If your home is lacking in space or your cupboards are full to the brim with stuff, you may want to listen to the Japanese decluttering expert Marie Kondo.
Her methods to trim down the amount of possessions we have in our homes have been gaining popularity ever since her bestselling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up was published in 2014. Now she has earned herself even more fans around the world with her new Netflix series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.
But how does Kondo suggest we create a happy, harmonious and happy home? And are there any ways to make the process of parting with your possessions a little less painful?
The main principle of Kondo’s KonMari technique is that you should only keep objects if they spark joy. The idea is that you take time to think about everything in your home and let go of everything which doesn’t make you feel happy. Visualise how you want your home to be in 2019 so you can then work towards that goal. Try not to feel sad about the things you are discarding, whether you are throwing them away, donating them to charity or selling them. Cherish the memories you have of the objects and then let them go. If there are items you have kept simply for sentimental reasons, Kondo suggests taking a photograph of them to remember them.
When most people start trying to declutter, they concentrate on sorting out their homes a room at a time. Kondo suggests that we should actually organise our items according to what type of thing they are instead. With the KonMari method there is also a particular order the categories should be tackled: clothing, books, paperwork, ‘Komono’ – a catch-all term for miscellaneous items and then finally things which are of sentimental value. Kondo advises collecting together everything you have of a certain type and then considering each item individually, starting by tackling clothes first. If you have a lot of stuff, you may want to break these categories down into smaller, more manageable chunks. For example, look at tops one day and trousers the next.
One of Kondo’s top tips is to start the day by making your bed. This may seem obvious but this simple act will help you feel organised and make your bedroom, where the bed is the main focus, look tidier. Keep the area around your sinks clear of items so they are easy to clean and keep your drawers and cupboards tidy and organised so you are using the space to its maximum potential. Empty your handbag every evening so it doesn’t become full of clutter too. Make sure everything has a place so you are not tempted to just put things down. For example, create a specific place to put your keys every time you come into the house.
If you are sorting through a category of items, get rid of the things you no longer want before you put everything away again. When you have fewer things, it will be easier to find space for them. If you are really struggling to let go of some items but need the space in your home, you could put things into self storage until you are ready to deal with them. This is also a good idea for objects you can’t decide on. If things have been in storage for a while and you find you don’t miss them, you may realise you are able to get rid of them after all. Alternatively, you may find that you actually do need certain items and you can then work out how to incorporate them back into your home. You don’t need to have boxes and boxes of items to use self storage. Andrew Porter Limited offer a Pay Per Item service for just £1.80 per week. This service includes boxes and bulky items so is an affordable and convenient solution if you need somewhere safe to keep some of your belongings while you declutter.