Japanese decluttering expert Marie Kondo’s book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing has taken Japan and Europe by storm. And it seems, it is in the US as well. What sets Ms. Kondo off from other decluterring experts is her underlying philosophy that dictates the work of “tidying”.
An article in the New York Times outlined Kondo’s two basic, somewhat radical/spiritual, tenets:
Discard everything that does not “spark joy,” after thanking the objects that are getting the heave-ho for their service and…
…do not buy organizing equipment — your home already has all the storage you need.
Here are some more thought-provoking decluttering ideas from Kondo:
“Tidying is a dialogue with oneself.”
“Clothes, like people, can relax more freely when in the company of others who are very similar in type, and therefore organizing them by category helps them feel more comfortable and secure.”
Kondo believes that putting things in order will not just transform your space, but allow you to feel more confident and give you “the energy and motivation to create the life you want. You will have the courage to move on from the negative aspects of your life; you will recognize and finish a bad relationship; you can stop feeling anxious; you can finally lose weight.”
Hmmm. Not our experience, having been neatniks long ago.
Leah McLaren, in the Globe and Mail tells of being happily like Ms. Kondo when she was young and living alone in a small space. She lost her need for “tidy” when she met a “messy man with a messy son” — in other words, LIFE — and discovered that tidiness doesn’t actually make us happier.
She cites a recent study from the University of Minnesotathat might pose a counter-argument to Kond’s decluttering mandate:
“…participants in a study on messy and clean desks were much more likely to give to charity and choose healthy snacks after working in a clean and orderly environment.
However, when the participants were asked to come up with new uses for ping-pong balls, the messy deskers were more innovative, and they also made more original choices when asked to choose between different product designs.
The conclusion of the study was that being exposed to tidiness encourages people to do what’s expected of them, whereas disorderly environments may stimulate a release from convention.
We know plenty of tidy folks who are wildly creative AND messy deskers —even hoarders — who are as well.
What’s your experience?