In The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo explains her method, dubbed the KonMari Method, for removing excess possessions from your home that allows you to never have to “tidy up” again. Sounds cool, right?
The KonMari method, at least according to Marie Kondo, has changed lives across the globe. On top of that, none of her clients have relapsed into their messy hoarding habits.
Some different techniques she discusses include considering how your things feel, thanking your house and possessions, folding so that your items aren’t stacked (here’s a good tutorial), and sorting your items by category, not room.
I’ve always been a believer that the space we live in impacts our lives in both obvious and subconscious ways. Because it’s springtime and also time for some spring cleaning, I figured now was as good of a time as any to implement the KonMari method in my own home.
According to the L.A. Times, the average American home has over 300,000 possessions. Yikes.
While I was reading, I realized that as twenty-somethings, we haven’t (yet) hoarded a house full of possessions. Many of us only have one room, or a one to two bedroom apartment, yet somehow we still have tons of material items that don’t actively contribute to our lives.
You may not feel like it’s a problem—yet—but that doesn’t mean that it won’t be down the road.
After I finished reading the book, I began to implement some of her methods. Below is how to use the KonMari method as a twenty-something.
1. Ask yourself “does this spark joy?”
This is a controversial question. In reviews, many people would say things like “well my cleaning supplies don’t spark joy,” “my socks don’t bring me joy,” “my chemotherapy medication doesn’t bring me joy.” Pish posh.
To rephrase this question, I think you should ask yourself: “Is this actively adding value to my life?”
If it is, great keep it.
If it used to but isn’t anymore, donate it.
If it doesn’t, donate it.
2. Remember: Storage experts are hoarders.
One of the pillars of the KonMari method is that you don’t really need to store anything–everything has a place where it belongs in your home.
American culture lends itself to the idea that we have things that are only used at certain times of the year, and many of these things require storage. In my opinion, it’s okay to keep things that add value to your life, even if it’s only for 30 or so days every year. As long as they have a place in your home and you actually use them.
If you have to come up with overly creative storage solutions, you’re probably hoarding too many things. Consider what you actually use versus what you don’t (and refer back to #1).
3. Let go of things that have fulfilled their purpose.
Now we’re definitely talking about the things that just sit around your space. You may have used them at some point or bought them and never even touched them at all. Maybe you’re hanging onto these things because you think you’ll need them one day or you just don’t want to throw away money.
According to Marie Kondo, these things have already served their purpose in your life and are ready to move on with their existence. You’ve learned what you don’t like or what you don’t need, and because of that, it’s safe for you to get rid of these things.
4. Think of how your things feel.
This is kind of a weird question, but actually pretty powerful when you consider the implications.
Think of those clothes that are in your closet, that even though you love them, you never wear them. Clothes are made to be worn. How do you think they feel sitting around not being worn? How do you feel when you aren’t fulfilling your potential? Maybe it’s time to pass them on to someone who will use them for their purpose.
5. The limit of sentimentality.
This is where we get caught up. As humans, we’re sentimental. We like to keep things from our childhoods and days gone by. It’s hard to let go of things that you have fond memories of, but hanging onto those things keeps us from moving forward.
I think it’s okay to keep a few things out of sentimentality as long as they have a place in your life now. You don’t need to keep pages and pages of your scribbles from third grade, but it’s totally cool if you want to keep your first place ribbon from the science fair or a teddy bear your grandma gave you. Just be intentional about it, and remember–if you need to find a creative way to store things, you probably shouldn’t be keeping them.
So there you have it, my take on how to implement the KonMari method as a twenty-something. I recommend picking up the book as it goes into detail about the specific steps of her method.
We’re in a unique place where we don’t have 300,000 possessions and can avoid the consumerism that plagues American society. What do you think about the KonMari method and minimalism?