Your home should be your sacred space. It is the place that you come back to, time and time again, as your family dances back and forth between school, work, friends, family, errands, and activities. It is the base from which you depart, then return to to unwind, reorganize, (hopefully) play and relax, before you prepare to set out again on life’s adventures. When I realized coming back to my home didn’t feel the way I wanted, decluttering helped me renew that love for my home, and my life.
Feeling a sense of overwhelming dismay at the disorder running rampant through my home, the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
by Marie Kondo could not have appeared and pulled me in to read it at a better time (that’s an Amazon affiliate link, fyi). At the end of last summer, I poured through the pages, gleaning new ways of thinking and being. By the end, I felt that I had the tools and motivations I desperately needed to clean up my act, and to simplify my life.
Now that it has been over a year since starting my own Konmari journey of decluttering, I feel I’ve come a long way from the mess I was before. Don’t get me wrong, my house is still messy. I still have too much, and I’m still searching to find the ways in which I can feel more organized in my home and my mind. However, even though I still have some categories of belongings to complete decluttering (and did not complete the challenge within the suggested 6-month time frame) there are many ways in which I can see and feel the benefits of embarking on this project. In order to help me better see the changes and motivate myself to continue on (and perhaps help to motivate others to start their own journeys), I wanted to take a few minutes to share the benefits I’ve noticed.
Benefits of Decluttering Konmari-style
Less is more
Reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up helped me make the mental shift towards realizing that not all of the things I hold on to are necessary in my life. This motivated me to remove all the excess, in order to experience the peace that comes with owning, keeping track of, and seeing fewer things filling every corner of our home.
Open, clear, uncluttered space is beautiful! Having less makes it so much easier to keep everything where it goes, and to notice when something is out of place. (Although, with a toddler around, it’s not exactly the epitome of tidy that I dream of one day experiencing.) Having less also helps us to see when something is not being used, and perhaps is no longer needed. We have more physical space and mental clarity to really make use of what we do want in our lives, and to remove all the excess.
Defining your goals
The first step in the Konmari method of decluttering is to clearly and specificaly visualize how you want your life to be. What do you want to spend your time doing? What kind of hobbies and activities do you want to participate in? From here, you can see what kind of decor and possessions will aid the kind of life you want to lead, and which do not fit into your desires. If you don’t yet know what it is that makes you happy and how you want your life to be, you can’t really go about making that life, can you?
While it was not mentioned in Kondo’s book, I took some time to make a vision board to help me think through what I wanted my life to look like. (Although, I find I’m now constantly revisiting what kind of life I want, and how I can alter my surroundings to pursue that.)
There were a lot of things about myself that I didn’t know I didn’t know until I started going through my items. Piece by piece, I went through each category of items to decide what “sparks joy”, and what doesn’t quite fit that bill. I realized there were different patterns of tastes in clothing and materials that made me particularly happy and comfortable wearing them. I also discovered that I had been continuously acquiring items that I didn’t truly want, but tried to make fit in my life because they were gifts, or they were items I had purchased and felt I should make use of. (You might want to check out my posts about decluttering my closet, and decluttering kids’ clothes.)
By setting aside distractions and looking at each item on it’s own, I was able to see those patterns of preference. Now, when I’m shopping or offering suggestions to others about what I might like, it seems much simpler to come home with items that truly spark joy in me. This is much preferred to coming home over and over again with items that looked great on the rack, but don’t really suit myself and my own unique style. Hooray for saving time, saving money, and never having to wear something you don’t feel amazing in!
I’m a rescuer and a hoarder. You don’t want that old broken, useless thing? Let me take it off your hands. I’m sure I can use it somehow…
That used to be me. Now, I feel much more confident saying no to items I really don’t want or need when someone offers them. Being that I have a clearer knowledge of what exactly I do own (with less to ponder and more connection to the things I have chose to keep), I am far more able to keep in mind what I have and what I need. If I am offered or am considering buying something that I already have and enjoy at my home, it’s much easier to definitively say “No, thank you. I don’t need it.”
There are two types of items that I have always had the most difficulty parting with. Things that have been given to me as gifts, and mementos that remind me of times and people who are very special to me. Again, reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up helped to retrain my brain in consideration of these items. Finally, I feel more able to let go of, not only the possessions, but of certain feelings and thoughts that surround these sentimental items.
For a more detailed look at how The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (affiliate link again) has helped me learn to let go of gifts and sentimental items, stay tuned. I plan to publish it in the next week, and when I do I will link it here.
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Disclosure: I have included Amazon affiliate links within this post, to the book this was all about. If you purchase anything through these links, I will receive a small commission (not paid for by you), which helps to keep this blog up and running. You can view my full disclosure statement here.