The flowers are about to bloom again as we begin a new cycle. To start afresh, we think, ‘Out with the old!’ and so our annual spring-cleaning begins!
But how effective are our methods if we end up spring-cleaning this often? Marie Kondo asked this very question as a child, and has now perfected (and patented) the KonMari Method of tidying.
We’re breaking it down for you to get you started on the road to simple efficiency in your day-to-day life – or in Marie Kondo’s words, the road to sparking joy!
The 6 Basic Rules
- Commit yourself to tidying up
- Imagine your ideal lifestyle
- Finish discarding first
- Tidy by category, not by location
- Follow the right order
- Ask yourself if it sparks joy
Based on Marie Kondo’s bestselling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying, this is what these rules translate to:
1. The Commitment
Marie Kondo believes that you cannot tidy properly if you have never learnt how. But once you learn the correct methods and set the time aside for the full process (as opposed to a little a day), she says that you can tidy just once if you just commit fully and tidy properly when you do.
2. Visualising the Destination
You cannot begin to discard items without first thinking ahead to what you end goal is. What is the ultimate objective of your cleaning expedition and what do you hope to gain? Do you want to live clutter-free and have a place for everything? Do you want to save time spent looking for things and finding space for them every day?
3. How to Discard
You will need to change the focus. Instead of focusing on what you want to get rid of, focus on what you want to keep. This avoids going on the extreme side of discarding items without feeling any fulfilment in doing so, and then having regrets about it in the future.
So keep only those things that speak to the heart, and discard items that no longer spark joy. Thank them for their service – then let them go.
4. The Categories
Begin with clothes, then move on to books, papers, miscellaneous items (called komono) and, finally, sentimental items. The reason you do it this way is that if you based it purely on location, you may finally get through all of the books and papers in your study area, only to find that you’ve forgotten about the ones sitting at the bottom of your bedroom cupboard and on the living room bookshelf.
5. The Right Order
Once you’ve allocated a place for all of your items, adhere to your new system. Always put things back in their designated location when you are done with them, and do so with enthusiasm. Thank them for their use and place them in their new home. Once you get into this habit, you will be able to maintain order and tidiness in your ‘new’ home.
6. Sparking joy
The KonMari Method states that you should keep things because you love them, not ‘just because’. Marie Kondo believes that we should truly appreciate all of the possessions which we have chosen to keep, and that our possessions want to be used, too. She says, “Being surrounded by things that bring joy makes you happy.” And that is what our homes should do.
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