“Washing off the dirt both physically and spiritually plays an important role in daily practice”, says Eriko Kuwagaki of Shinshoji Temple when asked why Japan religiously practices cleanliness. He was talking about the Zen Buddhist concept of cleanliness amongst the Japanese. That is also the main reason why Japan-born Marie Kondo has embraced the idea of cleanliness.
- 1 Understanding the KonMari Method
- 2 The Pros and Cons of the Method
- 3 Final Takeaway
Understanding the KonMari Method
In her bestselling book entitled, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” she outlined several steps in organizing and decluttering a home. These are the 6 Marie Kondo tips in tidying up a house:
1. Commit yourself to tidy up.
It asks for the total submission of the individual to the concept of cleaning. There should be focus and purpose so that when you start doing the task, you will commit to finishing it. This step promised that at the end of cleaning and decluttering, the individual would find joy in living surrounded by the thing they love.
2. Imagine your ideal lifestyle
As said in the first step, clarity of purpose is essential before you start cleaning up. The change should be the beginning of a new way of life. This means you need to define what you want to be after the cleaning and decluttering are over.
3. Finish discarding first.
This is an emotional step as it focuses on assessing your personal experiences and emotions towards an item and teaches you to let go of things that do not spark joy in your life. It also teaches one to pay respect and feel grateful for items you need to let go of by sprinkling salt on them as a way of saying thanks.
4. Tidy by category, not by location.
This step talks about the actual organization in tidying up by identifying which item to sort first. Location is immaterial; it is the category that is the focus of this step. In this step, Marie believes that you begin sorting out your clothes then your books. Once that is done, you may proceed to papers, komono (miscellaneous items), and lastly, sentimental items.
5. Follow the proper order.
This step is a justification of the former step. The practice of letting go of the easiest to the most problematic items is supposedly also a practice in decision-making that one must master. As the individual goes from one category to the next, it will increase their self-confidence, enthusiasm, and energy. The process is more about the individual and how it will allow the individual to learn more about himself and the things that truly bring them happiness.
6. Ask yourself if it sparks joy.
To pick up each item, put it near your heart and try to find out if the item sparks joy to you and converts the whole process from an objective task to an emotional one. It focuses on the personal meaning of happiness instead of what the process may dictate. The process aims to provide the individual a deeper understanding of the difference between what he wants as what truly gives them joy.
The Pros and Cons of the Method
The Marie Kondo tips sparked much inspiration and have started a renewed interest in minimalism. But, as noted by some writers, there are also pros and cons to the method. Some of the disadvantages include the following:
1. It cannot apply to everyone
For individuals who are psychologically possessive and have the habit of hoarding, all items in their possession are important. To ask them to find the one that sparks joy may be difficult. Another person with a much clearer view of what they truly need is needed to guide them through the process of cleaning and decluttering.
2. Letting go of what does not spark joy
While everyone has some items that do spark joy, there are still items that do not spark joy, but they need to embrace these. For example, office and school uniforms do not necessarily bring happiness, but one needs to keep them because of another purpose in life. Wouldn’t it be better to find the purpose of the item in your life instead of the joy and happiness it brings?
Letting go is another concept that needs exploring. During these difficult times, letting go simply means giving it to those who may need it or repurpose it, and not throw it away as suggested in this method.
3. The Way to Treat Items
The whole process was presented as an emotional journey, and items were presented like living and breathing things. While it may be good to treat items with respect, thinking that one will hurt or disrespect them when they are kept or folded in the wrong way may not sit well with everybody. That goes in contrast to the concept of maintaining items in the limited space available. What if the limited space cannot accommodate the items even after following the prescribed way of folding? Should it be thrown away?
4. Marathon Decluttering
The concept of complete devotion to tidying up and decluttering may not apply to everyone, especially to those who want to declutter and clean but also need to earn a living.
While there may be some questionable concepts within the method, there are many concepts that will be very useful.
1. Tidy Up and Declutter Based on Category
The concept that one needs to declutter based on category is the best way to eliminate items that one no longer needs. Done one time, this practice will eliminate all duplication and unwanted items because one is compelled to decide on the spot which to keep and which to let go. People tend to save their favorite things in more than one place. That is why duplication is a common way towards hoarding.
While it may not apply to some and space restrictions might affect the overall outcome of folding, it is a good concept to fold items and keep them in a certain order suitable for their lifestyle. If you still need assistance in decluttering a home, CleanArte declutter and organizing services is willing to do it for you.
3. Peace of Mind
The concept of tidying and decluttering truly brings happiness, a sense of accomplishment, and peace of mind to an individual. It is difficult to think clearly when surrounded by clutter.
4. Decision-making Concepts behind the Method
If one is to study the whole process, the method does not talk about decluttering the home only. Rather, it is a practice of proper prioritization and decision-making strategies. This concept, when adopted, will result in effective management and problem-solving techniques.
While there are some disadvantages, the KonMari method is overall a concept that should be embraced not only to clean and declutter a house but also to attain a relatively peaceful life. The only question that remains is: Will the KonMari method work for you?