The KonMari Method

Goal #7: Simplify

Like any world-class procrastinator worth his salt, I began my process of eliminating clutter by reading about how to eliminate clutter. For days. All the while no clutter elimination actually happened, but hey, it is important to have a game plan.

Oddly enough, it proved to be extremely helpful, because as I was poring over simple living and minimalist blogs and whatnot, I came across this book.

The author, Marie Kondo, runs a business in Tokyo solely focused on transforming the houses (and possibly, the lives) of her clients. She calls her approach the "KonMari" method - a play on her first and last names - and she promises that once you adopt it, you will never revert to clutter ever again. Yes it sounds like an infomercial, and the title is very cheesy, but I bought it anyway.

Two days later I found myself hauling eight giant garbage bags down the stairs and into the trash bins. My sister caught a glimpse of my closet and was incredulous. "Did you throw away all your clothes?!?" she asked. The question remains if I shall, indeed, never return to my cluttered life again, but from where I am right now I am extremely pleased.

Start by discarding, all at once, intensely and completely. 
The KonMari method offers a refreshing contrast in a world of gradual change and baby steps: it advocates a balls-to-the-wall, one-time big-time affair. It's also done by category, instead of by room or location. Everything - everything - is gathered and spread out on the floor. Nothing goes back to storage until the discarding process has taken its course - only then are we allowed to even think about where to store our things.
We should be choosing what we want to keep, not what we want to get rid of.
Part of what makes decluttering so hard is the focus on the throwing away of things. Parting with objects that we have been enamoured with at some point is always painful. Always. And so instead, we focus on what we keep. And there is one question, and one question only.
Does this spark joy?
This is the central tenet of the whole approach, and the thought process behind it is exhaustively discussed in the book. There is great deal of anthropomorphising going on, but I'd be lying if I say I don't do it myself (who doesn't talk to their gadgets?). Every single object must be held in the hands and evaluated, and those that are eventually discarded should be thanked for fulfilling their purpose.
Thank you, Pub Crawl T-shirt, for staying with me as I wandered about drunkenly in the streets of Prague and taught strangers the steps to the Macarena. 
Thank you, beige blazer, for teaching me to stay away from blazers. And beige. 

I'm not gonna lie - it was tedious, and for a while there it seemed like it would never end. It took me half a day to clear out my already pared down closet because I kept taking breaks. But the more I persevered, the easier it became.

What's left of my closet, post-purge

There were a few hiccups here and there; I accidentally threw away the charger for my Sonicare toothbrush and I was forced to buy a new one. But for the most part I am more than pleased. It's liberating, finally getting a grasp of everything I own and knowing where every single thing is stored - no more random crap in a random drawer in every single cabinet!

Having said that, I still love this box. 
Today I finished organising the very last drawer in the house. It's immensely satisfying, but at the same time I know there is still a lot of editing to be had - some things I'm not entirely happy with but I keep because I need them (the cheese grater we bought out of desperation, for example). One day, I will reach what the book refers to as the "click-point": when you realise that you own everything you need to be happy, and there is no need for anything more. I don't know when it would happen, but it is something I excitedly look forward to.
Can you truthfully say that you treasure something buried so deeply in a closet or drawer that you have forgotten its existence?

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