The time has come to swap out chunky coats for breathable cardigans and thick blankets with plush throws – the winter chill has begun to thaw! But as we do that, we should all consider getting rid of a few things as opposed to just storing them away until next winter. Japanese organizational guru, Marie Kondo, has completely reimagined the way many look at space and possessions.
I’ve shared my personal tips and tricks to achieving a Zen life through minimalist living and feng shui, and this professional offers actionable advice that you can start on today.
If you haven’t the time or resources to read her books, I’ve offered a brief summary of her teachings. Go through the six rules of KonMari and challenge yourself to take your spring cleaning a step further this season:
6 KEY RULES:
COMMIT TO TIDYING UP
This seems obvious enough right? Well, in my experience, I’ve found common sense to not be so common.
If you’re going to – in essence – spring clean your life, it might confuse your psyche to then go back to mess and disorganisation in a couple of weeks. Once you make the decision to get rid of things you no longer need, thus freeing up physical, emotional and mental space for productivity, you MUST stick to it.
Motivate yourself with mantras like, “just for today, I commit to a clutter-free life,” or, “let’s make it to the end of the month and then reassess,” do that. The KonMari method is going to look different for everyone (heck, no single room in your home might look the same), but the principles are universal. It’s important to ensure you make it work for you.
CONSIDER HOW IT WILL AFFECT YOUR LIFE
Begin with the end in mind – it’s a great motivator.
When you begin to see what your life will look like when it’s not a mess and stress-free, getting rid of things and reorganising might be much easier to do.
DISCARD UNWANTED ITEMS BEFORE TIDYING UP
This is incredibly important.
We all know that there are a few things in our wardrobe, bathroom cabinet, TV unit (the list goes on) that can be thrown away. We all tend to amass a great deal of junk; either that or a few things have since become useless. What might help you is not thinking of ‘throwing’ things away but giving them to a person or organisation that will have better use for it.
Monthly, I go through my home and put a bunch of things in a box with a few loaves of homemade bread, a carton of long-life milk and drop it off at corners I know homeless people frequent. You might feel better donating things to your local hospice or orphanage.
Once you’ve scaled down a little, organising won’t take so much time.
GO BY CATEGORY NOT BY LOCATION
If, like me, you have an inclination to hording, the entire undertaking might be overwhelming. While I am two years in recovery, I still notice myself holding onto trinkets and souvenirs from travels out of sentimentality. If you start there you will only depress yourself. Marie Kondo suggests you start with clothes as they rarely have any significance unless it is an item like a wedding dress or a treasured hand-me-down. Then move onto books and papers, letting go of books that no longer inspire you and papers that can easily be digitised can be thrown into the recycle bins.
Once you’re comfortably getting rid of things, you can move onto your sentimental items.
SORT IN ORDER
If you go by location instead of order, you’ll very quickly become fatigued mainly because you’re repeating the same process from one room to the next. The KonMari method suggests you go step by step throughout the house so once you’ve done a comprehensive job; you don’t have to do it again.
ONLY KEEP ONLY THAT WHAT SPARKS JOY
Keep only what sparks joy! Again, what this philosophy is doing is challenging you to rethink what you fill your space with. Don’t focus on what you are losing but rather the clarity of thought, sense of ease and pure joy that you will gain from the entire process.
If, at the end of your spring cleaning, you feel dejected or even tired, you might not have done it right. KonMari-ing your life is supposed to energise and excite you (or just simply relax you). Remember, be patient and tender with yourself.
SOME ADDITIONAL INTERESTING READS:
The minimalist life:
Spring Cleaning with KonMari: