The Marie Kondo method: does it work?

The Marie Kondo method: does it work?

Do you feel like you’re surrounded by clutter or constantly tidying, only to find you’re soon in the same mess you were in before? It’s a common complaint. In fact, Steve Howard, Head of Sustainability at Ikea recently announced that Western consumers have hit their peak for home furnishings. Coming from a company that is trying to selling furniture to us, that’s quite a statement! Our houses are often so full of stuff, that there’s nowhere to put it all. Move to a bigger house, and your stuff expands to fill it.

There could be a variety of reasons, perhaps you’re guilty of splurging at the shops or perhaps your frugal mind-set has you thinking “this will come in useful”, so you hold on to more than you need, cluttering your house and sapping your energy.

If you’re looking to consume less and experience more, ridding yourself of the unnecessary stuff you have gathered over the years is a good place to start.

For August, I set myself a challenge to rid the house of 31 things over 31 days. Rather than think I knew best, I decided to get some books out of the library. Or rather a book, since they were rather light on the topic of getting rid of stuff from your house. Before it arrived in, I was already ahead of the 1 item per day average, but Marie Kondo’s the life changing magic of tidying has catapulted my efforts.

The success of the book is down to its simplicity. In essence, it teaches you how to look at your possessions differently so that you can make the right decision about whether to keep them or not.

For example, 2 or 3 times a year, I weed out items of my wardrobe to take to a charity shop or fabric recycling. I was not expecting to see significant results when assessing which clothes to keep, as I felt I kept on top of it. I was shocked when I got all my tops out onto the bed to find I had 60 (excluding jumpers and cardigans!), and even more shocked to find myself getting rid of 27 of them!

You can read about the book and how to go about applying the KonMarie method on forums on Money Saving Expert as well as watching youtube videos, but I can honestly say that it is only by reading the book that I was really able to let so much stuff go.

I’m still working through the categories, but life seems already simpler and easier to keep on top of, having gotten rid of over 100 things in a single month AND  2 bin bags full of rubbish.

Although I’d borrowed the book with the intention of saving money, and have already extended the due date, I’ve now ordered it so that I can continue following the principles step by step.

In the long term, I expect to own less stuff that needs to be stored and maintained, buy less stuff that needs to be stored and maintained, and have more money and time to enjoy life, whether its hurtling down a zip wire, pampering myself in a spa, or simply not panicking at the prospect of an impromptu get together with friends because of the state of my lounge!

Buying a book teaching you how to declutter may seem counterintuitive, but in life as with money, you have to speculate to accumulate!

Have you tried the Life Changing Magic of tidying and how has it changed your life?

2 thoughts on “The Marie Kondo method: does it work?

  1. I’m intrigued, the book and its results sound amazing! I’m trying to declutter now, so I’ve just checked some of the reviews online – seems the key question to ask is ‘does this item bring me joy’? Is this right, any other tips? Also, any tips for getting people you live with motivated to get rid of their clutter too? I get held up looking at the money wasted on my clutter and trying to sell it to make myself feel better, did you manage to sell stuff, or mostly just pleased to be rid of it? Thanks!

    1. Hi Sarah,

      The crux of it is exactly that; ‘Does this spark joy’. I’d tried applying this before borrowing the book and had some success, but the repetition is really useful. Not only that, but the book focusses on categories. In the past, I’d focus on a drawer or cupboard. When you get everything out in one place, you realise how much you own and that’s really powerful in helping you get rid of stuff.

      I sold a few bits and bobs at CEX before I’d really started the book, but I generally gave most of it to charity shops… the book helps get over the guilt of wasted money, and even gifts you’ve been given but don’t really use.

      There’s a lot of focus on putting things in the bin, but in Japan, I beleive the waste and recycling sorting is better than in the UK, so I’ve been careful not to just put things in the bin unless I’ve had to!

      Hope this helps, and sorry for the delay getting back to you!

      Edited to add: I forgot to answer your question about living with other clutterers. I’ve not yet reached this point, but Marie Kondo hypothesises that some of your frustration at others’ clutter is misplaced annoyance with yourself, so when your own things are ordered, you will naturally feel more positive. You might also find that other people in the house follow your lead!

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