In preparing to move out and live on my own, I’m becoming increasingly aware of all the clutter I have been collecting since childhood. A lot of the things in my room don’t represent the person I’ve become.
It’s become hard to find the things I need, and often important things are left in places where they can be destroyed by animals or clumsy humans. College life is also hectic, which makes it hard find time to create a system that works. That’s why I became interested in the KonMari method. So far, in the process of following Marie Kondo’s advice, I’ve learned a lot about what it means to be tidy and organized, and identify the relationship with my belongings.
1. Vertical storage.
My dresser was a disaster of semi-folded T shirts and mismatched socks. It was a wonder how anything fit inside it. After changing the way I folded clothes and stacking them like they were on a bookshelf rather than in a drawer, choosing an outfit took half the time. I was also able to find the shirt I wanted to wear instead of settling for whatever random one I picked up first.
2. Toothbrushes can spark joy.
The thing Marie Kondo is best known for is her philosophy that we should only keep the objects that spark joy in us. When I first heard this, I was skeptical. How could something useful but boring, like a toothbrush or a mop, spark any joy?
Then I realized that even though the objects themselves weren’t particularly exciting, they did make my life easier. My toothbrush allows me to keep my teeth healthy so I don’t get painful cavities, and my mop allows me to have a clean floor. Thinking of objects in this way made me more grateful for what I have.
3. Objects have energy.
Marie Kondo worked as a shrine maiden, and like many Japanese people, she believes that inanimate objects have a sort of spirits. This belief is not exclusive to Japan. Even in the U.S., children will turn dolls and stuffed animals into heroes, adventurers, or even drama-filled families. Adults will name their cars and rant at their computers and printers.
While they may not literally be alive, objects absorb and reflect energy, and that has an effect on our mental state. By thinking about how we’re affected by our surroundings, we can make better informed decisions on what we choose to surround ourselves with.
4. An organized house means an organized mind.
I often find it hard to focus on what I need to do and I’m prone to procrastination. In the process of tidying my living space, I find it easier to do what needs to get done because I don’t lose things as often. I’m not surrounded by clutter, so it’s not occupying my head space either.
Everything around me reflects who I am and what I want to do with my life, and there’s room to grow rather than being weighed down by my past. Of course, I’m keeping many things from my past, but only the things that matter.
5. You always have room for what you really need.
We all have limited space, both in our homes and in our minds, and it can feel like there’s too much stuff and we’ll never find a place for it all. But by focusing on the things that are most important to us and getting rid of the excess, even the smallest room will never feel cluttered.