I admit it. I don’t own any Marie Kondo’s books, not even the original The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing that changed the world. But thanks to the internet, I have been reading the tidying journeys of others, drinking the KonMarie Method koolaid and it is indeed a life changer. It sparks joy. Indeed.
But even joy has it’s downfalls. Or, better put, it’s struggles.
The Marie Kondo method is to sort your stuff by category rather than by room, which is a game changer. Gathering everything together by category is an eye opener as to how much stuff one actually possesses.
4. Komono (a.k.a. Miscellaneous Items)
5. Sentimental Items
Now that you have the categories set, it’s time to enforce the KonMarie rules:
1. Commit yourself to tidying up.
2. Imagine your ideal lifestyle.
3. Finish discarding first. Before getting rid of items, sincerely thank each item for serving its purpose.
4. Tidy by category, not location.
5. Follow the right order.
6. Ask yourself it it sparks joy.
Simple enough, yes? Except everyone is different so clothes and books can hold memories and sentimental value for some. Or internal arguments as to why one should keep on keeping something which makes a mish-mosh of the whole KonMarie Method. And suddenly you feel frozen.
I am not a hoarder. You would never see my home on that TLC show Hoarders: Buried Alive. Nope. And yes, I watch that show as preemptive therapy because deep down, I might have hoarder tenancies. But I’m not a hoarder. I am a Squirrel. If it can be tucked into a drawer or a box in a nook, it’s cool. I keep things just because. As long as it’s not out in the open and classified as clutter, if it is stored away where no one can see it, there’s no issue. Right?
And therein lies the rub. It’s actually not okay. A wise person once told me we spend the first half of our lives accumulating Stuff and the second half of our lives getting rid of that Stuff. Who wants to do that? So let me go over a few of the Ah Ha Moments I had while going through my things using Marie Kondo’s minimalism-inspired approach and see if they can help you let go of things even when it seems totally awkward and unjoyful to do so. These are out of order of the categories to go through but they may awaken your own internal gauge as to why you have been keeping certain things so you can finally bid they farewell.
1. I spent a lot of money on this item…
2. It was a gift, I used it once and now I’ve spent all these years dusting it…
3. I wore it that one time when…
4. But it was free so…
1. Once upon a time I purchased a very expensive book. I spent a lot of money on this rare book. It was probably so rare simply because the price tag was insane so not many were in circulation. I enjoyed the fact that I could afford this book, finally, and I wanted it on my bookshelf. I was excited ordering it. And then the manuscript arrived. It. Was. Huge. Thick and heavy, super bulky, and it didn’t actually fit on my bookshelf. As soon as it arrived, it felt like a tremendous weight in the house. And it literally was. I flipped through it, caressed the beautiful deep brown faux leather binding and congratulated myself for finally being able to own a copy. Then I tucked it into a space near the bookshelf and the joy was over.
That damn book has done nothing but mock me for years. Years! I took care of the book, dusted it, shifted it’s home now and then, and took pride in the mere fact that I owned it. But it turns out I didn’t actually own the book: the book owned me. I was merely the caretaker. The UNPAID caretaker. And, shockingly, I never read it. It was a reference type book, very dry and factual. I like novels and stories. So yes, I admit it. I paid all this money for this rare book for my library and never read the dang thing.
So when it was time to KonMari the books, this big and bulky piece mocked me again. “I spark no joy for you, never have. The idea of owning me was better than actually possessing me. But you paid so much money to acquire me for your collection that you must continue to keep me. I am totally safe.” It almost worked. Because, really, that was a lot of money spent. Plus the prestige of owning it. This manuscript must be safe, right? Nope. I finally faced everything I had been feeling since day one. Wanting it was way better than actually getting it. Yes it was a lot of money spent, years ago, but it was nothing more than a burden so letting go of it was sort of a relief. I thanked the damn book for it’s service, thanked it for letting me care for it for all these years, and put it in the pile to get rid of. With mixed emotions still, I let it go. It no longer mocks me from it’s bookshelf-less home and I feel lighter already.
There is a part of me that wants to go caress it’s faux leather binding and sadness that I can no longer do that… but the joy of not having the heavy weight, literally, of that massive book oppressing this house makes up for it.
The KonMari Method is pro organizer Marie Kondo’s minimalism-inspired approach to tackling your stuff category-by-category rather than room-by-room. The goal of the KonMari Method is to have a house full of items that spark joy in your life instead of things that are actually weighing you down even though you are not aware of that until you face it head on.