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Minimalist Monday: The Japanese Art of Decluttering

KonMar MethodThe Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up wants nothing more than for you to truly love everything you own. The KonMar Method, developed by Japanese organizer and declutterer Marie Kondo, begins and ends with this question:

“Does this item spark joy?”

Homes are sacred and life is short: quit cluttering both with junk!

Marie’s goal is for everyone to escape the vicious cycle of clutter, and she believes the only way to a tidy house is to discard. There’s no point in making everything look clean and neat, tucked away in a designated spot, if half the stuff shouldn’t be in your abode to being with. As The Minimalists put it, organization is well-planned hoarding.

“To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose,” says Marie. When I was doing my massive purge, I stumbled upon many things that I might need them someday. Sometimes this means hanging on to something for years, just in case. What are the odds you’ll remember you have it or be able to find it if that day comes? Sadly, we live in such a disposable society that we can easily and cheaply obtain the things we need when we need them. Don’t carry around loads of unused things just in case.

Purge with one goal in mind: only keep items that bring joy to your life. If you hate how you look in that shirt, get rid of it. If your hand-me-down sauce pans and skillets are an eye soar on your stove, cut your inventory down to just the essentials. If the art work you’ve had since college brings back bad memories, remove it from your home.

Only owning items that bring you joy will ensure 1) you actually use them, 2) they add value to your life, and 3) you have room in your space to breathe.

Take a quick look around you and find 5 things that don’t spark joy. Don’t overthink it. Finished? See how easy that was!

After you’re finished decluttering a room or the whole house, tackle your digital clutter as well. It recently came to my attention that I hoard pictures. I experience the joy of taking them, I transfer them to my computer when my phone is full, and I don’t do anything with them. Lather, rinse, and repeat.

Now, I’m in the process of greatly reducing the amount of photos on my laptop. It’s taking me hours, mainly because going through every single picture from the past 8 years brings up a lot of memories. It’s a lovely – yet tedious – trip down memory lane. But I’m learning that 35 great photos say more than the 200 I took on a trip.

When you parse things down to only the things you love and enjoy, those things become more meaningful. I’m seeing this with my photos, too.

Interestingly, Marie notes, “After tidying, many clients tell me that their worldly desires decrease.” I, too, experienced this when I set out to live more like a minimalist a few years ago. At the end of the day, the items are just things – and I don’t want them to hold higher value than relationships, experiences, and inner peace. I can live with little in my home and have an abundant life. Once you break the dependence on stuff, you realize how little you really need to thrive.

So back to the question at the top: Do the things you see in your life spark joy? When the answer is yes, keep it. When the answer is no, throw it out or give it away. It’s that easy!


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This entry was posted on March 7, 2016 by in Life Lessons, Minimalism, Simple Living and tagged , , , .

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