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Marie Kondo’s and don’ts

My experience of the “Life-changing magic of tidying up”


by Dillan-James Carter

via Getty Images


As we enter March my mind begins to recall the new year commitments made in a drunken stupor, looking back further over the previous year. Joining a gym, giving up chocolate and tidying up: luckily, I’ve managed to keep two of them- although joining a gym doesn’t necessarily mean going there…... and chocolate does not encompass my Stroop waffles addiction. The flat, however, has gone neglected and feels like at any minute the Hoarders film crew will jump out and ask me to justify why I can’t enter the bedroom any more and why I’m sleeping on a pile of clothes in the kitchen. So, like any millennial with an issue I consulted Netflix and lo and behold: Tidying Up with Marie Kondo is there to fix my life like Gordon Ramsey does to a failing, family run hellhole in six ‘easy’ rules.


1. Commit yourself to tidying up.

This first step involved getting into the right head space for tidying and respecting the room and the objects held within it. Pick a day you’ve woken up motivated (and not kept up all night by the freshers two floors up) and have time to dedicate yourself to the task: the day with the most skippable lectures. 


2. Imagine your ideal lifestyle.

Marie goes into a kneeling position and thanks for space for the happiness it has brought her and envisions what her dream room would look like. Kneeling to appreciate the room felt much like going to the gym which made this a two birds one stone task, though trying to respect the room was challenging as it just reminded me of the glut of jobs the landlord promised to do from the broken shower rail to the peeling wallpaper. 


3. Finish discarding first.

This rule is a warning against the relapse of just keeping everything you own and storing it under beds and the backs of closets. You need to decide what to discard and what to keep in order to know how you shall store it.  Knowing this filled my heart with dread as one of my most beloved cleaning past times were shoving as much crap into a drawers and cupboards, this however does end up with finding shower gel in the kitchen and a Theresa May Halloween costume under the couch cushions.


4. Tidy by category, not by location and 5. Follow the right order.

Kondo argues that tidying room by room ends up in just shuffling around possessions and not actually tiding up. Instead, you must tidy by category as this gives an accurate idea of what you own and what you have been neglecting in your collection. To do this she highlights the correct order of tidying:

Clothes, books, papers, komono (miscellany), and sentimental items.

Creating piles of each category did feel very constructive; seeing the mounds of clothes put much into perspective about how much I’ve changed yet trying to hold on to- hoodies and chinos that hadn’t seen the light since the last Harry Potter film.


6. Ask yourself if it ‘sparks joy’.

We come now to Kondo’s catchphrase “spark joy” which wants you to think about whether the stuff you own still makes you happy. You need to hold the object as if it were a baby you were ‘coochie cooing’ and then, if you feel warm and light - it’s a keeper. Please note this is not appropriate to do to find out whether you like your children. Empowering as it was to get rid of things that didn’t spark joy- £50 textbooks and granny Carter’s previous Christmas gifts definitely didn’t make me feel fuzzy, but the idea of chucking them out seemed equally unbearable.


Overall, my dive into the organisational heaven of Marie Kondo has led to my flat looking like I just moved in: cheap but tidy. With such a clear space I have noticed a difference in my mood and the inner peace of a clean life. But whether the ‘Kondofication’ will last year doesn’t seem to be sparking joy.

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