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My personal takeaways from Marie Kundo’s home tidying method

A new life is what Marie Kondo’s method aims to achieve

By Stella YanPublished 5 months ago 4 min read
My personal takeaways from Marie Kundo’s home tidying method
Photo by Sarah Brown on Unsplash

Marie Kondo is a world-famous consultant offering advice on tidying homes.

If you are not familiar with her, I recommend you watch the Netflix reality series “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo”, there you will see families with different needs benefit from her can-do spirit and her tidying method.

In the beginning, I did not expect much from the series. But after watching family after family, in different ages and different stages of life, seeking advice from Marie, I slowly realized that at some point every person will find it hard to keep up with tidying - may it be the arrival of a newborn, getting a new job, or even the sudden loss of a loved one. Marie’s method is unique because it not only takes care of the household items but the hearts and minds of its users, to me that’s what makes it powerful.

Here are my personal takeaways from Marie’s method.

Takeaway 1 - Tidying a home involves tidying our hearts and minds

Before Marie started helping a client, she always insisted on doing a silent ritual to formally greet the client’s house. She would kneel down, stay silent for a minute or two, then finally bow. This ritual has a Japanese Shinto culture root I myself feel unfamiliar with, but still, it has inspired me.

I remembered in one episode of “Tidying Up” a lady found it hard to go through her late husband’s belongings. When she finally did it, she did so with tears running down her face. In the end, tidying up her home became a big part of her moving forward because it brought the comfort and closure that she badly needed. This story is a perfect reminder that home tidying is not a process dealing with dead objects only but real people and their hearts too. Our home is the place where we find peace and joy, and it is where our hearts belong. Many people have been procrastinating tidying up their homes because they find that hard on the psychological level, not the physical level.

Seeing Marie doing a ritual totally brings me to the right perspective - home tidying connects to something much wider and deeper than we think. Before we start, we should prime our brains by telling ourselves, it is not simply our clothes, books, papers, or kitchen utensils that need decluttering, but our hearts, our attitudes, and our mindset too.

Takeaway 2 - We must assign a personal value to our belongings before tidying them

One essence of Marie’s method is to keep only the items that spark joy in us.

Some may find her criteria very simple, some may find it very perplexing. Joy is obviously a very subjective feeling and it is also very abstract and cannot be defined clearly. Some may prefer a plain criterion like throwing away everything you have not used in two years, that way we only have to talk to our brain, not our heart, as to whether to keep a certain item or not.

When was the last time you talked to your heart? Very often we allow our busy lives to crowd our hearts to the point we can no longer hear our hearts talk to us. 'You used to enjoy playing guitar that’s why the old guitar is sitting in the garage, yet, can it bring joy to you today?' One cannot deal with this kind of question without talking to your heart.

If we follow Marie’s method, we would have an opportunity to reflect on our past priorities, interests, and goals, and get prepared to move on either to the next level or to something else. We would keep only items that we treasure most, including memories, so our goals will stay in clear focus and at the same time in harmony with our past. To many, such decluttering of thoughts is much needed for too long.

Takeaway 3 - Tidying up our home is a journey of personal growth

I have seen other TV shows showcasing companies that offer on-demand services to tidy up your homes. Families leave their homes in the morning, come back in the evening, and WOW - the organizing team has done a wonderful job in tidying up the kitchen!

In contrast, Marie offers consultation only, her clients have to declutter their homes themselves and the whole process can easily take days, if not weeks, to finish.

As mentioned before, Marie's method involves asking ourselves what sparks joy in our hearts, it is a process of assigning a personal value to each of our possessions, and therefore no one else can do it for us. Marie’s method goes deep into people’s psychological needs, helps them re-discover themselves, and live their lives with a better perspective. I think people who have benefited from her method would agree that tidying up with her is a journey of personal growth, in contrast to doing chores as people may think. It is the people, not the household items, that lie at the core of Marie’s method.

"The process of assessing how you feel about the things you own, identifying those that have fulfilled their purpose, expressing your gratitude, and bidding them farewell, is really about examining your inner self, a rite of passage to a new life.” - Marie Kondo

A new life is what Marie Kondo’s method aims to achieve.


About the Creator

Stella Yan

PhD in Physics. A wife and mother living in the US. Writes about science, religion, and self-reflection.

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