Do you KonMari? Root'd Marketing Manager, Carolyn's experience with new Japanese decluttering method
A few months back, I acquired all of my personal belongings from over the years that were still my parent’s house. They were getting some insulation issues fixed in their attic which required them to do a clean sweep of our family’s main storage space. I came across a box of every birthday card I ever received from birth announcement to my 17th birthday. My mom and I went through the cards one by one sharing little tid-bits of details she and I remembered from years past.
Their attic detox got me thinking (and stressing) about how much stuff I really had. Between college and apartments and houses and move after move, belongings had ebbed and flowed but a majority was still at my parent’s. There were whole boxes I swore I sorted through years ago, but alas there they were.
I caught wind of Mari Kondo, a Japanese organizing consultant, and her way of decluttering and tidying a home and belongings in her little turquoise book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. Kondo’s personal services are in high demand in Japan, but for those of us where time is of the essence, her book breaks down her radical, two-pronged approach to tidying. First, put your hands on everything you own, ask yourself if it sparks joy, and if it doesn’t, thank it for its service and get rid of it. Second, once only your most joy-giving belongings remain, put every item in a place where it’s visible, accessible, and easy to grab and then put back. Only then, Kondo says, will you have reached the nirvana of housekeeping, and never have to look at a cluttered closet or counter again.
The KonMari Method encourages tidying by category – not by location – beginning with clothes, then moving on to books, papers, komono (miscellaneous items), and finally, sentimental items. With this strategy in mind, I got to work. Starting with all of my clothes, I was left with pieces I truly enjoy wearing and that make me happy when wearing them. Is “clothes guilt” a thing for you to? You buy a really nice shirt and get a pang in your chest every time you reach past it for another shirt that you’ve worn dozens of time, yet the nice shirt’s life is devoted to being a closet ornament. Pass it on! I realized I had many pieces that seemed great in theory but weren’t actually my style—they’d be better on someone else’s body or in someone else’s life. I turned to the app Vinted to sell a lot of the clothes that I chose to part with (10 stars!). Next was housewares, items that frustrated me because I could never find all the pieces or the lid never quite stayed on right - they got the boot. Lastly I sorted through memorabilia and sentimental items, only keeping items that were special and made me happy, instead of saving items as physical memory holders. Hold the item, close your eyes, remember the moment and memory, thank it, let it go.
My favorite part of Mari’s method the act of thanking each item for what it has given you and it’s time of life with you - it is a way to bring the use-cycle full circle and pass the item on for someone else to enjoy. I also love (but hate at the time) her instructions of piling all your clothes in one big mound to start the process of decluttering. It gives you the “wow” factor to really shake up your consumerism boots. It made me grateful for all that I had but also made me want to change the way I consume and encouraged me to keep my buying and storing to a minimum. I hope this inspires you to look into the KonMari method and to try it in your own home!
Root’d E-commerce and Marketing Manager