Now is the best time of the year to declutter your life
There are better things to do in Spring than spring-clean. Summer, and November in particular, is the right time to right-size your home, and streamline your life.
There are better things to do in Spring than spring-clean. Summer, and November in particular, is the right time to right-size your home, and streamline your life
‘Novemberitis’ or ‘November Madness’ is a common condition that affects people worldwide as the end of the year draws nearer.
But there is hope. First of all, summer is here. And South Africans at least have the advantage of suffering through this global affliction in warm weather.
One way to get your mind back on track is decluttering and refreshing your living space, using the popular KonMari method of Marie Kondo, a Japanese organising consultant and author.
The main reason her style differs to others is that it focuses not on what to throw out, but on what to keep.
In “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”, she suggests that in order to declutter effectively, you need to ask yourself if the item ‘sparks joy’. If it doesn’t, it’s time for it to go. This is quite opposite to the typical organising methods of letting go of things that are of little or no use and that only hold sentimental value.
I know that I feel so much more relaxed and productive once I get around to just cleaning my space, but the superficial cleaning always takes precedence over really getting through the nitty gritty.
Sure, all of my magazines and books are put away nicely on shelves, clothes hung up or in drawers, but some of those items have only rarely seen the light of day.
I like that this method suggests dividing your items into categories, starting with the least sentimental items like clothes (although I’m sure I hold some emotional attachment to my clothing) and then moving on to items with more (actual) sentimental value like books and lastly, photographs (I’m nowhere near ready for this category).
Kondo applies the Shinto concept that all things have souls and suggests looking at inanimate objects as living beings. She guides you to hold the item firmly in your hands and pay close attention to how your body responds to it (apparently readers have even decluttered themselves of things like relationships during this process). You will feel a rush of energy in your body when something does spark joy, and heaviness when it doesn’t.
If an object does have sentimental value but doesn’t need to be kept, she suggests thanking it for the joy it brought to your life, but then letting it go. If it doesn’t spark joy but is necessary, find a place where it will be easily found.
The main take-away from her method is to surround yourself with things that make you happy in order to create a peaceful mind. It involves embarking on each task completely absorbed in that task and enjoying the process. She even says a prayer before entering a client’s home before she starts to organise their spaces.
This act of simplifying mindfully has already created a much more relaxing and happy place for me – physically and spiritually.
If I can’t decide if something should go or not, I remember the expression ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’ and my reluctance disappears instantly.
Instead of drudging along through November waiting for the holidays to come, why not use this time to clear your space and make room for what actually matters in your life? Let’s start next year feeling less cluttered in both mind and spirit, surrounded by things and people we really love and need!