation is good. I think it’s really easy to misread Marie Kondo’s books as meaning you should get rid of everything. And if you are like me, it is easy to get carried away and regret it later. The good bits of the Kon Mari method are very good indeed but take them with a pinch of salt (if you haven’t decluttered it).
The alternative to Marie Kondo
Do you feel like you need to declutter but don’t know where to start?
I believe that it is better to declutter gently so you don’t risk getting carried away or overwhelmed. Decluttering purges do not work for me. If you get rid of just one thing a day you can easily declutter over 300 things a year! It really works.
I have lots of ways to help you get over a decluttering block and a great way to start is to join the less-stuff mailing list. All you have to do to get a great bunch of freebies to start you off is add your email address and click submit.
“I’m delighted with your method
As a life long hoarder and gatherer of junk I am absolutely thrilled with the less-stuff method. Since my daughter shared the link I have been applying the 5 a day method with great success. 5 minutes and 5 items is so simple that it invariably leads to doing a bit more but if I stop at 5 I’m happy with that. The difference in my kitchen is amazing. I should have taken before and after pics. I’ll do that with the next room.