“Not to take pleasure in one’s surroundings is to miss one of the great delights of life.”
When I first became aware of Marie Kondo and the KonMari method, I was attracted to the promised benefit of having a super organized home. I saw the tidying process as something to get through: a huge task that would be unpleasant and time consuming at best. The end result was the thing that mattered.
However, instead of just a difficult task, I found that the act of tidying brought it’s own rewards:
The Physical Movement of Tidying
My first thought when it came to the first step of pulling every piece of clothing out of the closets and drawers was, “Really? Is this necessary?” But, being willing to at least give it a try, I pulled every single item out and piled them up high on the bed. Not only was it eye-opening (how did all that stuff fit in that tiny New York City closet!?) but the physical act of unloading all the spaces that held clothes was invigorating.
Once I got started, I found that instead of feeling burdened by the task, I felt light-hearted. When working with a client recently, she found herself smiling and uplifted while pulling hanger after hanger from her closet. Not what she expected at all! There was something exciting about taking stock and inventory of her space.
The Confidence of Tidying
The next stage in the process was to sort all my clothes into piles: one pile of things that I loved and that “Sparked Joy” and one pile of things that didn’t fit, that I never wore, that felt uncomfortable or that I just didn’t like.
At first, I was full of self doubt: maybe this will fit better if I lose ten pounds, maybe if I bought the right skirt to go with this top I would love it. But as I went along, I realized that I did have a vastly different response to items that I loved and items that I didn’t.
As the process moved along I became more and more confident in my ability to make good decisions about what should stay and what should go. Not only has this confidence in my own judgment continued after the tidying, but it has carried over to many other areas of my life in ways I could not have anticipated.
The Sense of Self in Tidying
Among the many benefits of tidying for me has been that I have a greater understanding of myself and what is important to me. I found that I apply the principles of KonMari to making decisions in many other areas of my daily life.
These days, I am aware that my time, energy and money should be spent on only those things that meet my “Joy Criteria”. In this way, I have found that I waste less resources overall and I am able to stay focused on the important things.
Sure, we all have work, tasks and constraints that don’t always “Spark Joy”, but I have found that I can see the must-do tasks as steps toward things that are actually important to me.
For me, KonMari was not just a means to successfully organize stuff in our small apartment with limited space. Sure, having much more space was great and bringing organization to our home was deeply satisfying, but the self-awareness it brought as well was even more valuable.
Where are you in your own journey toward finding serenity in your space; physically and emotionally?