Marie Kondo-ing My Life Away

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Spring cleaning is a ritual that I take part in religiously every year. The season comes towards the end of my educational year and therefore almost feels like a rite of passage. Out with the old, and in with the new! We shall just ignore that the “old” is just myself festering in my room amidst deadlines and the new is me, once again, rotting away in my room but without assignments. It counts. I promise.

This spring, I wanted to change things up slightly and deep cleanse my space in a much more organised manner than I usually would. I hold an amazing ability for hoarding things, even if it no longer holds no value in my life. So, I set out scouring through the internet for different methods in which I could tackle this process. Enter the KonMari method.

What is the KonMari method?

Well, for starters, one of the most satisfying trends to take over the internet by storm. Created by Marie Kondo, a Japanese organising consultant, the cleaning method suggests organisation through category as opposed to the usual location. Rather than cleaning one part of your room and moving onto the next, the individual is to tidy their clothes, then books, papers, komono and then sentimental items.

It brings the idea of mindfulness to cleaning. Instead of viewing tidying as a chore, it highlights the importance and value of items. Items should supposedly “spark joy” for oneself – if they no longer do, it is time to throw it out.

There are six basic rules to the KonMari method:

  1. Commit yourself to tidying up – this process should not be considered as a quick fix. For it to be truly effective, you must commit to the tidying.
  2. Imagine your ideal lifestyle – by imagining your new (tidier!) lifestyle, you can create a new vision for your home and how you wish to live within it.
  3. Finish discarding first – a more philosophical rule, Marie teaches that by gaining the ability to let go of a belonging you no longer use, you can learn from past experiences and move forward in life.
  4. Tidy by category, not by location – using the logic that people store the same items in more than one place, this rule helps you grasp the volume of everything you own.
  5. Follow the right order – this order has been strategically created in order to improve your decision-making skills. By starting with an easy category like clothes, you can let go of sentimental items a lot easier.
  6. Ask yourself if it sparks joy – this rule is what sets the method apart from the rest. Feelings are what makes your decisions regarding your items. It makes the whole process more personal!

After familiarising myself with the rules, I watched a few videos that I had found on Marie’s YouTube channel in order to further immerse myself into this cleaning mindset. From there, I began my deep cleanse.

Clothes

In order to begin the rabbit hole that is my wardrobes, Marie advises to check what articles of clothing spark joy. I gathered my clothes into a pile as instructed and realised the amount I owned. One small pep talk on cutting out online shopping and I was on my way to a new lifestyle. Hopefully. After separating each item into their own groups (tops, dresses, trousers, etc), I started sifting through each article of clothing individually to see which ones would spark joy. In all honesty, the whole idea of “sparking joy” was a bit tricky at first since they were just clothes in my eyes but after a while, I did seem to get the hang of it.

Marie describes it as a thrill you feel in your body. While she may sound slightly extreme, you do feel a sense of happiness once coming across certain pieces. For me, it was anything beige or with funky sleeves. Once I compared them to clothes that I had kept for years on end, I realised that even if my style has changed dramatically over the years, I was yet to let go of those clothes. So, with glee, I discarded those items into my charity bags and internally waved the old me goodbye.

From there, I began tidying what was left of my wardrobe. Marie has a specific style of tidying clothes that is quite satisfying to do. I would probably consider it my favourite part of the process. Each type of clothing has a different way to fold but ends up in the same, folded rectangular shape that stands on its own – how cool! I would definitely recommend as it saves on so much space and allows you to see everything in your wardrobes at once.

Books

I am a massive book hoarder. Dangerously so. If there is a habit I have developed aside from online shopping, it is becoming unable to run errands without buying a book. I knew the KonMari method would prove to be most useful during this part of the session as I have been unable to part with my small library for a long time.

With a slightly heavy heart, I went through each book and picked those that sparked joy in me (cheesy romances for the win!). I was quite embarrassed to realise I had bought some books with full knowledge that they were not my usual style and therefore, did not touch once. Marie Kondo claims that you should even through away books that you are unsure about parting with – sometimes often ends up translating into never. They ended up in my charity pile with ease; there is someone out there who enjoys sci-fi much more than me.

The remaining books were then neatly organised by category, stood in my shelves.

Interestingly, it is advised that we should look at the titles of the books and whether they match the goals and plans for the future you have made. There should be a connection between what you want in life and what you are reading!

Paper

This stage was what I was most excited for. It fell in line with my farewell to all my university junk – I could not wait to get rid of it. The rule towards paper?

Discard it all!

With pleasure, Marie.

Paper rarely sparks joy and those that do are usually under the sentimental items stage anyway. Most important documents that Marie does sort, however, like bills and passports. So, this session just consisted of me recycling a bunch of module handbooks and revision notes with a very satisfied smile on my face.

Komono

Komono is a word that stretches over many miscellaneous items. Since this category was so vast, I decided to create a list of things that I did own that could fall under it. As expected, Marie Kondo dictates a specific order of what to tidy first. For me, it went like so:

  1. Skincare
  2. Makeup
  3. Accessories
  4. Electrical equipment

I continued with the usual process of creating piles and searching through until I found what sparked joy and what didn’t. Makeup was my main cause for concern as (surprise surprise) I did tend to hoard a lot of products that I did not use. Then, I tucked them away into their drawers after neatly packing them into little boxes.

Sentimental Items

This last stage was definitely what I would describe as a trip down memory lane. Decluttering memories could be tough at times, but after managing to understand what actually sparked joy and what I was just meaninglessly holding onto.

Photos were sorted according to dates and placed in a box while letters I have received from my loved ones have been placed in a small trinket box.

My Thoughts

This method definitely requires some determination, but the end result is so very worth it. I feel at ease knowing that everything in my room has its own designated place and I can account for it all. The whole theory of sparking joy seems a bit tedious at times, but it really makes you understand the level of hoarding an individual develops over time.

If you would like to take part in this, there are many videos you can find on Youtube! Marie Kondo also has a series of episodes that you can watch on Netflix too.

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