Tidying using the KonMari Method is sweeping the planet with folks discarding with wild abandon! Marie 'KonMari' Kondo is a Japanese organizing consultant and her book the life-changing magic of tidying up contains so many gems about the stuff that accumulates around us and how to tidy properly that you really should read it for yourself!
But, what does all tidying have to do with permaculture?
My thinking is:
- If we are storing items that we never use then we are preventing others from using those items. That’s not so nice from a community perspective.
- Do we really intend to just accumulate and store stuff with no intention of using it? Seems wasteful from an embodied energy perspective. Wouldn't be nice to make a fewer things as a society by using the all up the crap we've already manufactured? Maybe swap for items we really do need?!
- If our spaces are so congested that we cannot find our tools or equipment then that’s not efficient use of our time (or our space). And if we buy the same item more than once because we cannot find something then we are wasting money.
- And if we are so focused on better design in our gardens and communities, why not better design of how we manage our items in our homes?
The backbone of the KonMari Method is: gather items by category, discard, and then store.
Using the KonMari Method you do not move from room to room, tossing a couple items here and there into a donation box, and cleaning a bit as you go.
The KonMari method requires you to determine with each and every one of your items if it 'sparks joy'. No joy, no keep. There's no middle ground. There's no 'I'm thinking about'. There's no 'I'll do those later'. Right now, quickly decide whether or not an item sparks joy. Now, you might be thinking 'yeah, right, that pot is going to spark joy or not'. It was interesting as I moved through categories with the seemingly mundane that some items that sparked joy and others were quickly and without further consideration (or agony or moving from spot to spot) discarded.
Starting with clothing and moving on to books, papers, komono (everything else that isn't a memento), and lastly mementos, items are sorted by discard or 'sparks joy'. After discarding the items that spark joy are stored.
Seems so simple that it should take like 10 minutes. But, it is actually time consuming and makes quite a mess.
I spent days and days discarding. We ended up with more than 60 bags and boxes of discarded items. Discard meant donate or yard sale in our case.
Along the way I did encounter hurdles and road blocks, I found it helpful to keep in mind that:
- If I am clinging onto an item that doesn't spark joy, one of two things are in play: I am fearful of the future or clinging onto the past.
- Question my thinking: 'Really, really you are going to read, use...whatever that thing, really!?'
- A gift or card served its purpose when it was given to me. It was given to express thanks or love or care. Job done. No need to keep it.
- Don't get sidetracked with mementos or items in categories other than the one that you are working on. Just make place to keep all the other items (by category) until you are working on that category. This was useful when I emptied closets and cabinets that had items from more than one category.
- Clutter is a result of a) it's too hard to put away or b) it's not clear where it belongs. Simple enough. Designate clear, consolidated places for items.
- Yes, discard all paper. Only one exception: legal and tax papers you are required to retain.
- Don't attempt to KonMari someone else! KonMari for you and if others jump on board and want to tidy--then fine. But, don't force KonMari on others. Reveal the value and wonderfulness by example!
- Oh, yeah, one last thing. Items that you discard are not items that you then heave hoe over to your children's home, your parent's home, your friend's home, or storage. If there is something that you truly believe someone else would like--ask. I have this XYZ, is it something that you want and can use? If not, then no hurt feelings, discard it!
Yes, the KonMari Method is revolutionary! Make an event of tidying and tidy thoroughly just once and be done with clutter forever.
- Special thanks to Dale, Nia, Kiki, and Steph for all the love and support!
- Aaron Glasson, Permaculture Velocity logo
- Music: peaceOut by airtone, digccmixter, licensed under Creative Commons 3.0
- And to all those podcasters out there sharing good information on podcasting for those of us just getting going with this podcast thing! Thank you!