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The 5 Revolutionary Lessons Tidying Up Taught Me About Joy
If you've been wondering why everyone is using the verb "tidying" instead of cleaning these days, then you haven't heard of Marie Kondo.
The best-selling author and tidying expert Marie Kondo has her own method to finding joy in tidying, known as the KonMarie method. A recently released Netflix special, though, has made her a household name and has everyone placing items in bins, carefully folding clothes, and donating more items than ever.
But is there truth behind her message that tidying can bring joy? I was skeptical. As a total shopaholic, makeup addict, and collector of shoes, I had my doubts that the show would change anything in my attitude. In fact, I almost turned it off after the first episode.
However, I kept watching....and I got hooked. I started small, tackling my closet. But here's the thing....I found that her system works. As hippie-trippie as it sort of sounds (hold each item and asks if it sparks joy), it really does refocus your efforts.
I've made it through my closet (which was an immense task). My husband and I are finishing the kitchen tomorrow. Here are the five tips I've learned from her system that have really helped me spark joy.
1. Less really is more.
I'm the girl who buys two of a shirt that I don't really love just because it's cheap. I'm the girl whose closet has ten pairs of the same kind of black pants just in case something would happen. I'm the girl with more shoes than I could wear in a year.
I like to consider myself a fashionista or a clothing enthusiast. But, if we're being honest, yes, I suppose I'm a pack-rat, a bit of a hoarder, whatever you want to call it.
Marie Kondo emphasizes the ideas of minimalism in her show. Her idea is that if you have less stuff, you appreciate it more. This seemed like garbage to me at first, if I'm being honest. I loved having a full closet. And what was it hurting... out of sight, out of mind, right?
This week, though, I've tediously worked myself up to getting rid of four garbage bags full of clothes and shoes. Four. Heaping bags. For the first time ever, I have empty spaces in my closet. I have enough room to move clothing on the rack and examine it. I can see all of my shoes.
And you know what? She's right. She's so right. Because now, I can actually see what I have. I can walk into my closet and just grab items, toss them on, and go wherever I'm going without wondering if my outfit is good. Because everything in my closet is stuff I love.
P.S: I was super skeptical about the folding bit. But now, I love it! My leggings fit in a smaller space, as do my tank tops. And I can see everything and reach everything without having to undo stacks of clothing.
2. When you only keep items that 'spark joy,' life is simpler.
What the heck does it mean to spark joy? This was the question I wondered when I started following the KonMari method. It sounded like super hippie stuff to me.
But then on the one episode, she had someone pick out their favorite shirt. She asked them to think about how they felt when they saw that shirt, when they wore it. That was sparking joy.
Really, it's just a different way of looking at clothes, books, or anything else you're sorting. Do you really love it? Does it make you happy or bring purpose to your life? If not, chuck it.
I've been using this tactic now when shopping, too. I stop and really think about whether or not I love the item. If I'm just buying it because it is cheap and I might use it someday, I now pass. I now seek to fill my home with items that have meaning, something I've never truly thought about in the past.
Sparking joy is just a way of saying you need to be more mindful. So many of us seek to buy stuff just for the sake of having it. But Marie points out that you need to fill your space with items that make you happy, have a purpose, and point you in the direction of the future you're seeking.
Now, everything in my closet is something I love. It's so much easier to piece together outfits or to get dressed. There are no more "maybe I'll wear this someday" items cluttering my space.
3. A tidy home really does lead to less stress and more time.
Our house used to be clutter central. Finding the peanut butter was a ten-minute task. Morning routines were filled with tons of curse words and lost time. I was always rushing out the door last second because I could never find anything.
Now, though, I've seen a big difference in my stress level....and I've only tackled two spaces so far. The pantry is no longer anxiety fuel, and neither is my closet.
Less clutter really just helps you breathe easier. Seriously.
4. Assigning everything a home is key.
Marie Kondo highlights the importance of every item having a specific home. That means even your whisk has a specific spot in a specific drawer. This helps assure that when you open a drawer or closet, you can see everything you have.
We have started assigning spaces to everything. Is it tedious? Yes. But we've also found it helps us know exactly what we have and where it is. And it also helps us appreciate everything we have. When you treat all of your belongings with reverence, there's just a newfound happiness that emerges.
5. Small spaces can still be tidy if you organize it correctly.
I used to think we didn't have the space to be tidy. But Marie Kondo approaches small spaces with the same principles. She really showed me that you don't have to have a big space to be organized and to have the life you want.
I love that her show works with what you have. She's worked with full houses and apartment-size areas. Her show really sparks joy because it's all about appreciating what you have, big or small, and making it work for your life.
Have you watched 'Tidying Up' or ascribed to Marie Kondo's principles? Let me know in the comments what you've thought of her process, or tell us your own success story. And if you think this article will help your friends and family, feel free to hit the icons below to share!
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