If you haven't heard of Marie Kondo and her books The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Spark Joy, you've probably been living under a rock (or maybe a mountain of your own clothes) for the past few years. Kondo is a Japanese organising expert and her unique methods for decluttering have made her well-known worldwide. She even has her own show, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, on Netflix right now and is inspiring more people than ever to part with their possessions.
When I first started my decluttering journey (before I found minimalism), a lot of YouTubers I watched all recommended and raved about Kondo's book and how it had changed their lives. I wanted to find out for myself what was so great about it, so instead of buying the book, I listened to the audio version - the last thing I wanted when I was letting stuff go was to buy more stuff.
Kondo certainly knows what she's talking about and her methods have been effective for so many people. There were many things I did like about The Life Changing Magic, such as the idea of decluttering by category (eg. all your clothes or all your books) rather than room by room, and doing it all in one fell swoop instead of little by little. I've even adopted her method of folding clothes and socks.
The main issue I have with the KonMari Method, though, is the premise that possessions bring us joy. The principal theme running through the entire book is that everything you own should make you happy. This is not a bad idea, per se, because obviously you don't want to keep items which make you sad. But for me, inanimate objects don't bring me joy. I couldn't pick up a t-shirt, however pretty it was, and honestly say it 'sparked joy' in me. Things that bring me joy include spending quality time with my husband, visiting my mum, having coffee with a friend and cooking a good meal to share with someone. All of these things are experiences and involve spending time with people, not things.
When decluttering, instead of wondering whether something sparks joy, I ask myself:
Do I really need this?
When was the last time I used it?
Am I going to use it in the near future?
It might look nice, but is it practical?
Does it have a bad memory attached to it?
Does it still work/fit?
Could someone else get better use out of it than me?
WHY am I holding onto this?
Answering these questions often makes it easier to let go.
The other thing I find a little disconcerting is that Marie Kondo wants us to treat our possessions as if they're alive. Emptying out your handbag every night to give it a rest after it's worked so hard carrying your stuff around all day, saying "Thank you" to items you're letting go. Yes, treating your things with respect is important and you should feel grateful that you had the opportunity to own a certain item you've now decided to donate - however, in my opinion, acting as if it were a person is going a bit too far.
Like I said, there are many things I love about this book and have embraced into my life (the sock folding thing is revolutionary) and would still recommend it to someone starting out on their decluttering journey. It's helped thousands of people clear out their crap and that can only be a good thing. All I can say is that not all of Kondo's ideas work for me personally, which is why I decided not to follow the KonMari method.
Have you seen Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix or read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up? Do you follow the KonMari Method and what's your favourite/least favourite thing about it?
Related: Six Ways to Have an Eternally Clean House (Without Paying a Professional)
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