Do you remember the last time you moved?
You had more stuff than you thought. That’s at least been the case for me.
I’m moving to my new place in April, and the whole process feels overwhelming.
You see, I’ve kept most of my stuff at my parents’ house, because I’ve lived abroad for many years.
I knew I wanted to declutter my childhood home, but I had no idea where to begin or how to do it.
I came across this fantastic book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo.
Her advice is simple, and I’m all about simple this year.
If you need help decluttering your home, look no further than the KonMari Method.
The KonMari Method to decluttering your home
The KonMari Method is simple and to the point. Her most important rule is to:
Tackle categories, not rooms.
This is a major shift in perspective. Most of us try to declutter a space, which can be a frustrating experience. Instead, you tackle categories in a certain order.
Here’s the decluttering process according to the KonMari Method:
- Sentimental items
Do yourself a favour: stick to this order. It’s smart, simple, and it works.
I would know. I have worked my way through it.
You start by putting all your clothes on the floor.
Next, you pick up a piece of clothing, feel the fabric, and ask yourself:
Does this give me joy?
If the answer is yes, you keep it. If it’s a no, you toss it out.
This process takes a bit of getting used to, but you’ll be surprised by how effective it is. Don’t overthink it. Just listen to your inital response. It’ll feel right.
(Marie Kondo warns against applying a rational approach to the decluttering process. Why? Because your brain can always come up with a reason for keeping it. Your first emotional response serves as a much better guide.)
The point with this exercise is to see how much clothes you actually have. The results are often revealing. I only use 20-25% of all my clothes!
Sorting through my books was a whole other challenge.
I love books.
I write articles like Are You a Life Enthusiast? These Are 15 Books You Need to Read and 10 Meaningful Books You’ll Want to Read Before You Die for fun.
I looked at all my books on the floor, when suddenly it struck me: some of these books no longer gave me joy. They had, in the past, offered me comfort, entertainment, and excitment.
These books had already fulfilled their purpose. It was time for me to give them to someone else.
I thanked the books while I put them in the bags. I donated more than 200 books to the public library, and it felt great.
(The librarian was very happy, too.)
I have a love-hate relationship to paper.
I think better by putting pen to paper, so I have a lot of notes lying around the house. If I’d be a superhero, it’d be Mr. Papernote Man.
Marie Kondo’s rule for handling paper is simple. You toss them out, unless you need to:
- take an action, or
- keep them for reference.
I now have one binder with all my important documents. I decided to get rid of all my school notes.
No, Olle, you won’t look at your 5th grade notes of irregular English verbs.
Kondo says that tidying up is about having a dialogue with yourself. It wasn’t until I was going through all my papers that I understood what she meant.
Paper weighs you down. I filled three bags. Not kidding.
Konomo is a Japanese term for miscellenous stuff.
Chords, external hard drives, batteries, coins, buttons, and all the other “stuff” you keep in a drawer fall into this category.
It’s like going on a treasure hunt. You have no idea what you’re going to find.
A lot is garbage, but some things turn out to be valuable. Like a new (never used!) wallet for example.
5. Sentimental items
There’s a reason why you save the most sentimental items for last. They’re the hardest to sort through.
By this time, you’ve built up your “decluttering muscle”. You immediately feel if you want to keep something or not.
After having done this process, I had organised three photo albums, collected my most precious DVDs and videos, and put all my journals in one place.
Now, that makes me happy.
Declutter your home and feel great
What items give you joy? Do you respect your belongings? Why are you keeping things that weigh you down?
I hope you try out the KonMari Method to decluttering your home. Borrow the book from the library, and let it guide you through the process.
When you’re done, you’ll only have things that give you joy. Isn’t that how it’s supposed to be?
Share your thoughts with us in the comments!