Have you ever walked around your NYC apartment, picked up your things, one at a time, and asked yourself, “Does this spark joy?”
If not, you’re doing it all wrong, according to Marie Kondo, author of the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. And you know what? I totally agree with her. Reading her book put a lot into perspective in terms of the cleaning/organizing/decluttering we all are constantly doing in our small apartments to keep them manageable. It sometimes seems like a never ending cycle, doesn’t it? According to Kondo though, it surely doesn’t have to.
Her method for tidying, which she dubs the KonMari Method, is not a mere set of rules on how to sort, organize, and put things away. It is a guide to acquiring the right mind-set for creating order and becoming a tidy person. Here’s what we’re all doing wrong:
That’s right. If we organize, we’re simply putting our stuff (which we have too much of) into another place. It’s only a matter of time before everything is a jumbled mess again, right? Instead of putting stuff into another place, discard it.
2. Discard by category, not by room.
Kondo recommends discarding in this precise order: clothes, books, paper, miscellaneous, and things of sentimental value.
3. Do not put things in storage. In fact, don’t have any storage.
Reverting back to point one, storage is not an option! I know we so often hear, “put it in the garage for 6 months and if you don’t need it, then throw it away.” But let’s be real: we’re New Yorkers and don’t have garages, and to pay for Manhattan Mini Storage is kind of a waste cause, if you don’t need it now, you probably don’t need it. Granted, there’s always exceptions: those golf clubs or skies that you use perhaps twice a year? I challenge you to think if you actually need them, or would be just as happy discarding them and renting them on the rare occasions when they’re needed. After all, renting skies is way cheaper than paying to keep them in storage year round.
4. All of your possessions should have a home, so put them there, daily.
When you come in from work, you should have a set place for your keys, your coat, and your purse. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT continue the habit of throwing them onto the kitchen counter. Take a few minutes and return everything to their proper home, thanking them for a job well down for the day.
5. Own only items which you can honestly say spark joy in your life.
If you can’t pick something up and feel a rush of happiness, it’s time to realize that the item’s due date is here, and it’s time to thank the item for a job well done and discard it (please note: by “discard” I’m referencing whatever method works for your particular things…you can give items away, donate to charity, sell things on Ebay, put them in the trash…no matter. Just discard quickly and efficiently;-). Now, this can get a bit tricky with items that were given as gifts or sentimental items, but again, let’s be real. Do you REALLY need mementos from your friend’s wedding sitting around? How many photos do you actually need to recall a family vacation (especially now that everything is digital?) Yes, your college hoodie got you though some great times, but unless you wear it on the regular and it truly sparks joy, out with it.
I really loved this book, and can say using her method has brought both inner and outer peace to my daily routines. I mean, when you’re surrounded by things that spark joy, how can it not?
Would love to know…is this method something you’d consider trying? Let’s chat in the comments below!
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