As a young girl fascinated with tidying, I thought the goal was to get rid of as many things as possible. This single-minded focus on discarding had a negative impact on my health – one day I actually fainted from all the stress!
Coming to, I had an aha moment: Tidying is about what you want to keep in your life, not what you want to eliminate.
This epiphany inspired what is the bedrock of the KonMari Method™ – choosing to keep what sparks joy.
Surround Yourself With Objects You Love
Many people have confused my tidying method with minimalism, but it’s quite different. Minimalism advocates living with less; the KonMari Method™ encourages living among items you truly cherish.
The first step in my tidying method is to imagine your ideal lifestyle. For some, this vision might be to surround yourself with the bare essentials; for others, it could mean living in a home teeming with beloved art, books, collections and heirlooms.
Joy is personal. Each individual’s ideal life – and space – will look different from the next. If minimalism is a lifestyle that sparks joy for someone, I encourage that; in the same way, if someone has determined that many items in their life spark joy, that’s okay, too!
“Many people have confused my tidying method with minimalism, but it’s quite different. Minimalism advocates living with less; the KonMari Method™ encourages living among items you truly cherish.”
Let Go With Gratitude
One of the reasons the KonMari Method™ is associated with minimalism is because many people discover while tidying that they’ve been living with items they no longer love – or never did. And they suddenly feel empowered to let them go with gratitude.
I’ve witnessed this phenomenon firsthand throughout my career – but never more powerfully than after the launch of my Netflix show, “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo.” The photos of towering piles of clothes and bags of stuff ready to be donated made it clear that many people had been living with items that didn’t support their vision of an ideal lifestyle. A few news outlets even reported on the uptick of donations across the country after the show came out!
Of course, I was amazed and delighted to see so many people applying the KonMari Method™ – it was a dream come true! But all of the focus on what people were discarding obscured the most important part of the method: choosing what to keep.
Cherish the Items You Choose to Keep
It’s important to keep items you love with confidence – and to truly cherish them. From shoes and bags to electronics and toothbrushes, our belongings work hard for us. They are worthy of respect and gratitude at all times – not just when we’re saying goodbye to them.
Make Space for What You Love
Clutter obscures what’s most important. Discarding that which doesn’t support your ideal lifestyle creates space for treasured possessions to truly shine – and leaves room for future joy-sparking additions. One of the reasons I suggest packing lightly is to make sure you can bring back joy-sparking souvenirs from your travels – as long as you have room for it back home.