Photography: Alex Lukey | Story: Style at Home - How I Found Joy in Tidying Up
Here's how Netflix's new "Tidying Up" series helped our health & fitness editor discover the beauty in letting things go.
Yes, foreboding blizzard conditions had me cooped up and craving a clean and orderly space (which I share with my husband and toy-hoarding toddler) and yes, I’ve been watching Tidying Up With Marie Kondo.
Organizing consultant and author Marie Kondo believes that decluttering your home will change your life. While there was once a months-long waiting list for her services, you can tidy your whole home using her "KonMari" method thanks to her bestselling books and beloved (and obsessed over) Netflix series Tidying Up With Marie Kondo.
I’ll admit that while part of her approach can sound a little tedious and nutty, it’s brilliant. Go through your stuff—every single thing you own—and ask of each item, “Does it spark joy?” If the answer is no, get rid of it (but be sure to thank discarded belongings for years of service before letting go). This trick of limiting the amount of stuff you have to the things you love will make for a truly comfortable and happy home. What surprised me most about was that show’s takeaways go far beyond cleaning and organizing. Read on for the three biggest lessons I learned from Marie Kondo.
1. Tidying up is cathartic, and the key to being a better spouse, parent, friend and all-around person—it’s a form of self-care. The ultimate goal in tidying up, according to Kondo, is to cherish everything you have so you can live happily and comfortably. To do so, KonMari addresses categories of items rather than moving from room to room: clothing; books; papers; “komono” (miscellany); and sentimental items. For each category, you’ll pull out every single item and create a pile, then go through each piece and keep the things that give you a warm happy feeling (“Like holding a puppy,” says Kondo). As for the things you’ll get rid of, Kondo’s a realist, advising to toss or donate the things you tell yourself that you’ll use, wear or read… one day. Spoiler alert: You probably won’t. So be honest with yourself, the effect is a breath of fresh air in your home.
2. In watching Marie Kondo’s Netflix series, I noticed how the show puts forth the idea that maintaining a tidy home is something that should be shared by everyone living it. The very premise of the show is that couples and families embark on joint efforts at tidying. The KonMari method has you do the hard work of organizing in one intensive go, paring down and reorganizing so that presumably in a perfect future there’s nothing left to do or struggle over. The show—and Marie Kondo herself—seems to say that it’s not fair, and also nonsensical, for everyday household management to fall to only one person. In not-so-many-words, she asks the show’s participants, and the folks at home, to take a hard look at the labour involved in making a house a home and asks everyone to share in that work—kids included.
3. Research shows that taking time to experience gratitude can make you happier and even healthier, and one of the principles of KonMari is expressing thanks for all you have—whether it sparks joy or not so much. Completing the process in my own home felt like an extended gratitude practice for the things I want to keep in my home and for the stuff I was donating or throwing away: thanking a stretched-out pair of jeans I wore while pregnant with my daughter, for example; piles of dusty greeting cards from loved ones; or crayons broken by clumsy toddler hands. The process is truly life-changing and may even help influence more thoughtful purchases in the future.
What do you think? Have you Kondo-ed your home yet?