How can discarding and sorting stuff spark joy and purpose in one’s house and mind? Know more about The KonMari Method and what it teaches us about the importance of mindful and introspective tidying process. | Photo from Spacejoy via Unsplash
The Christmas season is approaching fast and the year is almost over. The past few years have been a ride. But the coming New Year carries a promise of new beginnings – mostly in the form of New Year’s resolutions with the common goal of transforming life for the better. Turns out, a good place to spark positive change on your overall life (if you need one) is right inside your home. The pandemic made many people realize that their houses are not simply a place to rest. For most, it is where work, play, family connections, and life happen. Marie Kondo, author of one of the best self-help books, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, andthe organizing consultant in the Netflix hit Tidying Up with Marie Kondo and Sparking Joy, believes that cleaning and tidying up your luxury house and your workplace extends a positive impact to many areas of your life.
In case you are not familiar with her hit book and series, Marie created “The KonMari Method,” a joy-focused approach to decluttering your luxury home, and eventually, organizing your life. The goal of the KonMari Method is simple: to help you live a joyful life by keeping only the things that “spark joy” to you and getting rid of those that don’t.
Here are some of the key takeaways from this popular approach to tidying up.
Decluttering Lessons from the KonMari Method
Clutter Can Ruin Your Well-Being
Cluttered workspaces overstimulate the mind with the distracting surrounding, which negatively affects your focus and memory. | Photo from Wonderlane via Unsplash
A cluttered house is a stressful house. Just like how mental clutter drains you emotionally, physical clutter at home can also stress you out. But first things first: what makes the items inside your luxury home categorized as clutter?
Physical clutters are various types of:
broken items that need to be discarded
stuff that has not been used for a long time
borrowed stuff that needs to be returned to their rightful owners
Many fail to notice that physical clutter creates debilitating emotional and mental stress. Think about it; how would you feel if you see piles of folders or a few used take-out coffee cups in your workplace almost every day? You will likely lose your focus or be unproductive unless you clear the area. A study by UCLA also shows that a cluttered house increases a person’s Cortisol (a stress hormone) level. So how do you deal with this serious problem?
According to The Konmari Method, the secret to a clutter-free luxury house is simple: give every item a home. Put them back in their proper places (and throw away those that no longer spark joy). Marie believes that clutter has less to do with how many or how much you own. The problem with clutter begins when people fail to put stuff back to its rightful places.
Always Ask Yourself: Does This Stuff Spark Joy to Me?
The underlying values of The Konmari Method focus on what sparks joy in one’s life. But what does sparking joy really means? How do you know if a certain item truly sparks joy? What makes you happy is personal to you. That being said, there is no specific answer to that question because your feelings are your measuring stick in making a choice on what to keep and what to let go of. You can test this out as you organize your stuff. Pick up certain items in your luxury house one at a time. Focus on the function they have on your life and they will have on the ideal life you have in mind. Then, observe how it makes you feel and ask yourself: “does this spark joy?” Pay attention to any sensations, warmth, or thrill in your body. By doing this process, you can easily identify the things that spark joy in your luxury home. Remember that the goal is not to discard or donate as much as you can. Although there is nothing wrong with those options, the purpose of decluttering using the KonMari Method is to ensure that the things you decide to keep truly make you happy.
Decluttering Connects You With the Past
Sentimental clutters are particularly challenging to discard because of the memories and emotions attached to them | Photo from Ainur Iman via Unsplash
There’s a lot to unpack when tidying up a home. Often they connect us to our past and call us to clear out sentimental clutters. Perhaps you come across some sentimental stuff, like worn-out leather shoes you bought with your first paycheck. Or maybe you saw a barely put-together photo of a deceased loved one. You felt sad about discarding them, but you know that you can’t keep them either, given their current state. What you feel is totally normal. Saying goodbye to very personal stuff is hard because it feels like we’re also discarding the memories attached to them. But here’s some precious advice from Marie: focus on what you are keeping instead of what you are discarding. The memories from these objects are already in your heart forever. You do not have to force yourself to discard sentimental items, but if they no longer spark joy in your life, it is okay to acknowledge that they have served their purpose and it is now time to part ways with them.
Tip: Other people take a photo of their memorable item instead to have some sort of copy that they can look back on from time to time.
Storing Things Vertically Does Magic in Maximizing Space
Clothes are perhaps the fastest and most unnoticeable items contributing to the physical clutter in one’s luxury home – not unless they are properly sorted. One of the takeaways on Episode 2 of Netflix’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up is the shocking amount of clothes some people own. With the steady rise of attractive sartorial options from top fashion brands, other people can’t help but fill their wardrobes with fresh fashion picks. Sadly, most of these clothes end up in landfills or eventually become clutter in one’s home. And even if you are not into fashion, you’d be surprised by the amount of clothing you actually have when you start organizing them.
The KonMari method’s solution: put all the clothes you own into a big pile and sort out what and what no longer sparks joy to you. Next, fold the remaining clothes using the popular “KonMari Fold” or simply the Vertical Fold, and stack them vertically or in an upright position. The purpose of vertical stacking is to maximize space and efficiency. Since you have a bird’s eye view of all your clothes, it would be easy to find what you want to wear, monitor how many clothes you have to prevent duplicate purchases, and prevent overstuffing your wardrobe later on.
Here’s a short and detailed video tutorial of the KonMari Fold.
Sort Things by Category, Not Location
Another unique tidying approach you can learn from the KonMari Method is sorting things by category and material, rather than by area. For instance, instead of cleaning your luxury home from one room to another, (i.e. starting in the kitchen and then moving to the bedroom and so on,) try picking a category like clothing, books, dry food, or bath essentials and take it from there. Doing this helps you monitor how many items you have on your inventory and easily find them when you need them later on.
You Can Also Use the KonMari Method in Organizing Your Day
Marie Kondo’s tidying up method begins in envisioning your ideal lifestyle and holding on to this mental picture while you discard or hold on to certain things in your home. In Sparking Joy, Marie shares that she uses the same principle in organizing or “tidying up” her daily schedule. To begin this technique, you should write all the activities set on your schedule. Next, think about the ideal day that allows you to be happy, productive, and comfortable. Adjust your schedule accordingly and discard other plans accordingly.
Beyond Tidying Up Your Luxury Home
Tidying up your home or your workspace is a powerful reset. Reevaluating your space gives you the power to spruce up not only your work life but also your physical and mental space. | Photo from Spacejoy via Unsplash
The KonMari Method truly goes beyond the practicalities of home cleaning, storage, and organization. It teaches homeowners that mindful and purposeful decluttering is not only for the sake of tidying up, but also for embracing life changes, letting go of emotional baggage, and creating their own version of a dream home and ideal lifestyle. It sends a message that true luxury living is living in a home surrounded by things that bring happiness, peace, and balance to its dwellers. For others, these could be a grandiose mansion or cozy chalet-inspired luxury condos nestled in nature. Regardless, joy is personal and each individual’s version of their ideal home is unique. In the end, it’s all about settling on and maintaining a home that sparks true joy to your life.
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