When it comes to home (and office) decorating and organizing decisions, what goes is as essential as what stays. Discarding can involve some difficult choices, stress, even emotional resistance. But giving, donating, recycling, and throwing away are integral to transforming your space.
Everyone has their own system for discarding, tidying, and organizing––and some work better than others.
To help with my latest spring cleaning session, I sought help from some experts. One source of inspiration was Marie Kondo’s New York Times bestselling book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.”
The 30-year-old Japanese author works full time as a professional tidier who employes her own eponymous “KonMari” method with her clients. If followed correctly, Kondo claims, the method prevents the need for any future organizing. Kondo offers a one-tidy-up-stop over the course of six months. Apparently, she a three-month waiting list of new clients.
Some of her instructions are common sense, but others provide unconventional food for thought. For example, she advises organizing by category instead of room, as well as clearing out all unwanted items before tidying. The KonMari bottom line: surround yourself with items that bring joy to your life, and discard the rest. Focus on love, positivity, and fulfillment, and release anything because it is an energy drain.
On the other hand, Dominique Browning––senior director of Moms Clean Air Force and blogger for SlowLoveLife.com––wrote a New York Times article titled “Let’s Celebrate the Art of Clutter.” She takes a different approach in the clutter debate but offers a similar takeaway. Browning argues for the value of accumulating clutter, but also underscores the important role of love in the process.
She writes, “It is time to celebrate the gentle art of clutter. We live, and we pick up things along the way: the detritus of adventure; the vessels of mealtimes; the books and music of a life of the mind; the pleasures of our daily romps through the senses.”
Browning not only celebrates the accumulation of things while alive, but she takes the art of clutter one step further and insists that her children adopt it all after she has died. These material things, she claims, are infused with a lifetime of meaning, even for the next generation.
One of these philosophies may resonate with you more than the other. Most likely fall somewhere in the middle, between the two. Whatever your approach is, consider your material possessions and think about how they make you feel when cleaning, tidying, organizing, decorating. The answers may surprise (and even delight) you.
Tip: Find organizing techniques that resonate with you. Prioritize items that elicit feelings of love and joy even more than thoughts of function and practicality.