You can find numerous articles lately about the work of Marie Kondo, a Japanese woman with a frightening knack for throwing things away.
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She goes to the houses of people who are having trouble relaxing or getting things done and “declutters” their rooms, which basically means she drags bag after bag of random stuff that has accumulated over the years out of the house and bringing it to the nearest dumpster.
She works from the religious philosophy of her native Japan, where Shinto shrines are clean, tidy places meant for quiet contemplation. She figures that if our houses are decorated the same way, we will get the same feeling of wellbeing and peace associated with meditating in a temple in Nagoya.
Assuming we believe that cluttered rooms do indeed reflect cluttered minds, let’s take a closer look.
Rise To Fame
Kondo has risen to fame astronomically. Her book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing,” has become a bestseller and there’s even a movie being shot right now in Japan about her methods and way of reimagining the spaces we live in.
She is so popular now, she has stopped taking new clients; the waiting times were simply becoming too long. Her book, though, is all someone who hasn’t already become a complete hoarder needs. It is written in a simple, accessible style and is uncluttered, of course, by images or superfluous descriptions. It describes in easy steps how you can live a more fulfilling life simply by getting rid of the stuff you don’t need and thereby creating a personal living space where you can be you.
The central core of Kondo’s work is the idea that an object should “bring joy,” so hold an object in your hand and take a long hard look at it. If it makes you feel good, brings pleasant associations and gives you a thrill, you should keep it; otherwise, donate it or throw it away, because t is merely clutter and serves no real purpose except to take up space.
By focusing on surrounding ourselves with only objects that bring us joy, we give real meaning to our lives. This focus makes that we surround ourselves with objects that are necessary to live fulfilling, meaningful lives rather than speedy, shallow ones, so we can come back to ourselves all the more quickly when coming home from a long hard day in this hectic modern society.
When it is easier to get in touch with yourself on a daily basis, it also means you’ll be leading a happier, more balanced life.
Komodo Equals Chaos
By getting rid of clutter and randomly accrued stuff – Kondo herself prefers to use the Japanese word “komodo” or “miscellaneous items” – you make the place you live in a peaceful one where you can calm down quickly and completely. The objects that are left over bring greater clarity and infuse a living space with peace and tranquility.
People often feel uncomfortable in their living space because these spaces give off a strong chaotic vibe caused by meaningless clutter. A tidy room makes for a tidy mind. Kondo’s methods make sure that you don’t get rid of the things that make you more peaceful.
She recommends that people go through their stuff slowly and methodically, over the course of several months and by subject. In this manner, decluttering your house becomes a journey of self-discovery.
All in all, Kondo’ work seems something worth following. Take some time and Kondo your home. Tackle the project room by room and go slow. Hold each object in your hand and determine its value – yes, you can throw away those decades-old school report cards – and see how decluttering your environment declutters your body, mind and spirit!