Tidying up. The KonMari Method Part 1

May 30, 2018

Close to the end of 2017, I read an article on Career Contessa titled “9 Self-Help Books For Women Who Hate Self-Help”. One of the books recommend was The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. The premise of the book is to encourage a way of tidying up that should eliminate a need to declutter in the future. The way to achieve this is by abiding by the KonMari Method of tidying up and purposefully leaving only the things that spark joy in your life. The KonMari method consists of tidying up in categories and in a specific order. The categories are clothes, books, papers, komono (miscellaneous items), and sentimental items. By following the method as outlined, this should ensure your success and will leave you with not only a clutter-free space but a space that reflects all the things that bring you joy. At first glance, the book is portrayed as a guide for getting things in order, however, there is a deeper understanding to be garnered. Not only does the KonMari method declutter your physical space; it also allows for mental clarity in your life. The process forces us to deal with our emotional attachment to the items we surround ourselves with.

As you may know from previous posts, I've been on a process of transitioning my life into living in a minimalistic manner. Though I'm still in the stage of letting go, I do consider myself to be a minimalist since my relationships and attachments to things have changed. In 2016 I went through a purge which was the first step in slowly ridding myself of things that no longer served me purpose. That experience was not solely focused on letting go of items, I also let go of some past relationships I'd been holding onto that were not conducive to personal growth. During that initial state, I was elated with how much I'd let go and felt the weight being lifted off my shoulders. Little did I know then, this feeling was only temporary because shortly after I experienced the same feeling of being surrounded by things that did not bring me joy and are not an accurate representation of who I am or want to be.

In many ways letting go is a sign of starting over. There is much to be gained by starting over with a fresh slate

As I read Marie Kondo’s book, I was looking forward to approaching the act of letting go from a different perspective and with more guidance. The idea of reconnecting with my things in such a personal manner made me eager to start. I wanted to gain a better understanding of what I've continued to allow in my personal space since the initial purge.

The tidying up process began in February of this year and from then till today I’ve only partially managed to tackle the first category: clothes.  I did as Marie advised, which is to gather all your clothing in one big pile, take each individual item, and ask yourself, “Does this spark joy?” The items that do not pass the “joy check” are placed in a separate pile for donation to a local shelter for distribution to people in need. In the 3 months of setting these clothes aside, I have not completed the task of actually letting these things go. They are still neatly stacked in the corner of our bedroom almost as a reminder of a piece of myself I can’t seem to part ways with. The excuse I keep validating is that I have not found a place to donate these items to. “I don’t want to give away these clothes to Goodwill!” is what I constantly say, but I’ve made little effort to find an alternative to this monetized industry. I also set aside clothing that is in perfect condition to be sold either online or consignment but again, I’ve made no efforts to make a profit off of them.

My experience with the tidying up process at this moment is reminiscent of what I encountered during the purge. I'm fighting internal struggles and having a difficult time letting go of the past. I'm fully aware of the final outcome of staying on course since I had a glimpse of that 2 years ago. I want to find clarity in my physical world which will translate to clarity in my mentality. I believe that our physical space is a reflection of our mental space and right now my mental space is a stream of muddled thoughts in separate clusters of their own; pockets of random jargon and emotions that I'm trying to make sense of. This is a spitting image of what my physical space looks like in my home. Random items scattered in various places with no clear destination or permanent home. Though I'm fully aware of the positive side to letting go and moving forward, I am in constant conflict with the part of me that is holding onto something familiar.

In many ways letting go is a sign of starting over. There is much to be gained by starting over with a fresh slate. In the weeks that lead up to writing about procrastination, the urge to move forward with my life and escape this loop of inconsistency and lack of following through with my words has been on my forefront. I've been increasingly feeling as though I'm stuck in limbo and caught between 2 sides of the same coin. I know who I want to be and confident that I can maneuver the right steps to get there with the guidance of God, but putting words into actions and taking the first steps are difficult and shaky. Leaving something so familiar behind and stepping into the unknown is scary! But am I really going to allow doubt, fear, and uncertainty to keep me in the same state of battling emotional turmoil? Isn't there a point where we just get so tired of ourselves and our inaction that we stop the cycle?

According to Marie, the whole tidying up process typically takes 6 months to complete which I'm sure has a lot to do with people committing to the act and seeing it through as well as the volume of things we accumulate. I am half way in that timeline so I guess I shouldn't beat myself too much over being sidetracked and stumbling. I have rededicated myself to completing this because this is another facet of my life that needs to be addressed. Carrying years of unwanted baggage is unnecessary. I want to be able to look at my surroundings and see a reflection of who I am and provide a space for this person to flourish.

I now know that this personal struggle is just another form of resistance in my life: avoiding the work that needs to be done because it is that important to me. I can't let resistance be the ruler and conqueror of my life. In many ways, this tidying up process is another way of calling myself out on my shit; another example of saying I want to gain control of my life and struggling to do so along the way. The uplifting part of the whole thing is that I recognize what is happening and there is internal dialogue working to change the narrative. The life of an independent woman can't move forward without action and I deeply want to move forward. I enjoy sharing the adversities and hurdles I tackle to get to the next step.

Over the years I have found strength and solace in my comeback stories of trial and error. I have the next 3 months to see this process through but in all actuality, my goal is to be complete within the next few weeks. Since I have already let go of some things in the past, the weight of how much left to bear is not as heavy and I am ready to begin a new chapter. I am learning more about my behavior and being mindful of my actions. It's what lead me to the point of self-reflection and forced the hand of talking less and putting in the work. There's more to come of this topic and I look forward to updating you on the progress.


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1 comments

  1. Hi!

    Just want to say good luck on this new project/journey of yours. Marie Kondo's method is not the easiest thing to go through, but so worth it. I did a similar project a year ago. Her book made me think about the things I truly treasure and need in my life. Can't wait for the next update! Much Love!

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