Choosing to live with less

According to Marie Kondo, the gorgeous little Japanese tidying-up guru, if we pick something up that we own, hold it in our hands and it does not immediately spark joy, it is time to let it go. As in immediately discard!

While she does not describe herself as a minimalist, Marie Kondo is a firm believer that you should discard everything that you do not absolutely love and have a specific purpose for. At first this seems daunting, but once you’ve made some progress, you do start to realise just how liberating it is to let go of things.

Embracing minimalism has been a journey for me, with many detours along the way. I was intrigued by the documentary ‘Minimalism’ on Netflix which follows the lives of two young guys, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, who give up their corporate jobs, homes and belongings to pursue a more meaningful, simple and uncluttered lifestyle. The first time I watched it I thought they were complete nutters! Some of their comments stayed with me though and I decided to give it a try, albeit in small steps.

30 things in 30 days

I took up the ‘30 things on 30 days’ challenge where you team up with a friend and commit to donating, tossing or selling 1 item each day for 30 days in a row. I absolutely loved it, so much so that I ended up clearing out way more than 1 item a day. An unexpected joy was the happy smiles on strangers’ faces when dropping off glossy magazines at a hairdresser or crates of clothing and household goods at my local Hospice store.

Something was missing though. Although I was getting rid of stuff, I found I would soon be replacing them with new purchases. I realized I needed to clarify what exactly I wanted to achieve through the process of reducing my stuff.

Spark Joy

This is where Marie Kondo entered my life and I immediately just adored her. I read both her ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying’ and ‘Spark Joy’ books and decided to follow her basic 6 steps process to tidying which includes:

  1. Make a firm commitment to tidying up and decluttering your life.
  2. Create a visual image of what your ideal life would look like.
  3. Finish discarding first, before you pack the rest away else you won’t finish.
  4. Tidy by category, not by location.
  5. Follow this set order of tidying: first clothes, then books, papers, miscellaneous stuff and finally sentimentals things like photos.
  6. Ask yourself if something sparks joy and brings a smile to your face, or does it make you feel heavy and unhappy?


The major difference in Marie Kondo’s approach is that you don’t just go through your home and randomly look for things to get rid of, but rather that you go through your possessions category by category. Within each category you then work through all the items in one session, keeping only the things that bring you joy, and the rest you either sell, give away or discard.

It’s now six months later and I am much happier in my space. I have way less trinkets, I impulse shop less often and my clothing cupboards are colour-coded and filled with pretty boxes with items folded and stored the Konmarie way.

Are you interested in a more minimalist lifestyle? Do you have any tips to share? Pop them in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you.

2 Comments

  1. Amelda Grieve August 6, 2018 at 8:01 pm

    Great article, thank you Cecile! Well written and to the point, so much so that you have inspired me to start “minimilizing” (is there even such a word?). I shall look out for Marie Kondo, love the idea of keeping what sparks joy!

    Reply
  2. Robyn August 15, 2018 at 10:50 am

    Having just moved house, I recently went through the decluttering process and also loved it. “Does it give me joy?” came into play a lot but I confess to still hanging onto “I might need this some day” items!

    Reply

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