I have personally been through Kon Mari’s 2 books most recent books on tidying and de-cluttering. I can honestly say that I did really value these books and I do find lots of good things about them. I did actually go through the entire book step by step and followed her methods. However, I can attest to the fact that clutter crept back into my home. At first I felt a lot of guilt and shame. Maybe I had not done everything correctly? Where did I go wrong? Did I fail? Why do I continually need to de-clutter/clear my home? What’s really going on here on a deeper level? What problems am I not dealing with? What am I resisting?
These questions really helped me because it really made me see the deeper personal relationship we have with our things and how it connects to our homes and ourselves. Recently I have begun de-cluttering in my home again, but I do it in a completely different way. Here are some thoughts on Kon Mari’s method and ways that I disagree with her through my own experience.
There is no such thing as a rebound: In Kon Mari’s book she claims that if you go through her method you will never need to do a big de-cluttering session again. She calls needing to do a major de-cluttering session a “rebound.” If we happen to have a need to do more de-cluttering it does not mean that we have a disease that came back. It does not mean that we have failed. It does mean that we have more exploring to do in our homes, to discover what our things mean to us and what our relationships with our things represent in our lives. This is a continual process of discovery, letting go and learning. I believe that exploring your home is a habit that you can develop and one that can happen daily or weekly. It is not a “one and done” process.
Most of us don’t have the time to fold our clothes like origami on a regular basis: I will freely admit that when I first went through her method I was in love with trying to fold my clothes very neatly and spent some time rolling things up, trying to get them to look a certain way in the drawers. Although I do think there is beauty in that, it is not a realistic assumption that we will spend the time and effort to do that sort of folding very often, especially if we have laundry for more than 1 person in our household. I believe that we all have a way of organizing our clothes that works for us. As long as we can reasonably find things that are clean and neat to wear every day, that is the most important thing.
I believe that each individual person will know what areas they are ready to de-clutter rather than insisting that we go through categories in a specific order. I know that Kon Mari has her reasoning as to why she feels we must go through clothing, then books, then papers, then miscellaneous/sentimental items, I personally have discovered that sometimes I am not ready to go in that order. I believe you need to have a curiosity about your things and your spaces and really want to explore then before you will be ready to let go of some items in your home. I do agree that sentimental items are often the last ones that we are able to sort, and I freely admit that there are some that I keep going back and forth about getting rid of (like journals and letters). However, I feel that each individual has an intuition that they should trust in relation to what they are ready for.
I feel that we need to ask more questions of ourselves before we de-clutter and during our de-cluttering. I think that asking “Does it spark joy” is helpful, but only to a certain extent. More questions to ask, such as “Will this help my future self?” or “Is this an item I need for my new career path/transition?” I’m not suggesting we need to ask ourselves countless questions about each item, but we can have them in mind before we start. This I believe will help us to truly let go of items that are no longer serving us in our current lives.
There are no “rules.” Kon Mari has many rules and methods in her books about trying to use only built-in storage, ways to store clothes, etc. I think that especially for a creative person such as myself who loves to explore different art mediums and many crafts it can be limiting to have rules and methods.Rules are so very useful, but there are so many situations in our home where we feel guilt and shame because our method of storage doesn’t fit the rules.I know that I tried my best to follow the rules and strategies in her book, but some of those just didn’t work for me. I believe that as a facilitator in helping people clear/de-clutter their homes that my clients have the best intuition of what will work for them and for their families. I can give people some guidelines, questions and ideas, but often they come up with amazing solutions that I never would have thought of. That is the power of co-creation.
There is no be all-end all one-time transformation of your home. Often when we see de-cluttering shows and read de-cluttering books, we see this amazing, life-changing, perfect transformation. Every problem seems to be solved! The magic of TV gives us the illusion of a very simple, easy transformation and that it will stay that way forever, static and perfect, frozen in time. However, our homes are not static. They are ever-changing, they are flowing and fluid. We must be kind to ourselves and realize that daily habits are more powerful than a one-time transformation. If we don’t develop the habit of exploring our home, then a big transformation will soon fade and we will feel as if we have failed, but we have never failed. We have only learned, grown as a person and need to become curious about our relationship to our things on a daily basis.
Here’s a question I’d love to hear the answer to from you on in the comments below:
Have you tried de-cluttering methods/rules before? How did they work /not work for you?
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Thank you so much!