Sparking Joy: The Answer To Organizing and De-cluttering Your Life
While we make New Year’s resolutions around January 1st, it generally takes us a while before we actually execute them. If one of your resolutions is to organize your life, consider getting the book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of De-Cluttering and Organizing” by Japanese organizational consultant, Marie Kondo.
Kondo – a celebrity in her home country – has a three-month client waiting list and she has even been the subject of a TV movie. Her book was only recently published in the U.S, but it’s already achieved international bestseller status. Kondo says she’s been obsessed with organizing since she was a child.
After working at a Shinto Shrine, she realized her calling in life was to be a consultant evangelizing the joy of minimalism. She says, “The inside of a house or apartment after de-cluttering has much in common with a Shinto shrine… a place where there are no unnecessary things and our thoughts become clear.”
“Does this spark joy?”
Kondo refers to her approach as the “KonMarie method,” a transformative de-cluttering effort that should be completed methodically and quickly. It is not meant to be an ongoing battle with clutter. The “KonMarie method” is the opposite of most organizational approaches. Instead of asking the usual questions of, “Will I really use this? When was the last time I wore this?” Kondo says we should take each item in our closet and ask, “Does this spark joy?”
If it does, it’s a keeper but if not, throw it out. Kondo’s method focuses on what to keep instead of what to trash. And if you choose to throw out the item, you must first thank it for having served you. The theory behind this is that our belongings play various roles in our lives and if they’ve already served their purpose, we need to acknowledge their contribution and then let them go with gratitude.
Clothing and Cliques
Once you’ve thanked the clothes you’ll be donating or trashing, you then must face the ones you’re keeping. Kondo’s method is strictly Japanese: fold everything into a long rectangle, fold it into a smaller rectangle, roll the rectangle like a sushi roll and arrange it upright in your drawers. Kondo writes, “When we take our clothes in our hands and fold them neatly, we are transmitting energy which has a positive effect on our clothes.”
You should be able to see everything and nothing gets buried on the bottom. When it comes to hanging clothes, her philosophy is to hang up anything that looks happier when hung up. Kondo suggests arranging dark, heavy clothing on the left and lighter garments on the right. Her theory behind this is that clothes (like people) feel more comfortable and secure when in the company of those who are similar to themselves.
Practice What She Preaches
Instead of cleaning each room or each closet, Kondo suggests cleaning by subject. Start with what’s easiest to dispose of, which will generally be the things that have the least amount of emotional attachment. That will differ with each individual but most people leave photos and mementos last. When it comes to family members, she doesn’t recommend throwing out other people’s things without their permission, however, if you are cleaning communal space, then you have the right to make an executive decision if the objects don’t belong to a singular person.
While Kondo’s methods are unorthodox, she says that the results can be life changing. Unencumbered by belongings that were once excess baggage, her clients find themselves surrounded only by things that provide clarity to their lives. True to her teachings, Kondo even advises that once you finish using her book, you should discard that as well since you will then already be clutter-free and organized and the book will have already served its purpose.
But, don’t forget to thank it first.
Start writing your thank you cards to your old clothes and take a look at these custom closets to see how the wardrobe you keep can start enjoying a life of clarity in a beautifully designed space.