My curiosity got the best of me and I decided to check out Marie Kondo’s much hyped book: The Life- Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. Kondo has been in the news a lot this year. She has a new reality show on Netflix and some of her ideas have been quite controversial. For example, she advises to keep only about thirty books in your personal library. Book lovers lost their minds!
Kondo preaches the idea of only keeping items that spark joy. If you do not feel joy towards an object, you should not have it in your home. Rather than just dumping joyless objects, she gives these objects a little consideration. For example, if you bought a sweater on impulse and realize that it doesn’t suit you, you should take a moment to thank this sweater for teaching you a lesson or for perhaps fulfilling that moment of needing to shop, before sending the sweater to its next owner. It’s okay to let things go, but you should acknowledge their presence in your life, even if you feel that it made a minor impact. You should treat objects with respect and gratitude.
Along with this, she has a lovely ritual of greeting her home after a day out. I’m sure this could feel silly for a lot of people, but I like the idea of gratitude and taking pride in your home. The more I considered Kondo’s method, the more it hit me that it isn’t so much about organization, but about deep gratitude and careful consideration for the material objects that you allow into your life.
I’ve embraced a few of her suggestions. For example, the Kondo or “KonMari” method recommends folding clothing into drawers, rather than stacking them. I could use more practicing folding, but the concept is solid. If you open a drawer, it allows you to see all of your items at once and eliminates messy piles that tend to topple over. I redid our drawers with the KonMari method while my husband was on a business trip and he loved the change. We are moving soon, but when we get settled in our new place, the first thing we are splurging on is a new dresser! This method is not limited to clothes. The idea is to stop stacking items and to have them all clearly visible when you open a drawer or box. Having items visible and displayed in a pleasing manner will make you appreciate what you own and cut down on unnecessary items.
I know that I’m guilty of over shopping and shoving the evidence into drawers or closets.
Back to the books…I am one of those book lovers who freaked out at Kondo’s thirty book statement. That said, Kondo never forces people to give anything away. It is not about a specific number of items, but about only keeping the items that you truly love. In her TV series, she made a comment that really changed how I viewed my bookshelf. She mentioned only keeping items that you could see in your life moving forward.
I really listened to this advice and it rocked my world.
Last week, I took a hard look at my bookshelf. Admittedly, this process was made easier, since we are moving soon and having to physically haul masses of heavy books is not appealing. As a book lover, I am often gifted with books or pick up books along the way. As a writer, I love supporting fellow authors, even if they have written books that are not my taste. I had cookbooks that I never used. I mean, a cook book filled with recipes based on The Hunger Games, seemed like a good idea at the time. Right? I don’t even cook. With Kondo’s words in my heart, I ruthlessly culled my bookshelf and ended up donating over a hundred books to our local coffee shop that has a “take one, leave one” pile. I took none and I felt a million times lighter. My bookshelf is still full, but it is no longer bursting. Most vital, it only has books that I am excited to read.
I’m pretty darn excited at this new perspective. I even let go of some sentimental items, like pictures that my grandmother painted in the 1930’s. I had been holding on to those bulky paintings for purely sentimental reasons, but I no longer needed them in my life. Hopefully, someone else will find joy in them and if not, I will never know and that’s okay too. I was ready to let go.
If you’re in need of a new perspective or a good declutter, I highly recommend Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. The Netflix series is inspirational too, especially being about to see Kondo in action. She has a very warm and happy energy.