April 30, 2019
While the frenzy has died down considerably, it felt like the whole world was talking about Netflix’s Tidying Up with Marie Kondo series when it debuted in January 2019. The show follows Kondo as she attempts to teach families about her take on minimalism. If you haven’t seen it, consider checking it out. It’s probably a lot more fascinating, emotional, and inspiring than you might think!
Right now, as we’re deep into spring, many of us are opening windows and clearing out the dust and cobwebs that have accumulated over the long winter months. Tempted to try the “KonMari” method shown on Tidying Up? Here’s some advice—don’t do it unless you’re serious about decluttering and genuinely ready to let go of some of your belongings.
We Like Stuff
Not everyone is ready to shed unnecessary possessions, so when the series first premiered, there was some pushback. Bibliophiles, for example, took particular offense to what they felt was a cutthroat approach to ridding our homes of books. People wrote articles in protest, while other sites tried to calm the masses.
Why do we react so dramatically when someone suggests we clear our homes of possessions we no longer need? After all, the hoodies that stopped fitting in high school and the ice skates you’ve been lugging around since college are just collecting dust in the garage (or worse—a paid storage space!).
There’s a certain security that comes from surrounding ourselves with things. We collect these artifacts from our journey through life, and it’s hard to let them go—which is why you really need to be committed if you’re going to try the KonMari method.
Gratitude and Joy
On the Tidying Up series, before any work begins, Kondo leads the homeowners in showing gratitude for their home and the protection it provides. It’s such a beautiful practice to take a moment of silence and reflect on all of the ways our homes have been good to us, right? How often do we really appreciate all that we have and the safety, security, and shelter our home provides?
Next, as they work through possessions, Kondo encourages clients to keep only those things that spark joy. That shirt you only wear when nothing else is available? Gone. The souvenirs you picked up on your last vacation but don’t particularly love? Gone. Keep only the things that make you feel warm, happy or joyful. It’s pretty simple and, if you’ve done it, you will know that it’s also incredibly effective.
Of course, before gently disposing of each item, Kondo asks clients to thank it for the time they’ve spent together. It’s an interesting and lovely way of honoring memories while simultaneously releasing your bond with the item and allowing yourself to move on.
Should You KonMari Your Home?
At the end of the day, only you will know whether you are ready to take on the minimalist life, so it’s probably best to wait until you’re sure. It’s also important to note that, while you might be tempted to use this method to address your older kids or spouse’s closet, Kondo emphasizes the importance of focusing on your own possessions. You can’t decide what “sparks joy” for someone else, therefore, you should only dictate your own process, not anyone else’s.
If you do choose to use the KonMari method, include the whole family and make it a good experience. After all, the whole purpose of KonMari is to leave you and the environment around you in a most positive space. Chances are, you won’t get through your whole house in a day or even a weekend, but as you work through the articles of your life, be honest, loving and kind. Be patient with yourself and others, let go and enjoy your new surroundings.