Marie Kondo: Can Decluttering Really Change Your Life

The world has gone crazy for her unique tidying method - the KonMari method.

Can decluttering your home really change your life? That's the promise behind the international best-seller The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Japanese "organisational consultant" Marie Kondo.  Many people will have undoubtedly begun thinking about decluttering their homes in an effort to feel rejuvenated.

As anyone who’s ever hoarded possessions or has children will know, choosing what to throw away can be a difficult task. Lucky for us, Marie Kondo has teamed up with Netflix and released a series of episodes we can all take inspiration from, Tidying up with Marie Kondo. The world has gone crazy for her unique tidying method - the KonMari method.

What is the KonMari Method?  

The KonMari Method is a tidying technique coined by Kondo.   The details of the method are outlined in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which has been translated into multiple languages including Spanish, Korean and German.   The key to the KonMari Method when organising your things is to place your possessions in certain categories.   Once you’ve done this, the next step is to figure out which of your possessions ”spark joy” in your home, a phrase that Kondo famously uses.  

The world has gone crazy for her unique tidying method - the KonMari method

Determining which of your possessions don’t “spark joy” is a seemingly efficient way to declutter your home with ease. But does a tidier home really bring more happiness, more joy? Kondo promises that radically purging your stuff will not only make it easier to pull together a decent outfit while rushing on a busy morning, it will actually transform your life.

By clearing out objects that weigh you down mentally and emotionally, you'll make space for new people, things, and experiences.   Kondo says that some of her clients have even lost weight or had their skin clear up, possibly due to the "detoxifying" effects of purging your home.

Do your decluttering all at once

 If you’re anything like me I feel like I am never on top of the housework. The tidying, the putting away. I feel like every day I am decluttering but never really getting to the bottom of it. Kondo says to do all of the decluttering at once. Most of us clean up in dribs and drabs, tossing a few items of clothing when we switch over our winter to summer wardrobes, say, or suddenly getting the urge to reorganize the hot press once or twice a year. The problem with this, Kondo says, is that it's too easy to backslide.   "Tidying is a special event," Kondo writes. "Don't do it every day."

Instead, she says, do all your throwing out at once, by category of stuff: Start with your clothes, piling every item of clothing you own on the floor and going through them one by one. Then move on to books, then papers, then miscellaneous (DVDs, makeup, stationery, electronics, etc.), then finally mementos (the hardest category).   Once you're done, Kondo says, maintaining this "state of perfect order" will be a snap and you'll never have to purge again. In fact, she says she has had zero repeat clients.   If this sounds daunting, know that you're not doing it all in one day! Kondo says that the whole process takes her clients around six months.

A sentimental hoarder  

I am a big sentimental hoarder. If I have a great memory, I will keep what I was wearing that day and find it too hard to let it go. If one of my children hit a milestone I will keep that item too. But all of these possessions are weighing me down. Both physically and emotionally. Keeping everything creates a clutter even in the largest of homes and a cluttered home definitely equals a cluttered mind.

Kondo’s advice is "When you come across something that you cannot part with, think carefully about its true purpose in your life. You'll be surprised at how many of the things you possess have already fulfilled their role."   That necklace you loved in the store but never wear, for example, served its purpose of giving you a thrill when you bought it. The hideous vase your aunt gave you as a wedding gift has done the job of conveying your aunt's love and good wishes for you. It's okay to let it go now.

When you realise you started and finished something, you will be encouraged by that accomplishment to move forward and avoid falling back into the routines which created the mess in your home and yourself. Don’t be hard on yourself, but start small and one step at a time. Let it all become a routine and a normal part of your life.   

What you will soon realise is that before you know it you will feel excited, empowered and energised by this new found love of getting rid of clutter. It will leave room for things you love and positive energy in the home means positive energy in your life.  

Laura Doyle

Mum of four, Gentle parent living on coffee and trying always to stay positive and motivate in the midst of the madness.

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