Spark Joy In Your Life By Tidying Up
At some point in our lives, each of us will take a look at our closets, storage rooms, or anywhere else in the house and think, "I have too much stuff."
For many of us, this inspires the desire to sort through everything we have and get rid of what we don't need. Some may be able to actually get through the whole house, but generally, we end up getting discouraged when we find that we just can't part with any of our stuff.
That's where Marie Kondo comes in.
Marie Kondo is a tidying expert who has been working as a tidying consultant since she was just 19 years old. Since then, she has become a best-selling author with her #1 book titled The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. She is also the founder of KonMarie Media, Inc., a lifestyle brand that provides services, products, and content that help you organize your home and simplify your life.
In January 2019, Marie aired her own Netflix original series, Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, and it is taking the world by storm. In this show, Marie visits the homes of people around the world to help them declutter. But more than anything, her goal is to "spark joy in the world through cleaning." For Marie, it's about keeping only the things that spark joy in your heart, and getting rid of the rest.
However, for many of Marie's clients, the decluttering process sparks more than just joy -- it sparks tears. Depending on how attached you are to your things, decluttering your home can be an insanely difficult thing to do. But for those who can push through it and let go, they quickly discover the benefits of living a tidy life.
What Tidying Up Can Do For You
As Marie Kondo understands, having a tidy and minimalist lifestyle can add a lot to your life, and there are numerous studies to prove it. Some of the greatest benefits you can have from a tidy home and life include:
- A greater sense of accomplishment and self-worth: Tidying up your home is what psychologist Michael Tompkins calls a "mastery activity". In our lives, we participate in a lost of "pleasant activities", such as spending time with family and friends, or watching a movie. Mastery activities, however, are the things that "may not be as fun in the moment but elevate us with an enormous sense of accomplishment once we're done." This sense of accomplishment can do wonders for our feelings of self-worth.
- Greater relaxation, better sleep, and less stress: When our environments are cleaner, it is easier for us to relax. Studies show that clutter also causes higher levels of stress. Home should be a place we can describe as "restful", "rejuvenating", and "restorative", and an organized, decluttered home can be just that. Plus, when you're more relaxed, you are more likely to sleep better through the night.
- Better physical and mental health: Many studies show that living in a cleaner home can increase your overall physical health. Those who live in cleaner homes are more active and less tired, and they are at a lower risk of developing heart disease. In addition to improving your physical health, a tidy home can reduce your chances of becoming depressed.
- Greater focus: Having a cluttered home makes it difficult to focus your attention on a task. This is simply because there is not as much visual clutter around us that can clutter up our brains. With a tidy space, you can not only focus on tasks but increase your chances of accomplishing them and thus feel better about yourself.
None of us are Marie Kondo or some other tidying expert, but that doesn't mean we can't reach our tidying goals. It may seem overwhelming, but with Marie Kondo and other experts as guides, you may be surprised at what you will accomplish. Just try following these simple tips:
- Commit yourself to tidying up. You won't be able to make it to the end if you don't commit yourself to it in the beginning.
- Imagine your ideal life. Picturing the way you want your home to look will help motivate you throughout the tidying process.
- Finish discarding first. When we start to get rid of things, we may feel guilty or sentimental. According to Marie Kondo, if it is something that does not spark joy, then it is time to let go. "Express your gratitude, and say goodbye."
- Tidy by category, not by location. Most of us sort through our things by moving room to room. Marie Kondo suggests tidying by category. For example, start with all of the clothes, then the books, photos, and papers, miscellaneous items, and finally the sentimental items.
- Create a good cleaning environment. This includes having good lighting, fun and uplifting music, healthy snacks, plenty of water, and breaks. You don't want to overwhelm yourself! It's also nice to have someone with you who will support you in your efforts to tidy up.
- Allow a stopping point. If you have a lot of stuff to sort through, it's important that you allow yourself a chance to stop for the day and wait to continue. If you are not mentally or physically engaged in the tidying process, it will not be as effective.
- Ask yourself, "Does it spark joy?" This is Marie Kondo's key to tidying up. She suggests holding each item and asking yourself this question. If it does spark joy, keep it. If it doesn't, it's time to let go.
Tidying up your home can prove to bring a lot of positive changes in your life. In the words of Marie Kondo, "From the moment you start tidying, you will be compelled to reset your life. As a result, your life will start to change."
Looking for more cleaning tips? Check out Marie Kondo's blog.
Ravitz, Jessica. "Marie Kondo's tidying isn't just about appearances. There's a psychological and spiritual upside, too". CNN. 18 January 2019. https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/18/health/marie-kondo-tidying-up-benefits/index.html
Ryback, Ralph, M.D. "The Powerful Psychology Behind Cleanliness". Psychology Today. 11 July 2016. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-truisms-wellness/201607/the-powerful-psychology-behind-cleanliness