Marie Kondo encourages a one-time organising event completed methodically and lovingly in no more than six months. Photograph: AP

Unclutter your life to spark joy!

Over the past year I have become buried under paper, books, and boxes; you can hardly see the desk or the floor in my office and it is becoming an uncomfortable place to be. I can never find anything and I am overwhelmed by the amount of stuff I have accumulated. So as part of my summer cleanse, I have decided it is time to tackle the clutter! I also challenge all of you if you have an area in your environment whether it be your closet, your office, your car, your garage, your computer (especially your email); take action today and start to unclutter your life.

The Cambridge dictionary defines declutter as to remove things you do not need from a place, in order to make it more pleasant and more useful. Decluttering is a way of detoxifying your environment and get an increased sense of well-being. Excessive clutter is often a symptom and a cause of stress and can affect every aspect of your life. Clutter can distract you, weigh you down, generate a feeling of unease and inability to concentrate. If there is a lot of clutter in your life try not to get overwhelmed and procrastinate.

How to Declutter

In her book “Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up” Marie Kondo, dispels most of the common advice on tidying up such as doing a small amount a day and not striving for the perfect space, rather encouraging you to change your mind-set so that you are not just going through the motions but establishing a habit of tidiness that will last a lifetime and bring joy and empowerment. Her 6 basic rules are:

  • Commit to tidying up
  • Imagine / visualise your ideal lifestyle
  • Finish discarding first, rather than trying to store things that you should recycle, or throw out
  • Tidy by category and not location, for example if you are trying to sort through your books, going through the whole house at once allows you to get a clear indication of how many books you have
  • Follow the right order, i.e. clothes, books, papers, miscellaneous and finally sentimental items, starting with these can waste a lot of time especially if they are old photographs which can be very distracting
  • Ask yourself if it sparks joy, you are not choosing what to discard but rather what to keep. Once you are left with only those items which bring you joy, put every item in a place where it’s visible, accessible, and easy to grab and then put back

So basically Kondo’s “KonMari” Method, means doing a purge of everything in one shot as completely as possible. Starting by category with clothes first, through to sentimental items, and you are left surrounded by things that you love and bring joy. Kondo says tidying up your home this way should be done once and completed rather than turned into a never-ending project. This sounds like a wonderful environment to live in, so this weekend I intent to start with my closet and work my way through the rest, …. gosh I feel rather excited!