In January 2019 the Netflix show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo aired. I had been contemplating buying her books (The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Spark Joy) as I have heard great things about them, but hadn’t purchased them yet. Once I watched the first episode I promptly bought the books and completed the season in 1 week.
If you haven’t watched it yet, I highly suggest you do. It is fascinating and can really inspire you to live a more intentional life with your belongings.
While watching her show I noticed how she has a reverence for each home she visits and for every item owned. It is amazing to watch someone care so much for each item. She explains in more detail in her books that each item has an energy and you can tell which items are cherished most because it radiates being cared for. This is something I think we can all learn from; Each item we own we should be respectful enough to take care of or respectful enough to let it go. Her method is very though and she states it can take up to 6-8 months to complete it.
There are 5 categories. Each section must be completed in order and by objection not by room or location in the house. You must along only do this for your own items and help others, such as small children if needed.
- Komono (Miscellaneous)
- Sentimental Items
For each category you will gather every item that fits into the category in one pile. You will them pick up every item from the pile and ask yourself if it “Sparks Joy”. If the answer is no you will thank the item for it’s service and either donate it or throw it away. And if the answer is yes you will place it in the keep pile. If the answer is I don’t know Marie will state either keep it with confidence or don’t keep it at all. The key here is you are not allowed to organize anything until you have completed this process. She states this process only needs to be completed once in your life.
This method of “Sparking Joy” ties into minimalism because it is about being intentional with the items that you own. Personally I’m not certain it is a once in a lifetime project because we are constantly buying and being gifted items. Going through all your possessions so thoroughly may only need to be done once, but I believe it is a good habit to review your items often.
The one thing in her books that really resonated with me was the statement that we keep many items for one of two reasons.
- You have an attachment to the past
- This will effect your whole life meaning you might have troubles getting over ex’s or past the first feelings in a relationship
- You might also keep items from your childhood or from particular events
- You have a fear of the future
- This will effect your whole life meaning you might be more inclined to chose a partner for the future or even a career that is more stable and sure of the future.
- You might have old medicine bottles or samples just in case you need them someday.
I realized I have a fear of the future and that mindset really helped me reevaluate the items I kept after my initial Minimalism purge. I went through each category that Marie Kondo suggested with this mindset and got rid of several more bags of “just in case” items from every category.
Another concept she discusses in her books that I loved is to create a space in your closet for some of your favorite items that you don’t want to display around the house. This was a great concept for me because I have several pieces of art I have created that I love, but I didn’t want to hang them around the house. I also have stuffed animals that I spark joy for me that I can’t keep out with the pups. With this concept I was able to create a space in my closet for some of my favorite things. I now enjoy my closet even more.
If you have read her books or watched the show you are aware that she has a special folding method, but it is a life changer when you implement it. Initially I didn’t really love the dresser I owned, and the new folding method meant I had more than 80% of the drawer was empty. It was also not something that sparked joy for me. We bought a new dresser that truly “sparks joy” for us and we promptly organized our cloths in categories. I found great organizers on Amazon and was able to create specific spaces for each clothing category.
I have also been removing items I purchase from the box or bag immediately. This helps me see exactly how much I have of the item and makes it easier on the eye. Marie Kondo suggests that this is an important piece to welcoming new items into your home.
She also suggests removing all items from the shower or bath floor and removing them after each shower. I felt that it was a bit more than I was willing to do so I do not remove the shower bottles after each use. Instead I did clear the floor and consolidated the items I use so they would all fit on my shelves. This has made a world of difference in the visual clutter of my bathroom.
My final take away from the Marie Kondo method was having completely clear counters. This includes removing all appliances and cleaning supplies from the surface. I tried it out for 6 days and realized I loved how I felt when I go into the kitchen. I do still have items on my counter that “spark joy” which includes my candle that I light often and 2 plants. If you are skeptical take a look at the before and after. And maybe give it a try for a week.
It has been so amazing to watch the transformation of my home that only has items I need and that “spark joy”. I have also witnessed that the show has had an impact on my family and by me being the example they have started to evaluate their own items and get rid of things. I’m so grateful that this show has aired and helped everyone spark some joy in their life.
Let me know if you had any “ah ha” moments while reading her books or watching the show. As always living intentionally is a process and does not happen all at once, so be sure to be patient with yourself.