You often see posts today about how people have too much stuff. But that’s never a problem. “Too much stuff” seems to indicate that there is an ideal amount of stuff. For whom? The backpacker? The family of five? The crafter? The minimalist?
The issue is not the amount of stuff. It is: stuff we are not in alignment with.
Let’s get rid of the pressure of too much stuff or too little stuff and instead start thinking about the perfect amount of stuff that feels in complete alignment with who we are and where we want to be. The amount and the kinds of stuff this inspires will be different for everyone (as anyone who has a child or remembers being a child can attest to with their box of paper and bottle cap treasures).
Be in alignment and the stuff will follow. Maybe it will follow you to the recycle bin or the donation center. Maybe it will follow you into a newly organized closet. Maybe it will lie on the floor in a glorious pile.
Either way it will all bring joy and that is the point, isn’t it? Because you can never have too much of that. :)
My honest opinion of this book:
It worked for me where nothing else did.
It could be my personality (ENFP, Sagittarius, Empathic, Woo-woo, emotional, what-have-you), but the "does it spark joy?" mode of deciding what to keep (and so get rid of everything else) has saved me - saved me I tell you - from my clutter when nothing else has.
I have read clutter-clearing books. Anything logically based "have you used it in 2 years?" or "are you going to use it in the future" paralyses me. A deer in the headlights. I can justify the keeping of anything. I was in theater for goodness sakes. I can make a set out of old hangers, duct tape, and leftover Christmas cards. So I might use anything. And it could be useful. Also, I paid money for it. So I need to use it or I've wasted my dollars. Egads, it's just easier to keep stepping over the clutter than have to weigh in on my tangled guilt, shame and indecision about every object.
However, The Magic of Tidying Up has changed all that.
"Does it spark joy?" If not then keeping it is a waste.
If it does not spark joy then keeping it is a waste, because it's wasting my life's joy. It's wasting my life. OMGOSH I'm free. Free I tell you! Things have been flying out the door and I feel nothing but relief at their leaving now.
Also: it's not about getting rid of stuff, it's about keeping things that spark joy.
I cannot tell you how much this is a game-changer for me. In the past it was all about "you need to get rid of stuff". "You have too much stuff." "What is this crap?" Cold sweat. Panic. Not with the KonMari method. If it brings you joy, it stays. So you might love shoes and have 100 pairs. You might adore books and have 500. It could be a piece of old gum on a paper plate. If they all spark joy, YES KEEP THEM! I can breathe now. No one is going to sneak up on my child-self and yank away something precious to me because they think it's junk.
All good here.
But then she tells you how to fold clothes.
It's so complicated it looked like origami. My immediate response was "No way in heck" because I hate folding. But she swears everyone who learns her way exclaims with surprise that now they love folding. Ok. I vow to try it before I judge. But with help from YouTube. Someone has to show me what she means.
She got me.
I now fold my clothes the "KonMari" way. And you know what? It is fun! But more importantly: I can find everything. I can see everything. And more fits in my drawers than ever before but I have room left over because there are only joy-bringing objects in there.
Now, here comes a dose of reality:
I am not doing her book 100%. Why? I have a toddler. There will be no "take every book you own and put it in a pile on the floor to sort them". Not unless I want to end up with a pile of ripped papers. Also, I cannot do the same with my bathroom or kitchen stuff. But there is no need. I can now go through places and easily see what brings joy and what does not. Things are still flying out of the house. Life is good.
And then there are the extra steps she takes like, oh, emptying out her purse every time she comes home, hanging her sponge on the veranda to dry, and keeping her shampoo bottles dried and kept in the cupboard after every shower. Ahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Did I mention I have three kids and one of them is a toddler? I do not have time to parent my sponges and bottles. I did often wonder, sometimes with a wicked gleam in my eye, what her second book would be like if she ever had kids. :)
That being said, I may try it in the future if I have the time and space for it. After all, her clothes-folding got me once I applied it.
Now let me address the point that has people calling her bat-poo crazy. She talks to her possessions and she greets her house every day as if it were alive. This is (I think) perfectly normal in her country because many believe in the energy of objects a la Feng Shui. It doesn't raise my eyebrow because I'm woo-woo and people already things I'm nuts. (A good nuts, I like to think.) But I do put my foot down here. I will not personify my personal belongings. It's too complicated emotionally for me. As an empathic person it makes the house feel very crowded, noisy, and uncomfortable. I believe objects have energy, but like color. A room with red walls feels different than a room with blue walls. That kind of thing. I don't need to talk to my walls to know which color I prefer in my dining room. I can talk to myself and ask me.
Her explanation of why you want to surround yourself only with things you love makes sense to me. I have always heard an uncluttered space is great but now I get it. It's like being at a party where you love and adore each person there. You'd have a blast. But go down the street where every third person makes you cringe? That's why you want to love your belongings. So you aren't cringing subconsciously all day as you interact with your environment. Clearing out that "noise" makes it so you can truly live your joy. I am feeling it more and more since reading her book and letting things go. There is less noise so I can truly express the things I want to express.
It IS life changing.
But it's only life changing if her way of talking about clutter-clearing speaks to you. Hers is an intuitive method. I happen to believe that everyone has intuition. Some are more "feeling" about it. Some are more "gut" about it. Some think it's logical but the logic is really coming from a deeper place. But everyone has it. I also happen to believe that living an intuitive life is the key to happiness. That's why I adore her book. She uses my own methods for deciding how to live my life with how to live my life with stuff. I can't believe I never thought of it before! But perhaps I needed permission.
One of the best parts of her book for me was that she told stories of her journey through organizing. From purging to containerizing she walks us through the evolution of her work. I felt like I was having a healing. How many times did I buy the latest thing that would transform my closet once and for all?
And, she firmly believes that you must touch everything in order to come to grips with it emotionally. If it doesn't spark joy in you it might spark something else. Shame. Guilt. Obligation. Memories. Clearing those makes you a stronger, clearer person. I have found this to be true.
If something doesn't spark joy in me when I pick it up now, but I can't immediately discard it, I analyze it. What is making me pause? The inquiry is priceless. So many shoulds, woulds, coulds. Blah.
I had two aprons. One I knew sparked joy. The other I felt conflicted about. It was something I might have picked out myself, but I had gotten it at the same time as the other one - both gifts. Something about it made me feel inadequate. I wasn't good at cooking. It was too fancy. Too "rich" looking. I was a hack. I don't know, but it brought me a frown when I saw it. Once I cleared my feelings about it and gave myself permission to be a hack cook, or whatever the issue was I can't recall now, I began to love the apron. It's now my favorite.
That's what this book does. It challenges me to be clear about everything I own. And that makes me clearer about me. Which makes me more joyful and more able to live my purpose.
So, bravo, Marie Kondo. Thank you for your passion. For someone like me, you have freed me by giving me a framework to make organizational decisions with my emotions, not despite them. I appreciate your drying-off-your-shampoo-bottles self. You be you. I will be me. And together we will live our own lives, surrounded by joyful things.
P.S. Come to think of it, I could get babysitting and sort my books on a day off. Hmm. Or just hang the children to dry on the veranda. I hear there are plenty of sponges to play with. :)
Is your home cluttered? Your car? Your closets? Your garage?
Someone once asked Charles Fillmore (author of the book PROSPERITY) what he believed the greatest obstacle to prosperity was for most people.
He answered without a moment's hesitation.