Tidying the Kondo way


KONDO MINIMUM Marie Kondo in Netflix’s ‘Tidying Up With Marie Kondo’, during which the tidying expert teaches homeowners how to minimise clutter.


Maggie Gibbons

If you haven’t heard of Marie Kondo by now you must have been hiding under a rock. Marie Kondo has written numerous books on living a tidier life. Her best seller in 2011, ‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ was published in over 30 countries. This book drove us all into a mad decluttering frenzy. I’m sure lots of you have read it, and for a while you were probably a convert to the Kondo lifestyle.
This Japanese organisational consultant has been obsessed with organising and getting rid of unwanted things since childhood. When her school friends’ left the bookshelves messy, she took the greatest pleasure in tidying them up. “I was obsessed with what I could throw away,” she said. I suppose it was a bit like OCD.
Then one day she had an epiphany. After fainting and remaining unconscious for two hours, Kondo woke up claiming she’d heard a voice telling her to stop looking for things to throw things away. “What I should be doing is finding the things I want to keep. Identifying the things that make you happy: that is the work of tidying.” From then on she examined everything in a new light, and only held on to things that made her happy.
From this, the KonMari method was born – when decluttering and tidying, look at all your possessions carefully and only keep the items that ‘spark joy’ – get rid of the rest.
Kondo encourages you to treasure what you have, and treat everything you own as valuable, irrespective of its cost. In fact, she swears you will never have to organise your home again if you follow her method once.
The Kon Mari method encourages a lot of sorting out, category by category. You could, for example, start with books, moving on to clothes, bathroom items, and finally nostalgic things. Keep things that speak to your heart (her words) and let everything else go.
Think you could do it? I’ve honestly tried, but every time I go to get rid of something I think of the price I paid for it and feel it would be a sin to throw it out. Or, I try it on again and feel myself falling in love with it once more. Maybe this is what she means by sparking joy? At that rate I have a wardrobe overflowing with joy!
There are a few basic rules to get started. First, think about your lifestyle. Have you kept too many things from another lifestyle? Second, tidy by category. Third, consider each item in front of you and ask yourself, ‘Does it spark joy?’ – if it doesn’t, throw it out (or bring it to a charity). Finally, get rid of paper – open those drawers that have bills and other paper records stuffed into them, and file them away or get rid!

Sentimental struggles
Sentimentality is the enemy of tidiness. Whenever I start sorting out drawers, I invariably find boxes full of letters and old photograph albums. Once I start looking at the old photos, I’m doomed to failure. Before long, I’m on a nostalgic journey that ends the tidying, for that day at least.
This Kondo method demands a ruthless streak I’m not sure I possess. My mother died in 2002, and I still can’t bring myself to get rid of cardigans and jumpers she knitted. I’m also holding on to a half bottle of her favourite perfume, and at this moment in time I can never see myself getting rid of them.
Having said all that, a good old purge can be good for the soul. If you genuinely know you will never use or wear something again, then let it go. I filled three bags for charity recently and I swear I can’t remember a thing I put in them. The old adage ‘out of sight, out of mind’ rings true in this instance. Look for things that spark joy today!

Maggie Gibbons is an Image/Style Consultant based in Louisburgh. She can be contacted at living@mayonews.ie.