Saturday, 18 April 2015

How to live a clutter free life. Is Marie Kondo the answer?

As with so much else in life, listen to your heart, your gut – whatever you want to call it. It rarely lies.

Marie Kondo is the author of a book called ‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying up’

Her approach to de-cluttering is based on focusing on what you love and what you want to keep, rather than necessarily what you want to get rid of. Or to put it simply, keeping only those things which ‘spark joy’.

How to find what sparks joy?  You will know, but to follow the Marie Kondo approach, you have to take out everything and pile it up, then take hold of it and see how it makes you feel.

After a few nondescript items sparking not much of anything quite frankly, I suddenly spotted and literally ‘leapt on’ my green bargain Toast cotton coat – a purchase made all the sweeter because it was from Oxfam so was (a) a bargain and (b) supporting a good cause. I will at this point own that I am slightly mad – but reader, I seized this coat, clasped it and jumped up and down and did a little happy dance.  Luckily I was in the privacy of my own home. However, in terms of clothing - this is what joy feels like.

Similar items followed – a beautiful and classic tan mulberry tote bag I’d lusted after for ages and then found at 70% off in an outlet store. More loveable and wearable basics followed – a black Whistles tube skirt (works with anything in any season and just so easy & versatile); an LK Bennett classic tan raincoat;  a ouple of Longchamp le pliage bags;  scarves in colours I just loved.

Things that I looked at which made me happy. Things that reflected how I feel and who I am right now.  Marie says that if you keep something that does not spark joy then you are either holding onto the past or have a fear of the future. How true this was – for me at least. 

Those things that looked so good 5 years ago….whoaa… stop right there – 5 years ago (not now).
Those things that cost a lot and I’m afraid to get rid of because I might want them again (even though I don’t love them) and worry about the waste of money…?   Yup - they have fear of the future written all over them.

Now I am quite a frugal person and did temper some of the decisions with a little practicality. For example, I can’t claim really to love any of my current umbrellas but clearly need at least one. However, what the exercise has done is to highlight that there is a gap in my wardrobe for an umbrella I do love and - when I see one that fits the bill I will get it. 

To free yourself of those things which no longer spark joy, Marie advises saying 'thank you for your service' before then placing them into the bin bag or donate bag. This may sound crazy but for me (disclaimer I AM crazy) it really worked and made the parting / closure better / easier. There was a sense that 'yes you have served me well and I loved you when I got you but it's time to say goodbye...' If like me you struggle with the emotional part of letting things go then I really recommend trying this approach. 

Kondo-ing (a verb Marie’s devotees have coined) also makes you think about what you have in terms of how much you have and how much (or little) you truly need.

I think that even if I reduced my possessions by 50% I would have all I needed and more – both for now and some way into the future. 

The feeling of letting things go brings an amazing lightness and freedom.

Marie Kondo’s approach has really struck a chord with me, and I think I was close to reaching something akin to it after a long puzzling and largely fruitless de-cluttering journey of my own.

But without Marie Kondo, and her legions of fans, I wouldn’t have had the courage to go for it.

In true Marie Kondo style I have not acquired the book (another needless possession) but have gleaned the essence of the approach from googling and from YouTube videos.

Happy Kondo-ing. Try it and let me know how you get on!

1 comment:

  1. I had heard about this book but was a bit sceptical as I'm already quite ruthless with decluttering. But I loved your summary of how she approaches it.... I now think there is room to clear out more!!! X


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