Reading Time: 5 minutes
Are you interested in minimalism? Or do you just want to declutter and make more space in your home? Here is a one-way ticket to a tidy home. I will introduce you to a popular method for decluttering and tidying up: the KonMari Method.
Disclaimer: the KonMari Method is not equal to minimalism. Where minimalists try to live with less, Marie Kondo advocates to “live amongst the things you truly cherish”. This can be as minimal or as abundant as you want. However, if you want to apply a more minimalistic lifestyle, you should make sure that each and every object in your home adds value to your life. In other words, it should serve a certain purpose.
I used to be messy. Our house regularly looked like a giant bomb explosion. Don’t judge me, I am positive that you also own an overflowing junk drawer. Or a chair that has been rebranded from seat to clothes hanger. Add to that a closet with the 4 outfits I tried on this morning, a table full of craft ware from this afternoon before I headed out to work and the cat who spilled litter all over the floor. Again. What a mess!
I tried to deal with stuff on a regular basis. Friday was laundry day and Saturday was ‘clean the whole house up’ day, to no prevail. Explosions just kept happening within mere days after having tidied up. I know it was my own doing but sometimes it seemed like the mess was creating itself! Sounds recognizable?
Surely, there must be a better way to tidy up… As I wondered, the universe provided: around that same time someone told me about Kon Marie, a Japanese expert on tidying up and her KonMari Method. The world fell in love with her strategy: keep only the things that spark joy, that make you happy.
In other words: do not choose what to put away. Instead, choose what to keep, then let go of the rest. Apparently, if you do it right, it really is life-changing. You have my attention, Marie Kondo, please elaborate…
Stuff should serve you
Minimalism is not just about paring down your belongings, but it is an important part. Those new to minimalism usually start going through their belongings dealing with more difficult or abstract decisions. It’s like easing into dealing with your work, your relationships and all the other projects you have in your life.
When you look for what to keep instead of what to throw, it changes your priorities. What do you actually need? It helps you strip down your belongings and think about the reason you own each object. Does it really serve you, your life, your values? It may sound abstract, and difficult. But no meltdown or (weeks of) procrastination needed.
Getting started with the KonMari Method
Marie Kondo has got you covered! She works with just six main rules and suggests starting with an exercise. Before you think “Ugh, boring!” and scroll away, hear me (or her) out, because it’s a game-changer. Her first two rules set you up for success. Firstly, commit yourself to tidy up. We wanna get this house neat and organized. Cool? Cool. As with every activity, if you give your brain a heads up about what’s to come, or at least make the deal to commit, you will see that starting will be easier.
Once you are ready, here is rule number two: imagine your ideal lifestyle, as vividly and in as much detail as you can. This is vital both in minimalism and with the KonMari Method. Your house and all your belongings should serve you. See them as tools to live the life you have always wanted to live. As you tidy up, your home becomes a sacred space, tailored exactly to your needs. That gives you more calm, time and energy for everything else.
Throughout the whole adventure, you will ask yourself the same question for each object: “Does this spark joy?”. You probably can point out your favorite clothes/ books/ movies right away. But after that, it gets trickier. What about your socks? Or the tablespoons? In her book, Marie Kondo helps you through this with practical examples, such as: if you’re not sure whether it just makes you happy, you can rephrase the question. Does it enhance my life in an indispensable way? Tip: some objects that bring beauty, joy or sentimental value to you or your home also serve a purpose.
As you read her book(s), you’ll also feel the near-sacred sense of mindfulness and rituals that are key to Japanese culture, and then some funny anecdotes that Marie Kondo encountered as a tidying consultant.
The process of decluttering is a real eye-opener. And as much as you may hate tidying up, with a clear and simple program to follow it feels more like a game. Especially the part where she asks you to gather every piece of clothing -jackets, shoes, and bags too- and ruthlessly throw in on a big pile. To see it all piled up like this gave me a reality check.
Following the KonMari Method, I put my favorite clothes apart. As I went through the pile one by one, I realized how much of it I thought I loved or needed, but actually didn’t. I cut down my wardrobe drastically and the rest of the house followed suit.
Through Marie Kondo’s method I found my way into minimalism.
I appreciate the things that remained much more now. Moreover, with a place for everything, I said goodbye to the mess. As messy as I was, it now almost looks like you walked into a cover of Home Magazine. I’m joking. Well, it does sometimes. And when it does, it feels awesome.
Most people enjoy the process of decluttering so much that they keep coming back to it. When I will be home after my year of travels, I am sure the amount of unnecessary stuff I will find in my little storage will motivate me to ‘KonMari’ my house for the third time myself. So You are hereby warned.
If this method motivates, intrigues or excites you, go for it! Minimalist of not, I suggest that you use this article, the KonMari Method or any other decluttering or downsizing technique as a guideline. Rules, schedules, and boundaries are incredibly helpful, but life is not linear. Use all of it as a tool. Rule it, make it yours!
Enjoy the process, and may your house be truly tidy from now on!