Many of our fine friends have suggested the international bestseller The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and Brian and I have dutifully read it. There are a few tips and tricks within the pages of Marie Kondo's book, but overall no earth shattering secrets were revealed. We really feel as though the minimalist community online has been such a great resource, but do appreciate what we learned from Kondo. Here are our favorite quotes and how we intend to implement them (or how we've already started living by their rule).
"The true purpose of a present is to be received. Presents are not "things" but a means for conveying someone's feelings."Quite some time ago Brian impressed on me the idea that instead of things as gifts he would rather get a piece of paper with a promise to spend time together. So instead of asking for material gifts we now include a short list that includes things we can do with the people we love. Most recent 'thing to do' gift received: River cruise (ooohh aaahhh). Most recent 'thing to do' gift given: Twin's game (yay!), they lost (boo!).
"No matter how wonderful things used to be, we cannot live in the past. The joy and excitement we feel here and now are more important."
This, I feel, is a great motivator when it comes to tackling our precious mementos. How do you decide which family heirlooms to keep, which to give up, which to pass on to your children (and their children and their children's children) and which to pass on to Goodwill? Seriously. how do you decide?
"Does this spark joy?"
My coworker Kirsten gave me in to this simple piece of advice earlier this year and it really works well, especially when it comes to clothes. Does this make me happy? If it doesn't, then why do you have it?
"By handling each sentimental item and deciding what to discard, you process the past."Kondo tends to anthropomorphize a lot (CONFESSION: this word is not part of my vocabulary, I looked it up, you can look it up here) and this quote lends itself to the more sensitive side of her KonMari method, however it is true, and it does work. Don't let sentimental items, papers especially, sit in storage, go through them and decide whether or not you can let them go. Kondo says this will help to process the past and then we can let go of clutter and move on to clutter-free!
Interestingly enough I stumbled upon this blog post by Leo Babauta that touches on the same topics. He says that the objects that make up our clutter are crutches that we depend on for various reasons; for excitement, for holding on to the past, for love and for security. If I take anything away from Kondo and from Babauta it's that I should redefine what happiness is, what it looks like, and what evokes it. And the way I want it to look has nothing to do with a closet full of shoes or a bookshelf full of doodads. It has everything to do with the people around me and the things we do together.
Brian and Josey
We got our copy from the library, but if you feel like you need your own copy click here for Kondo's website.