Tips for Thought

Changing Your Life With Tidying Up With Marie Kondo

Marie Kondo is a successful Japanese organizing consultant and author. Her clear guideline, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” is a New York Times Bestseller that has sparked a revolution and a successful Netflix series. Since then, Marie Kondo has become one of Time 100 Most Influential People in 2015 and has launched a successful online store.

As a Japanese cleaning consultant, Marie Kondo takes organizing to a new level. Her methods of simplifying and organizing your home through the KonMari way will ensure you’ll never have to do it again.

What is the KonMari Method?

The KonMari Method, which goes into a category-by-category system, leads to lasting changes that declutter your home and your life. This method helps people organize valuables based on which ones “spark joy” and which don’t. Instead of focusing on things you want to “throw out,” you can focus on what you want to keep by identifying what makes you happy.

The KonMari method is inspired by the Shinto religion, where cleaning and organizing things properly is a spiritual practice. The Shinto religion primarily focuses on the energy or divine spirit of things and the right way to live—all of which require balance and perspective.

What Does “Spark Joy” Mean?

The KonMari method is heavily discussed in Marie Kondo’s book. However, readers can also see it in action on the Netflix series. While the KonMari method has some step-by-step guidelines for carrying out organizing and cleaning, there is one premise that we must all remember:

“Keep only the things in your home that spark joy. Discard everything else.”

Sounds simple, right? But what does “spark joy” mean exactly?

To start, it’s a loose translation of the Japanese term “tokimeku,” which one feels when they’re excited. In the context of the author’s method, “spark joy” is that feeling of inspiration when you’re anticipating something.

Take this example: When organizing something, you suddenly see a few photographs of your youth. The photos have long faded, but the memories and the feelings you’ve associated with these photos are positive. These photos, in a sense, “spark joy” because as you vision your life and what you aspire to, you can see these photos as something you’d like to keep. You’re not hoping to return to the past but want to keep it with you.

That example is the basic premise of what “spark joy” means. Organizing and cleaning aren’t necessarily emotional tasks, but Kondo-san believes that our emotions can be guiding principles, especially when we wish to create a peaceful environment within our homes.

Lessons We Can Learn From “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”:

There’s no doubt that cleaning and organizing is essential, especially when we wish to have a more peaceful and clutter-free life. However, there is more to organizing than what meets the eye.

Here are essential lessons we can learn from the book and Netflix show:

1. Showing Gratitude Leads to Contentment.

We should all be grateful that we have a home, no matter how small. Regardless of space limitations, we can make the house a place of peace and safety by showing gratitude for our spaces.

The things we’ve accumulated over the years and the feelings we felt when we got them all matter. However, there are instances when we must move on, and certain things no longer serve any value in our future. When we reach this realization, we must understand that parting with our items that no longer spark joy shouldn’t be sad but a moment where it had its place in time, and we must move on.

Sure, you’ll probably never be able to get into your old pair of Levi’s jeans, but the times you had wearing the pair were indeed memorable. Now that you’re older, you need to let go, and hopefully, someone else will find value in those old jeans as you did in the second-hand shop.

2. Tidying Up Connects Us With Our Past.

It’s normal for homeowners to keep things of sentimental value. Old toys, records, photos, and the like are all important because they prove that we had joyful occasions. When we tidy up our space, we are not only on a cleaning journey but also discovering things about our past that we may have long forgotten. Whether you keep certain items is up to you; remember to ask yourself if they sparked joy.

3. Tidying Up Clears Our Mind.

A clean and welcoming area can help our brains focus more on the present. Clutter and messes, no matter how minor, can be distracting and, sometimes, harmful if we neglect to clean up after them. Remember, we all start and end our days at home, so keeping your home a leisure place is always worthwhile. When surrounded by cleanliness, brightness, and silence, we can learn to take things slow and appreciate the simple things that please us.

4. Tidying Up Creates More Space In Your Home and Your Day.

Aside from clearing up your mind and home, tidying up also clears up your day. When you’ve created space in your home, you’ll have more time and space for important things like friends, families, and loved ones. Creating a clean and happy home is more than just tidying up; it also creates a connection between family members because there are no more distractions on what truly matters.

The Bottom Line:

Cleaning up and organizing our things are usually seen as a chore, which makes us unlikely to do them. However, we approach cleaning and organizing as an event where we can create a beautiful space for ourselves and our loved ones. In that case, we’ll undoubtedly treat things with a purpose. This sense of purpose can propel us to clear our homes and minds to create a peaceful and inspiring environment.

Suppose you’re thinking of decluttering your home and life. In that case, you can check Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up book on Amazon. You can also check out her successful show “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo” on Netflix. A manga or “comic” version of the book is also available here.