Just like 95 per cent of the Internet, I was oddly hooked on Netflix’s Tidying Up With Marie Kondo. I want to preface this by saying that yes, different strokes for different folks. Some people flourish in organised chaos and who’s to say that that’s not OK?
After a heated discussion with Marie Kondo i’ve decided to throw myself in the trash.
— Kashana (@kashanacauley) January 7, 2019
However, tidying up my room is a weekly ritual that I hold dear. It started two years ago when I was trying to curb my spending, so instead of going out drinking, I spent my time cleaning. After all, it is free and occupies some time. The neat room is a bonus.
After some time, I realised that coming home to a tidy room after a day at work really helps to uplift my mood. And before I knew it, I had become An Adult™ who gets annoyed if I don’t get that one dedicated day a week to clean up my clutter.
But even though I tidy up my room quite regularly, I’ve always employed the “shove everything in a box” strategy. Which means I’m not really getting to the root of the clutter problem. So when I saw Marie Kondo’s show, I was super effing excited to start sparking joy.
She recommends going through your things in the following order: clothes, books, papers, komono (miscellaneous stuff), and sentimental items. Here’s how the process went for me.
Unlike the people on the show, my pile of clothes didn’t look that daunting, which was a great start. While they took days to sort out their wardrobe, I was done in a couple of hours. It was super easy at this point. Holey socks? Those do not spark joy, thank you, next. And if he no longer occupies a space in your heart, his favourite band tee shouldn’t be occupying space in your wardrobe either. Throw all that sh*t out.
As a book nerd, it’s always a little difficult for me to let go of the physical titles I have. To which, Marie Kondo offers this piece of advice: “By having these books, will it be beneficial to your life going forward?” Which means I’m definitely keeping my copy of The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck by Mark Manson (I highly recommend it!).
I’d already cut my collection down by half during CNY spring cleaning last year, but by applying her advice, I managed to significantly declutter my collection even more. I deliberated over my precious Harry Potter books for a bit, because while I no longer revisit those yellowing pages, my dad had bought those books for me and they hold tremendous sentimental value. I guess this qualifies as sparking joy, so I’m keeping them.
Surprisingly enough, this is the category that took me the longest to organise. Besides the pile of official notices and bills I let pile up over the years, papers also constitutes my writing samples that I’ve amassed since the start of my career.
Through this exercise, I’ve realised not everything is worth archiving, especially those school projects that are now meaningless when I have an actual professional portfolio.
Although this process was tedious, I really enjoyed it because the action of going through my archives lead me to reflect on my progress as a writer, and reminded me of why I chose this profession in the first place—which isn’t something that most of us are mindful of when we go through the motions of that 9-to-5 grind.
4. KOMONO (everything else)
I thought it was odd that the KonMari method prioritises clothes, books, and papers over this miscellaneous category, because this makes up the bulk of our belongings. But now I know why – it’s the easiest category to breeze through. Marie Kondo recommends getting storage boxes only after you’ve sorted through your items, but I jumped the gun and spent $50 on Muji boxes. I now have a surplus of boxes. The lesson here is, always listen to Marie Kondo.
5. SENTIMENTAL ITEMS
We all have that box where we store ticket stubs, photographs, handwritten letters, and whatever knick-knack that holds personal significance. I’ve been steadily adding to that box over the years, but I can’t remember the last time I looked through its contents.
So here’s what shocked me: While I really appreciate that people wrote me notes and letters, I realised that about half those people are no longer in my life. It broke my heart a little to put those letters in the toss pile, but the words of my ex-classmates on graduation day yonks ago no longer hold any significance. Sorry.
Also, photos of exes and ex-friends. Yikes. What the f**k was I holding onto all that bad juju for.
Here’s a tip: If you want to seriously KonMari your room, do it over the weekend, or take a couple of days off work so you can really tackle the clutter without being interrupted. If not, you might have to live with piles of stuff all over your bedroom floor, and that might make the task seem even more arduous.