A slender, effortlessly chic Japanese woman by the name of Marie Kondo has recently taken the world by storm with her bestselling books and TV shows delighting us with ways in which we can tidy up our homes and our lives.
Marie has been a tidying up consultant since the age of 19, as a university student in Tokyo. Nowadays she can be found advising everyone around the world to consider worldly goods with impartiality and reason. Her show ’Tidying Up with Marie Kondo’ and books including ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’, ‘Spark Joy’ and the more recent ‘Marie Kondo’s Joy at Work: Organizing Your Professional Life’ (see our recent post for more details) take tidying up to a whole new level. But what it actually teaches you is to organise your home, just once, so that you never have to do it again.
So how do you go about having a de-clutter? Contrary to how most of us sort through our things – room by room, a little at a time – the KonMari Method™ organises your possessions by category, not by location. There are five categories: Clothes, books, papers, komono or miscellaneous items, and lastly, sentimental items. This latter item is obviously quite hard for most people, yet the other categories can also cause anguish. Collectors of books and records will face decisions over paring down their collections, while fashionistas will have to scrutinise their shoes and handbags.
There are six rules that Marie advocates for tidying up:
1 – Commit yourself to tidying up
2 – Imagine your ideal lifestyle
3 – Finish discarding first
4 – Tidy by category, not by location
5 – Follow the right order
6 – Ask yourself if it sparks joy
There is that little word again: joy. You have no doubt seen the memes, but what the KonMari Method™ asks you to do is keep only those items which literally bring you joy and speak to your heart. If they don’t, then thank them for their service and get rid of them. This teaches you to be mindful, introspective and forward-thinking. Does having 10 identical black t-shirts bring me joy? Well, if they’re worn, faded, don’t fit or haven’t been worn in months (or ever), then no, they don’t bring joy.
Once you have determined which items bring you joy, you need to find a home for each and every thing you own. Marie states that ‘clutter has nothing to do with what or how much you own – it’s the failure to put things back where they belong’. So thank your items and give them a space of their own.
With many of us working from home, we equally need this time of our life to bring us joy. We can use this time to tidy all aspects of our working life – think about that perennial dread, clearing the inbox, which would inevitably bring you joy once it’s done.
Marie recommends these tips:
- Create a tidy haven: this will increase productivity as well as joy. Determine what items you need to use and give each a designated spot. This should include sorting and categorising paperwork. Remove everything else, and add just one item that sparks joy – a plant, a photo of loved ones, a scented candle.
- Signal the start of your work day: begin the day with intent, and equally finish the day with definite actions such as closing your laptop and switching off notifications. Then move on to the next part of your day.
- Set boundaries and take breaks: decide what is ‘urgent’ and what isn’t, and conserve your energy for those tasks that actually need to be done. Taking regular breaks will ensure you remain fresh and creative.
- Channel gratitude: working alone can prove difficult for some. Stay engaged, have regular interaction with colleagues and maintain a link with fellow home workers. Say thank you to colleagues and share some lighthearted humour. Bring joy to your colleagues’ lives as well as yours.