The so-called art of tidying up doesn’t have much to do with storage solutions or clearing out small spaces every day. At least, not according to Japanese decluttering-guru Marie Kondo. I listened to an audio version of her book ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ (check out below) this weekend. One of her remarks struck a chord with me. She said: “Getting your affairs in order – which is what she calls a thorough decluttering session – is a rite of passage to a new life”. If you do this, you make room for a life as you always thought it could be.
Visualize your perfect life
I’ve been decluttering for a couple of years now, and even though it has helped me a lot in terms of getting a clearer head and getting more space, I’ve never experienced the extreme transformative experience as Marie Kondo describes it. And I think I know why. She says that decluttering is not about getting rid of X items per month or day, but it is about visualizing your perfect life. What would you want from life?
Kondo gave an example of a woman who wanted a ‘feminine lifestyle and living environment’, where feminine meant a nice bedroom, where she could relax after taking a bath, doing some yoga, and so on. Her description included a couple of other things, that had nothing to do with tidying up. A long story short: she used Marie’s method, got her affairs in order an actually achieved that dream she longed for.
What is my perfect life?
I noticed that I was particularly triggered by the notion that cleaning up and decluttering has nothing to do with getting rid of things, and everything with creating your perfect life. Peeling away the superfluous layers, so to speak, to get to the core. Kondo also says that if you do it right, you only have to do it once. If you do it right, it’s like a rite of passage to your best life.
If you declutter the right way, focussing on what you want to gain, instead of what you want to get rid of, tidying up serves as a rite of passage
So what do I want? I must confess: I never had such big ideas when thinking about decluttering. But that might also be the reason it never stuck until – hopefully – now.
If I think about it: I want to be surrounded by space, and the people and things I love. To feel healthy and energized, and to have a sense of freedom everywhere I go. Including the attic 😉 If I look around, I want to feel joy.
So that is why I’ll take on the first step in Marie’s approach: cleaning out my closet. Or better yet: getting all my clothes to one place (which is a challenge to start with), touch, feel and experience everything and then decide if it makes me happy or not. And if it still makes me happy. I think that the biggest challenge for me would be to get rid of the things that no longer serve me, without thinking about how wasteful that is or how I could have sold that to make some extra cash. However, if it gets me moving along my journey, I guess it will all be worth it!
You can watch the audio version of this book here; I love to do this while I’m driving. That’s efficient learning!