Thursday, August 6, 2015

The KonMari Method

Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest. By doing this, you can reset your life and embark on a new lifestyle.
~Marie Kondo

There's a little book making the rounds (currently 173 holds on the print book!) and getting lots of buzz.  Have you heard about Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo and the KonMari method yet, as explained in her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up?

The KonMari method begins with one central tenet: "...the best way to choose what to keep and what to throw away is to take each item in one's hand and ask: "Does this spark joy?" If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it."

There's more to it, a lot more. Marie Kondo does not recommending tidying a little at a time - it should all happen in one go. But don't let your family get involved - don't re-gift that T-shirt that doesn't quite work on you to your sister, for instance. You should tidy in order, by category. Clothes are first on the list, and she recommends placing every item of clothing on the floor to sort it out (and if you thought she sounded strict already, when she does this exercise with her customers, if they try to hide any pieces of clothing, she tells them that if they find any clothes after the big sort is over that they go automatically into the discard pile). How you fold your clothes, even your socks, is of the utmost importance, shows respect, and "we should put our heart into it, thanking our clothes for protecting our bodies". She does not approve of downgrading clothing that you'll never wear outside again to "loungewear", either.

Other categories get a similar treatment. Do your books give you "a thrill of pleasure" when you touch them? (Not when you open a book and read it - when you touch it.) Do you have a giant TBR pile?  Discard, discard, discard.  Her rule of thumb for sorting papers is "discard everything", because they will never inspire joy - this includes credit card statements, warranties for electrical appliances, and greeting cards that are more than two years old. And don't even get her started on "komono" (miscellaneous items) - those cosmetic samples you've hoarded, spare buttons, products from the latest health craze, and bedding for the guests you never have should be out the door already.

You might think that some of this seems odd or sounds exhausting (emptying your bag every day was an idea that we had difficulty imagining), and Marie Kondo is quite a character - she became interested in organizing in childhood (she started reading home and lifestyle magazines at age 5 and began surreptitiously discarding her family's "unused and unnecessary junk", until she got caught); she believes storage experts are hoarders, and indeed, has definite opinions about other tidying strategies, such as "clearly defined numerical goals...[are] one reason these methods result in rebound". But there is something about her quest for "ultimate simplicity in storage so that you can tell at a glance how much you have" that sounds so inspiring, and so...clean. Kondo promises that "[t]he lives of those who tidy throroughly and completely, in a single shot, are without exception dramatically altered". And her method does allow for a personal shrine in the top shelf of your bookcase and your closet to be decorated with "secret delights"!

What do you think?  Have you read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up?  Would you, or did you, try the KonMari Method, and how did it work for you?


The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

I Decluttered My Closet With The KonMari Method and Here's What Happened [HuffPost]

KonMari: How to Clean Up Your Home Once and Never Need to Do It Again [Martha Stewart]

Kissing Your Socks Goodbye: Home Organization Advice from Marie Kondo [New York Times]

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