A spring ritual I have every year is to dedicate a whole day to tidy and declutter my house. After a long winter I feel compelled to go through this process of shedding, so that I can wake up from winter and come out of hibernation. I think decluttering has never been easier. The internet has drastically reduced the need for paper as everything is written and stored on-line. The trash bags of belongings we want to donate, we no longer have to drive to unknown parts of town to drop off at charity depots. Practically every parking lot and strip mall has drop off bins for recycling.
However what has not changed is the mental challenge and the physical act of actually spending a couple of hours tidying up and organizing, this remains as tedious and boring as ever. It is not easy to get rid of possessions you have had for years. More often then not, we have to face uncomfortable facts that can be jarring. For example, those jeans that are two sizes smaller then what you wear now, stored away because you believe that one day they will fit again, are never going to fit again. That dress that was bought for a specific occasion has fulfilled it’s purpose and is of no use anymore. The clothes I keep handing down to my daughter to wear thinking I am doing her a favor are not really wanted – she would rather shop for herself.
I decided this year I would have a huge spring cleaning purge and to help me I decided to try the Marie Kondo method of decluttering also known as the KonMari method. Marie’s book “the life-changing magic of tidying up” is a world wide best seller – it promises phenomenal results such as “tidying up can transform your life” and “when you put your house in order you put your affairs and your past in order too, as a result you can see quite clearly what you need in life and what you don’t”. After reading the book I dedicated a recent Sunday and talked my husband into doing the same, to tidying up and decluttering our house using this KonMari method.
In brief the principles of the KonMari method are:-
-Pick up every item you want to get rid of and ask your self “does this spark joy?” if the answer is no then throw it out “keep only the things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard the rest”.
-Tidying up room by room does not work, spaces just get cluttered again – rather tidy up by category. In order clothes, books, papers, miscellany and sentimental items.
-A marathon tidying up session is required, all in one go – if a whole day is needed, so be it. The idea being that there will be such a huge change in your surroundings that there will be a change in your psyche, you will never tolerate clutter again.
I will admit I did not hold every piece of clothing and ask if it sparked joy, rather I worked in batches, for example I held a batch of jeans, an armful of tops, a stack of books. I found this to be quicker and just as effective. The KonMari method really worked for my husband who got rid of half his closet. More then one day for decluttering was necessary for me, but this may have more to do with me being a hoarder and having so much stuff then a judgement of the KonMari method.
The process did not transform my life. I woke up Monday morning with the same life as the previous Sunday, but my space is much cleaner and emptier what is left are valuables that I want and need. I think the biggest effect is that I feel a sense of pride that I was able to make final decisions that I had been procrastinating on for years. There was a sense of achievement that I let certain things go and kept only what is relevant and will push me forward.
To buy the book and an interview with Marie Kondo go to www.tidyingup.com