Whether you’ve just gone sale agreed or you’re preparing your home for viewings, purging your property of extraneous clutter is an absolute must. Chances are you have a mountain of stuff that can be cleared out before the move, making life that little bit easier for you. And who better to guide us through it, only the guru of tidying, Marie Kondo?
Who the hell is Kondo, you ask? Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of her. Named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people, the organising consultant and godmother of de-cluttering has changed the lives of many people the world over. Her seminal book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing has been published in over 41 regions and countries with over 5 million copies sold worldwide – it’s safe to say Kondo knows her stuff. She adopts a two pronged approach – discard and decide where to store. We’ve decoded the KonMari method so you don’t have to in these six easy steps.
- Commit to the Clean
Be evangelical about the process. You know you’re going to like the outcome so put a ring on it. Kondo’s is a tried-and-tested method that has worked for millions so trust in it. The KonMari approach is not simply a set of rules on how to sort, organize and put things away, she says, it’s a guide for creating order and becoming a tidy person. Pop your KonMari cherry and invite a lifetime of order into your home. Don’t mind if I do.
- Envision your Ideal Lifestyle
If you’re moving house, imagine yourself in the new home. Clarify in your mind’s eye why you want to de-clutter. Identify the type of life you want to lead when you are in your new home and go get it. Purging your house of unnecessary items can not only leave more space physically, it can also be emotionally freeing. Kondo’s method is rooted in the Japanese tradition of respect and she advocates showing it to every small thing around us. While she imbues her method with spirituality like thanking items for their value before discarding them, you don’t have to anthropomorphize your belongings – just exercise letting go of something that doesn’t serve you anymore and you’ll be surprised how much easier it is to move house and start the way you mean to continue. Visualising your new structured life can help you gain clarity, perspective and determination.
- Tidy by Category, not by Room
It can be very tempting when moving to tackle the big clear-out room by room. Surely that’s the right way to do it? Wrong. According to Marie Kondo, it’s far more effective to tidy by category. She recommends starting with clothes, books, documents and then to operate on a barometer of emotionally loaded items, started from the least sentimental. Make sure you don’t start by tidying your mementos – this is detrimental and can place a cloud over the whole activity. Tidying by getting rid of one unnecessary item at a time or cleaning little by little will have no lasting effect on your life, says Kondo and it’s imperative to be meticulous with the method in order to have a dramatic change on one’s lifestyle and perspective. It seems to have worked for millions so who are we to argue.
- Make Tidying a Special Event, not a Daily Chore
Kondo recommends setting aside dedicated time to tidy, otherwise you’ll be plugging away at it for the rest of your life. Eh, no thanks. It is crucial to tackle this job within a short period of time while your spirits are uplifted. Set some time aside and mark it off in the calendar. Write a plan in your diary, prepare for a marathon tidying session and stick it out to the bitter end. Kondo’s method boasts an unparalleled success rate where anyone who has had home visits from her has never had to re-hire. It’s essential that you discard everything from one category in one sitting, she says, otherwise little things will magically reappear from the charity bag and you’ll end up going back to square one.
- Banish the Family to the Sin Bin
In her formative years, Kondo adopted stealth tactics when it came to tidying her family’s items. She first began by identifying items that hadn’t been used in years judging by the dirt, outdated design or dust and banishing them to the very back of the wardrobe. If they remained untouched for weeks and months at a time, she would begin binning. Now, she realises there’s a much softer approach. Quietly working away at discarding your own excess actually rubs off on the whole family when they see the results before their eyes. Plus, it’s a lot less aggressive. However, when you are focused on clearing your own space, you should do it alone. Family can attach sentimental value to something that was previously neutral to you and you end up keeping far more than you need. Parents get nostalgic, kids insist on something being their favourite toy and so on. If you are determined to do this, do it for yourself and take full responsibility for it.
- Ask ‘Does it Spark Joy?’
Moving house means you’re pressing the reset button on your life. This is the time when you get to hit refresh and create the new lifestyle you want. Whether it’s a lamp you bought at a thrift fair or an artist’s print that never really fit with the rest of the décor, now is the time to ask ‘does this item spark joy?’ If the answer is no, get rid of it. It’s as simple as that. Donate, consign or bin – it has no room in your life anymore other than taking up space. Don’t sort sentimental objects until the very end and be ruthless – your new house can be a clean slate if you make it.
Moving house is an exciting time where the horizon is blindingly bright. Ideally, you’ll opt to surround yourself with quality over quantity in your new home. Use your intuition when it comes to discarding things and remember – they’re only things! Expect sheer bliss and unadulterated liberation! We dare you.
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