JA­PAN’S DE­CLUT­TER­ING GURU COMES CLEAN

Calgary Herald - - NEW CONDOS - JURA KONCIUS

Ja­panese de­clut­ter­ing diva Marie Kondo’s 2011 book, The LifeChang­ing Magic of Tidy­ing Up, has sold mil­lions of copies.

Her idea of keep­ing items only if they “spark joy ” has in­spired many to toss moun­tains of house­hold clut­ter.

Her KonMari method has six ba­sic rules:

Com­mit your­self to tidy­ing up. Imag­ine your ideal life­style. Fin­ish dis­card­ing first. Tidy by cat­e­gory, not by lo­ca­tion. Fol­low the right or­der.

Ask your­self if it sparks joy. Kondo is well aware of our com­plex re­la­tion­ship with stuff. In a re­cent chat, a reader in­quired about “How many PJs do you think women should have. Sum­mer and win­ter?”

Kondo’s re­sponse: “The KonMari Method does not set a nu­mer­i­cal limit on the num­ber of items you should own. Rather, it is about learn­ing what items spark joy for you. For me per­son­ally, I own 15 sets of py­ja­mas in to­tal — both sum­mer and win­ter. Clearly py­ja­mas spark joy for me!”

But many of us aren’t so happy with the state of our clos­ets, kitchens and garages. There are many rea­sons some peo­ple can’t seem to get a grip on the tow­er­ing piles of things in their lives.

Ac­cord­ing to Kondo, four ob­sta­cles keep some of us buried in clut­ter. She of­fers some ad­vice on how to over­come those ob­sta­cles:

SPACE

Don’t blame the size of your home for your lack of or­ga­ni­za­tion. Kondo said she suc­cess­fully or­ga­nizes homes in Ja­pan, where a 1,000-square-foot (93-squareme­tre) home is con­sid­ered large. Her ad­vice: “When or­ga­niz­ing a small house, it is im­por­tant to store things in the same cat­e­gory to­gether — don’t scat­ter them in dif­fer­ent places around the house. To take full ad­van­tage of the stor­age sys­tems you do have — such as the pantry or closet — make sure you store ev­ery­thing ver­ti­cally. This will help you save space.”

SEN­TI­MEN­TAL­ITY

Kondo’s main ad­vice for deal­ing with sen­ti­men­tal items — say, things that re­mind you of a de­ceased loved one — is to tidy them up only af­ter you have or­ga­nized the less emo­tional cat­e­gories. So start with cloth­ing, books and pa­pers. Kondo’s ad­vice: “If you en­counter any item in one of th­ese cat­e­gories that brings back a mem­ory ... set it aside as part of the sen­ti­men­tal cat­e­gory. By tidy­ing non-sen­ti­men­tal items first, you will give your­self time to sort through your thoughts and emo­tions be­fore go­ing through the sen­ti­men­tal items you have set aside.”

And those trea­sures that make you happy ev­ery time you look at them? “Keep them proudly,” she said.

GUILT

If your par­ents give you gifts you don’t love, how do you get rid of them with­out feel­ing guilty? Kondo wrote that ideally, you should feel joy­ful when you re­ceive a gift. Af­ter you ex­press grat­i­tude for it, it’s OK to get rid of it.

MONEY

You don’t need to have funds set aside for buy­ing or­ga­ni­za­tional ac­ces­sories, Kondo said. She be­lieves you don’t need to buy any­thing to get started tidy­ing up; just have a do­na­tion bag at the ready.

SETH WENIG/THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

With her book, The Life-Chang­ing Magic of Tidy­ing Up: The Ja­panese Art of De­clut­ter­ing and Or­ga­niz­ing, Marie Kondo set off a global de­clut­ter­ing craze.

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