“Discard everything that does not bring joy.” – Marie Kondo
Spring is a season of renewal, of spring cleaning and of growth. Each year, I find myself ready to get up and get active during springtime, whether it means cleaning my room, getting rid of old items, or implementing new habits in my life.
No one is better at clearing out clutter than Marie Kondo. I’ve recently found myself following her suggestions for not just the cleanliness of my room, but my lifestyle over all.
Kondo is most famous for her tidying method that calls for only keeping things that “spark joy.” On her TV show, watchers learn how to tidy up their houses and gain a mindfulness for the space around them.
While beneficial in keeping our living spaces clean, Kondo’s method of mindfulness is one that we can also apply as we move towards renewal and growth in other parts of our lives, such as in cultivating new habits or virtues.
The true goal of the “KonMari Method” isn’t just tidying up, but to “listen to your inner voice” in order to “live the life you want.” In clearing away our old lives and only keeping the habits that we find joy in, a virtuous life suddenly becomes much more attainable.
What might be wishful thinking right now can be put into action, and with it comes the choice to live as we truly want to, not as we’re persuaded to by the world.
The first step of the KonMari Method is commitment. It seems obvious, but it’s easy to think about wanting to change without actually implementing it. By making a firm decision, whether that means telling a friend, working alongside a group or writing it down, this step is essential.
Kondo teaches that one must discard unnecessary items first, before tidying up the whole house. In the same way, we can let go of the things that we know are holding us back. These may be physical items that drive one towards selfishness, but it can just as easily be bad habits or one-time decisions.
In striving to grow in patience, first eliminate those things that are driving you towards selfishness. Aristotle describes the virtues as being found in means, without excesses and deficiencies. By eliminating these excesses or deficiencies, we can focus solely on that object in our lives that we wish to cultivate.
The KonMari Method involves tidying by category, instead of location, and following a specific order of categories. In it, Kondo says to first focus on casual items before working up to sentimental objects. If we’re tidying the easiest items first, why wouldn’t we also change our lives by starting with small habits and then moving to the larger ones?
Habits don’t change overnight. We shouldn’t expect to be able to completely change who we are and how we live right off the bat. It can only happen by starting small and working up to the big things.
Finally, one must decide what items “spark joy.” If we completely change our life but don’t find any joy in it, then the true goal of our growth has fallen short. Kondo’s method seeks to lead people to the lives they truly want through mindfulness.
We, too, can change our lives, but it must be done with intention. It’s no use implementing change if it doesn’t bring about your desired results.
Growth and change is a natural process but, in some cases, we have the choice over how it occurs and when. Kondo’s methods are a good example of how we can control this change in our lives.
As the spring season continues to bring about renewal and new life, now is the perfect time to change our own lives in an effort to live in a way that “sparks joy.”