YOU’VE HEARD the name, you’ve read the book, and you’ve been witness to countless testimonies of life and home transformation in equal measure. We’re talking about ultra-inspiring Japanese organization guru Marie Kondo, of course… but you (and your perfectly stacked sweaters) already knew that.
Marie’s KonMari Method has inspired a cult following with rightful merit: her internationally bestselling books — The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Spark Joy, and her most recent illustrated follow-up — have struck a chord in the wellness community by simplifying the process of simplifying, de-cluttering and caring-for our most intimate environments.
Tailing the launch of her latest educational endeavor, an online course to master the KonMari Method, we asked Marie to clear up some common confusions about her revolutionary approach. Read on, click through and get ready to have your world (and/or closet) rocked…
Misunderstanding #1: The KonMari Method is the same as minimalism.
The KonMari Method is often confounded with minimalism. While there are similarities in the two beliefs, there are distinct characteristics that differentiate the two. Fundamentally, the KonMari Method shares the minimalist belief that individuals can improve the quality of their lives by taking inventory of their belongings. However, the KonMari Method does not suggest that the only way that this may be achieved is through owning fewer things. Instead, the KonMari Method encourages individuals to reflect on whether each of their belongings “sparks joy” for them and contributes to their ideal lifestyles. Additionally, individuals thank their belongings for their service before discarding them and develop a sense of mindfulness and optimism as a result. If minimalism is a lifestyle that sparks joy for others, of course I am not opposed to it; in the same way, if having a few more items sparks joy for someone, I also believe that is completely fine.
Misunderstanding #2: The KonMari Method is about storing things well.
Tidying and storing are distinct from one another. Tidying is about reflecting on what sparks joy and keeping only the things that stand this test, while storing is about setting designated places for selected items. Therefore, in the KonMari Method, the correct way of tidying is to finish discarding first and then think about storage only after you have completed this step. Once you are done discarding, it’s easy to decide where things should go because your possessions will have been reduced to a third or even quarter of what you started out with. Conversely, no matter how hard you tidy and no matter how effective the storage method, if you start storing before you have eliminated excess, you will rebound. While storing is part of the process, the KonMari Method advises to forget about storage until you have finished choosing what sparks joy.
Misunderstanding #3: I am supposed to throw out everything, even if it is practical and useful.
There is a deep difference between indiscriminately discarding things and mindfully choosing what sparks joy for you. The KonMari Method tries to shift the traditional perspective on tidying by focusing on what to keep, instead of what to throw out. In this way, tidying is not simply about organizing your house. It is a once-in-a-lifetime project of facing your sense of values and making your life a happier one. There is no need to throw out things that are practical and help your life run smoothly – in the case that they don’t initially spark joy, I advise taking a moment to thank them for the work they do to support you. Thanking objects may feel weird at first, but by doing so, you will come out with a renewed sense of appreciation for the things that surround you.