Tidy home, tidy mind says the popular mantra, and de-cluttering specialist Marie Kondo couldn't agree more. In her New York Times number one bestseller The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering & Organising she offers a practical and sometimes surprising approach to organising the home based on principles of feng shui, mindfulness and meditation. Meanwhile, Marlynn Wei, in her Urban Survival blog debunks a handful of tidying myths using Kondo’s book as the inspiration...
Myth#1 - It’s just the space that I live in, nothing more
Living spaces are a reflection of one’s mind, mood and the care we take of ourselves. In turn, a cluttered space can exacerbate a frenetic mind and generate a sense of unease. You likely work less effectively or are more distracted if your work space is cluttered. Building a calm and grounding space in your home and at work builds a strong foundation to centre yourself in general. Kondo observes: “your real life begins after putting your house in order.”
Myth#2 - There is no specific order to tidying
Kondo’s method outlines a clear and distinct order of tidying. Her method parallels exposure therapy methods for those with hoarding or anxiety disorders – start with categories of objects that are less stressful to discard and end with the most challenging. She strongly discourages starting with categories of objects that have sentimental attachment because it is the most challenging to part with.
Myth# Whether I should keep an object depends on how potentially useful it is
Kondo’s standard for whether to discard an object is not tied with a formulaic calculation of its current, past or future use. She focuses on one’s intuitive emotional connection to the object – the sense of joy that it brings to our lives. Her method is aligned with the central tenets of the positive psychology of goal setting, which focuses on highlighting strengths over weaknesses: “we should be choosing what we want to keep, not what we want to get rid of.” Connecting with feelings of hope and optimism and keeping objects that spark joy is more effective than an approach based on getting rid of negative objects.