“Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest. By doing this, you can reset your life and embark on a new lifestyle.”
We repeatedly declutter our homes because we can’t seem to get rid of enough of our things and then we accumulate more. Getting rid of our stuff means we’ll have to deal with emotions like guilt, shame, or worry. We’ve either spent money, or feel too attached. How can we declutter our homes without feeling guilty?
First, be open to the many advantages of decluttering. Instead of feeling pressure to throw things away, try to see how your items have given you joy at one time in your life. At the same time, be aware of the possibility that not all of them bring you joy now.
Netflix released the Tidying Up With Marie Kondo series this past January. Her phenomenal approach to letting go of your things is rooted in gratitude.
By confronting your possessions and determining which ones “spark joy” and which ones don’t, you are not only tidying – but also feeling grateful for how each item brought you joy at one time in your life. In addition, you will have a well- organized closet with clothes that fit.
For example, If your dress brings you a happy memory, but it no longer fits, you are not pressured to eliminate it. Instead Kondo’s method is to confirm how you feel about it. You may or may not need a too tight dress to help you remember an event in your life. If it truly does bring you joy, then by all means – treasure it. You might hang it on your wall to decorate your closet. Otherwise, your gratitude for having experienced the joy from your dress helps you to let it go.
Here are 10 Ways Marie Kondo’s method of decluttering promotes gratitude (not guilt):
1. Your home will be left with only “joyful” things
Thoroughly tidying with the Konmari method will change the way you think about wanting more things. When you are focused on just keeping what brings you joy, you become more grateful for what you already have. This makes it easier to part with the items that don’t bring you joy.
You not only learn that what you have is just enough, but also recognize a sense of abundance and thankfulness when you look around your home and only see “joyful” things.
All of the items you keep will have a permanent home so that you can enjoy them. You will find that many of the stored items from the garage, cellar and attic are out of sight because they do not bring you joy, as they aren’t displayed for you to see.
2. Living in the present becomes easier
“The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past.” Don’t feel guilty for parting with old pictures from your high school or college years where you remember struggles. Thank your yoga mat for its service because now you are exercising outdoors. The dresses for “somebody’s” wedding served you once, but not in your future. When you see yourself in front of the mirror in one of them, you’ll know what I mean 🙂
3. You are organizing not only your home, but yourself
The Konmari method is about discarding and sorting your items. Once you have paired away all of your excess items, you may put away what remains. This thoughtful attention to your things helps you to see what fits in your life. The world you will create will have absolutely everything around you that sparks joy. You are, after all, tidying up your own life.
4. Your purchases going forward will be more deliberate
You’ve honed in on your simple lifestyle and the need to shop for things (that you will later regret) dissipates. Your sense of what brings you joy is clear and you will know if a new item is something that contributes to your lifestyle going forward. You will also feel a sense of fulfillment and thankfulness for the lifestyle you have chosen. It will become clearer to you how you want to spend your time.
5. You gain a better understanding of what you don’t like
When confronting your items to assess whether or not they spark joy, you are also grateful that you have a better understanding of what items you don’t like. The pressure to discard is replaced with an inviting feeling of gratitude and relief and you are no longer obligated to keep them because of guilt.
6. Thanking your items for their service really does make you feel grateful
It may seem silly to actually thank an inanimate object for its service before letting it go, but when you actually do this, something magical happens. You feel peace and gratitude with your once loved shirt’s disposal, and you really mean it.
7. It fundamentally changes your relationship with your stuff
We want to simplify our lives so we have more time to do what we love. Stuff matters less to us and we spend less time looking for it, buying it, and storing it. When we do bring stuff into our homes, we will check in with our values, lifestyle and gut feelings first.
For years I complained that I didn’t have enough cabinet space in my kitchen. But after “Konmari-ing” it I got rid of extra pots, pans, glasses, mugs, utensils and a bunch of other junk. I hate to admit my that my husband was right (aren’t we always right?) but there is enough room for all of my stuff. After 20 years, we will be re-doing the kitchen. But instead of more cabinets, I would like more windows 🙂
8. Tidying with the Konmari Method actually lets you have feelings about your stuff
You celebrate your feelings about your stuff, instead of just purging to get rid of the dead weight in your life. If something no longer works for you, closing the door on it gently allows you to feel grateful for having had the experience with it. You never feel guilt or pressure to throw things away.
9. You will appreciate even the mundane objects you have
Your favorite spatula has helped you serve hundreds of meals to your family. The others take up space in the drawer so you can’t find anything else. You’ll feel grateful for having 1 or 2 favorite spatulas, which allows you to let go of the others. Thank them for their service and give them to someone who can use them. You always have the option to buy an item if you need it (instead of having too many).
Learning to be thankful for your favorite cooking utensils, containers, and other utilitarian objects will shift your perspective to one of having enough. Having the things you need definitely makes your life happier.
10. Your life will never be the same again
The Konmari process of tidying should not be done incrementally, but thoroughly and all at once. Marie Kondo suggests not letting your “tidying festival” ( as she calls it) last for more than 6 months in total. You may think that even a few months is a long time to spend on tidying, but it is not a long time in your entire life.
Your life will never be the same again. You will also never have to tidy again. Kondo states, “It’s already tidy.” You only have what you love and everything is efficiently organized.
Begin your tidying now, because emotions like guilt, shame and worry have no place when you have gratitude. You will appreciate how all of your things have made a difference in your life.
What have you been keeping for years that are not helping you to live in the present? What do you want to do, but keep putting off because you’re too busy?