Why Obsession With Shrinking Your Life Is About More Than Tiny Spaces
This Japanese philosophy can teach us all to respect ourselves...and our stuff
You may not be the next candidate for the TV show Hoarders, but over the years you likely have collected many things. Most stuff you keep has sentimental value, but some just gets stashed away and forgotten.
Whether it means anything to you or not, what you end up with is clutter. A new philosophy on decluttering has emerged that also seems to provide a way to re-examine your life.
Tidying Up Your Home and Your Life
The KonMari method allows you to tidy up and surround yourself with only what truly matters. And any tips for cleaning up your house simply are important.
Based on Japanese ideologies, KonMari’s philosophy is based on cleaning up your world and adding joy by only keeping what makes you happy.
As you find items that no longer bring you joy, they are acknowledged for the service they provided and discarded, rather than left to collect dust. This practice allows you to look at yourself and your life, allowing for more mindfulness and optimism.
American households tend to have more space while Japanese houses are smaller, making it more of a challenge to store stuff. You have to be strategic about putting things away neatly in smaller spaces.
Limited space means you limit what you keep, so you need to put some thought into it. Keeping things you don’t need is wasteful, and according to the KonMari method, so is keeping things that don’t make you happy.
Letting go of items does more than tidy up your physical life. Once it is gone, you realize that you can live with less, which is very liberating. The movement is not about figuring out how to make use of small spaces, but rather showcasing what matters and removing what doesn’t.
This type of organization is taking over the world and shrinks the environmental footprints we leave behind at the same time as boosting mindfulness and overall well-being. It’s a kind of therapy that can surprise people, like writing.
Cleaning Up Once and For All
Using the KonMari method, you should theoretically be able to clean up your space and never have to do it again. By storing items according to the seasons, cleaning a little every day, and discarding one item for every new one brought into the house, your space becomes tidy.
By performing one sweeping clean out, and keeping only what brings you joy, you remove clutter and organize your home in a beneficial way. Here’s what you should do:
1. Make Room for What Matters
You need to visualize your life as a clutter-free zone, so you can determine what matters to you. A clutter-free life can range from a cleaned out closet to having open space so you can host more parties.
Once you can visualize a clutter-free life, you can discard what doesn’t belong in your image. As you mentally clear space, you can physically create the space you need.
2. Keep What Makes You Happy
As you are cleaning and clearing out, take time to look at all your items—don’t just stare at it from across the room. Pick things up and study or think about them. If they do not promote feelings of joy in your heart, then they can be discarded.
If the thought of not seeing the item again deeply saddens you, then it may be something you need to keep. One clear sign of an important item is that you want to keep it and feel connected to it regardless of what anyone else thinks.
That embarrassing memento from your childhood crush may give your friends a good laugh, but it makes you smile. You need to keep the items that bring you joy and discard what doesn’t spark emotion or brings only negative emotions.
Negative clutter can cause chaos and clutter to your mind, which contributes to health problems.
3. Don’t wait for “Someday”
One of the main reasons we keep things we don’t need is because we lie to ourselves. We tell ourselves that we will need it or use it again “someday.”
In reality, this day never comes, and something with little to no inherent value clutters up your space and your life. When your space is cluttered, so is your mind and your health.
Maybe you have some magazines piled up that you planned to use for projects or research, or perhaps you have a stockpile of makeup hidden away. If you haven’t reached out to use them recently, and can’t recall the last time you used them, they are not necessary.
A good rule to follow is: if you haven’t used it yet, you likely never will.
Because you have had them so long and carried them from place to place, you may feel some anxiety when it comes to throwing them out. This will pass. And since you never really needed them, you will forget you ever had them at all.
4. Pretend They Are Alive
It may seem strange, but imagine that the objects you are dealing with are alive. Think about how you treat your stuff every day.
Do you throw your keys on the counters? Do you toss your shoes into the corner? Do you stuff shirts and pants into drawers?
These behaviors cause a house to get messy real quick, and we can easily lose track of where we put things. You need to arrange things so you can see them and avoid clutter and chaos.
Ideally, when cleaning, take all your stuff and lay it out in front of you to see what you have. By putting them away with their own space and by mentally acknowledging what the item did for you that day, you are more likely to respect it.
A respected item is treated better and is stored more efficiently, too.
The Natural Conclusion
Your possessions are a reflection of you. Keeping unnecessary items promotes negative energy and takes up valuable space.
The KonMari method teaches us how to sort and store items to make the best use of your space. Following this method keeps your house clear and your mind clear too.
Shrinking your life is not just about fitting into a smaller space; it is about controlling your possessions, rather than letting them control you.