Marie Kondo is the reason I first began doing this. I’d long leaned minimalist, but boxing off even socks and t-shirts within the same sections, hadn’t entered my mind until seeing her talks, and until her book found its way into the hands of friends.
I never bought the book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” myself, because you could easily find an outline of her strategies online. Even so, I was a tad obsessive for a while. 🙂 I even watched the Japanese TV movie based on the book, Jinsei ga Tokimeku Katazuke no Maho, which was nothing profound, but was sweet. The same could be said of the new Netflix show.
It is easy to make fun of people getting excited about what may seem like a given in life, but the reason is that there is SO MUCH bang for buck, SO MUST restfulness, in making space. To be organized feels like greeting a clean slate every time, feels like unearthing dormant potential. THAT is what “sparks joy” – which she over and over again describes as her central objective.
In this, realizing that there is joy in spaciousness bears similarity to meditation. The Shinto inspired way she ‘greets the home’ of those she works with, is about tuning in and appreciation.
She isn’t judgmental about what anyone chooses to keep, or what they value in their lifestyle. Her method isn’t that straight forward. In fact, over time I am probably LESS minimalist due to her techniques, because my minimalism was often short-sighted, my habit of ruthlessly parting with things encouraged a sort of binge/purge mentality that honestly was not healthy.
I craved space and control over my surroundings, and keeping very few things did accomplish that surge of confidence in the short term: “If I lose everything, I’ll adapt and manage just fine. See?!”
An article I linked to above points to people concerned that Marie Kondo’s philosophy fills landfills and simply gives money to Goodwill Industries, which does have suspect practices. I think in the larger picture it helps people make changes that will make them far less wasteful going forward, because they’ll be far more mindful of how precious and sacred space is, and how much more one can do, when organized around that principle.
Which brings me to the wisdom I have to offer:
With everyone discovering her ideas anew, I’ve had the chance to think about which ideas I kept or lost over time (the last 4 years or so), and here’s what I see: I’ve kept almost every idea, and even those I lost, I’ve kept in some variation.
Really, the only idea I loosened up with a lot, was how to organize socks!
I found that if I began exercising every day, I would accumulate lots of socks, but that they didn’t last long, going through more wear. There was too much variation for the system to work nicely. In the end, I left my socks to find where they seem to belong at any given point, thrown in with work out clothes, or travel clothes, or, >gasp< wherever.
My socks (some of which are pictured below with George the Dachshund) and I like a lot of freedom.