It’s been a week since I began my decluttering process the KonMari way. You may remember my mentioning it last week on Little Things Thursday and I promised you an update after reading the entire book and applying what I learned. I found the whole thing life changing in terms of how I view things.
Last week there were mixed reactions to the book. Most people who left comments were fairly on board with simplifying while a few others were thinking that decluttering was the last thing on their to do lists. There is no judgement either way because the real purpose of the book is not to force you to discard items you really love, but to help you make sure that you are surrounding yourself with things that “spark joy”.
Personally, I was not as joyful with my surroundings as I could be. I knew that we had some excess baggage that felt more like an anchor than a bolster of joy. In an effort to give us space to pursue our true passions, I needed to spend less time managing items. If we can’t steward and store things well, then they must be superfluous to our lives. Storage is just a bandage to the bigger problem of excess.
I spent a full week purging every single room and closet. I took a serious look at each item, as the method suggests, and asked myself if the items “sparked joy”. I did feel a little foolish verbalizing the question, but it was so helpful. Marie suggests starting with categories, not rooms. You begin with clothing, move to books, papers, misc. items, and then on to nostalgia. Never start with nostalgia if you want to make it through the discarding process. You end with it because by the time you get to your nostalgia, you’ve honed the skill of knowing what brings you joy. Nostalgia is the most guilt inducing category, so you want to have your brave pants on before tackling it. This works! The only item I disagree with tossing in this department is photographs, obviously. I mean there may be some you could let go of, if you don’t even know what they are. However, we do need to be better about taking hundreds of nothing shots. And we do need to be better about giving our photographs that spark joy places of honor by displaying them. That’s my high horse.
I also love how Marie gives you permission to just let go of anything you have buyer’s remorse over. So often we hang on to things simply because we feel guilty about wasting money on it, even though we know we secretly hate it and will never use it. Or maybe we just have ambivalence about it and store it simply because it’s not that bad and maybe we will use it “someday”. She redeems those poorly purchased items buy telling us that we were taught that we don’t like shirts with patterns, or plaid doesn’t look good on us. We learned what not to buy next time! Or maybe we can let go of something because it’s purpose was already fulfilled by bringing us joy in the past, so we can let it go now because we are no longer gaining joy from it.
I discarded about 10-15 bags of garbage items and made a couple Goodwill donation trips. Remember, I’ve never been a pack rat. Still, I had that much miscellaneous garbage and unused items stuffed in drawers, closets, and spaces. It has been so freeing to give it up. Some things I just decided I could live without. We weren’t using them and there was no reason to keep them. We reached the place of “enough” and “joyful”. Everything has a designated home. If you discard thoroughly and put everything you keep away, you will stay decluttered. As the theory goes… So far so good in our home.
The tip on folding clothing has been revolutionary. I never knew I had that much available drawer space until I folded the KonMari way. Try it…it’s amazing. If this is all you gain from the book, you won’t be sorry.
Lastly, I truly believe this method will stay with me if I simply ask myself when purchasing, “does this spark joy?” I think I will know immediately if the items are needed, bring me joy, or if I am seeking to soothe some fleeting emotion inside instead. I will teach my kids to ask the same question, even if I gave them the items. No guilt. I don’t want them navigating their adult lives feeling bound to stuff. Sometimes I think we all just need permission to throw stuff away and to have less. It is a bit counter-cultural to think this way. We have to learn to carry memories and experiences without all the tchotchkes. Unless they really spark joy! I have a few items from Thailand that are joyful for me like my Celadon tea set from Chiang Mai. I prefer to buy one really great thing over a 100 little nothings.
If you took a look around my home today, you would not see sparse minimalism. You would see essentialism. Though, I can get on board with both and be happy. The bottom line for me is having freedom to follow passions without the anchor of stuff. Beautiful essentials are all I need. I love that take away from reading the book.
One thing I am not addressing here are the chapters that touch on some of the Japanese spiritual philosophies regarding things as living beings. This is briefly mentioned and from the perspective of a Japanese author. This subject is beyond the point of the book, in my opinion. If you want to ask me about those from my Christian perspective, I’m happy to share my thoughts with you.
Grab this book if you are serious about decluttering and simplifying your space. You can find the book on Amazon. Link is an affiliate link. Purchases made through this link do bring a few pennies my way and support this blog. Thank you.