A couple of years ago, when The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo was all the rage, I scoffed at it without having read it, largely because of what I thought was her impossible advice for tidying books (maintain a library of 30 books maximum, and keep them in a closet). However, now that I’ve actually read the book and the follow-up volume Spark Joy, I see that this is not what she says; she has 30 books and keeps them in a closet, but that doesn’t mean it’s what everyone should do. What is important is to keep only possessions that “spark joy,” a seemingly vague, highly individual criterion that, according to her, can have startling effects upon one’s entire life.
My possessions could definitely use some tidying up, so I decided to embark on her program and see where it takes me. I’m not 100% convinced of all her assertions (I don’t think socks actually feel pain when you ball them up, and I don’t think it’s a cardinal sin to have unread books on the shelves), but I am excited about the prospect of becoming more conscious about what I own and paring it down to what’s really essential to me. Ultimately, it’s an exercise in knowing and valuing one’s self, in not letting external pressures get in the way of recognizing what one really wants.
One of Kondo’s main mantras is “tidy by category, not by room,” so I started with her first category, clothes, and this worked quite brilliantly. I enjoyed identifying which garments “sparked joy” and feeling free to abandon the rest, even if I’d been hanging onto them for years out of a sense of obligation or guilt. My wardrobe now makes me feel much lighter and happier. And yes, I folded my socks instead of balling them up! I like how they look in the drawer, regardless of what their feelings may be.
The next category is books, and this may be more challenging, but I’m motivated to give it a try. I’ll share more details about that phase when I get to it.
Have you tried the “KonMari” method? What do you think about it?