08 Oct The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying
I’m still plugging away on The Power of Habit but listening to a Judge John Hodgman episode last week nudged me to start Kondo’s book anyway. Three sittings later I was finished reading about the KonMari Method and was highly motivated to start the process.
You can google Marie Kondo, KonMari, and The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying and find all the YouTube videos, blog testimonials, and reviews you could want as well as copies of the book to purchase. The interwebs can give you all the info you need if you’re interested in changing your life through tidying.
I’m only one step into the process myself (which KonMari says can take 6 months or more) having just gone through the first category of clothing: tops. The photo above is my pile of every top I own on my yoga room floor. Finishing this first step has me hooked, and I’m looking forward to the next steps and all the change the process will bring.
Like Kondo, I’ve always been fascinated with organization, storage solutions, and tidying up. The KonMari method is the most yogic method I’ve discovered. Going through the method gives one the opportunity to address yogic principles like saucha (cleanliness) and aparigraha (resisting the urge to grasp and hold) as well as raga (attachment) and even our relationship to the past and future and choosing to be present in the moment.
Kondo instructs us to move through categories (e.g., clothing, books, papers) rather than rooms, gathering up every instance of that category in one place, and touching each item we own to see if it sparks joy or not. And if it doesn’t spark joy, out it goes…
Here’s my pile of joy-inducing tops, after the purge:
And the pile of things to donate:
So, I kept a little less than half of my tops. I was shocked at how easy the process was, how clearly I felt joy (or not) as held each item, and how easy it was to let go of the items that were not sparking joy, thanking them for their service as I put them in the donate pile. I can’t wait to go through the next subcategory of clothes, bottoms, and watch my possession shrink down to only the jeans, pants, and skirts that I love.
And once you sort, then it’s time to fold the KonMari way. Everything gets folded so that it will stand vertically and can be filed on your drawers for easy viewing. When an item can stand alone vertically, Kondo calls this the sweet spot. I know I’m a virgo-neat-freak-weirdo, but I found folding this way to be deeply satisfying.
Everything I like about Marie Kondo’s philosophy can be summed up in this passage from the book:
During the selection process, if you come across something that does not spark joy but that you just can’t bring yourself to throw away, stop a moment and ask yourself, ‘Am I having trouble getting rid of this because of an attachment to the past or because of fear for the future?’ Ask this for every one of these items. As you do so, you’ll begin to see a pattern in your ownership of things, a pattern that falls into one of three categories: attachment to the past, desire for stability in the future or a combination of both. It’s important to understand your ownership pattern because it is an expression of the values that guide your life. The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life. Attachment to the past and fears concerning the future govern not only the way you select the things you own but represent the criteria by which you make choices in every aspect of your life, including your relationships with people and your job.
So, just as I suspected, to paraphrase Sri Aurobindo’s famous phrase: all life is tidying…