Marie Kondo

Five Benefits Gleaned from Marie Kondo’s Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

I bought the book in December and I've read it twice since. I'm officially on the bandwagon.

For those who haven't heard of Marie Kondo's Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, it describes Ms Kondo's KonMari Method of simplifying and organizing belongings. In a nutshell, instead of decluttering room by room Ms Kondo advocates approaching it category by category in sequence, building up decision-making muscles by starting with easier items like clothing and books, leading up to the ever so challenging category of mementos. At the crux of the method lies one key question: "Does this item spark joy?"

I've applied some of Ms Kondo's techniques in a pure fashion, others I've taken with a grain of salt. My goal is progress, not perfection. Always, I asked myself the key question: "Does it spark joy?"

I'm nowhere close to going through all of my belongings, but I feel like I've gained so much already that even if I paused now it would have been worth it.

Here are five benefits gleaned from (imperfectly) applying techniques from Marie Kondo's Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up, so far:

1. A clean purse <gasp!>

I’ve not gone as far as thanking my purse for its services at the end of each day, as Ms Kondo does, but I HAVE started emptying it of excess papers and processing what needs to be processed on a daily basis. I now boast (yes, boast) a clean purse and my financial records are up to date. Plus I curse a lot less since things are easier to find in there. Bonus!

2. A renewed appreciation for some of my possessions

When decluttering my bookshelves I followed Ms Kondo’s instructions to the letter: I put all of my books in a pile on the floor and handled each and every one of them, asking myself if it sparked joy. By handling each book I actually saw what was on my shelves. How did I miss my Mom's vinyl-covered school copy of Hamlet? Or my cherished copy of Longfellow's Evangéline - the one with the colour illustrations and the inscription to one J. E. R. Emerton that reads "Prize for highest marks, winter term, 1917 Xmas?" Thanks to Ms Kondo these favourites no longer blend into the living room landscape.

3. A smoother start to my day

Ridding my closet of clothes that no longer bring me joy left me with a wardrobe that makes me happy; a wardrobe that makes me happy makes choosing something to wear a much more pleasant experience. Rather than sifting through misfits and maybes, each piece is a winner. This makes for a smoother start to my day, which means less morning crankies and a smoother day overall. Everybody wins.

4. A new perspective on setting time frames for life goals

Often when I thought of decluttering I thought of it in terms of a weekend or maybe a 15-minute sprint, and though focusing on smaller time frames may be a good way to move forward, Ms Kondo speaks of taking a good six months to go through the entire exercise. In her words: “That may seem like a long time, but it is only six months out of your entire life.” This stuck with me. I’d like to carry this perspective into my other life goals.

5. White space

I've purged 120 books from my bookshelves, leaving space for the eye to rest and space to receive new books that bring me joy. There’s space in my bedroom closet to maneuver. My morning routine has been simplified and my purse no longer swallows things whole never to be seen again. As I focus on keeping only belongings that bring me joy I create spaciousness and breathing room on many fronts. Breathing room is good.

The combination of structured and what some might consider "woo-woo" concepts offered in this book obviously clicked with me, I realize that it may not be for everyone.

If you're thinking of paring down your belongings, I DO recommend you check it out. Simply take what you like and leave the rest, you never know what might come out of it.