Tag Archives: mariekondo

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Extreme Decluttering

I recommend this piece on a family that had to do extreme decluttering because of a move. There’s lots of good advice in the piece, and worth reading if you are feeling the need to declutter. You may not feel you need to do it in an extreme way, but does this sound familiar?

Decluttering was an item on my to-do list for years. One I kept putting off.

Yep. Never a fun thing to do. But in their case, they had added pressure:

… we decided to sell our house and downsize to an apartment less than half the size. Then, getting rid of stuff became priority number one. It was an essential step in selling our home fast and for top dollar and critical for surviving a long distance move on a shoestring budget.

When I brought in professional movers to estimate our long distance move, I was shocked by estimates that we’d have 90+ boxes of stuff to move, which did not include existing storage totes. My first thought was How could four people possibly need that much stuff? The short answer is we didn’t, and I made it my mission to get that box number down.

In fact, not only did we want less stuff but we also wanted to move it ourselves on just one rental moving truck.

Needless to say, once you have such goals, extreme decluttering becomes mandatory.

We started extreme decluttering. We ended up moving across the country with one 26 ft. moving truck that was only about three-quarters of the way full. And no, we didn’t get rid of everything. We kept enough to furnish our new apartment fully.

With half of our stuff gone, we were able to downsize from a 4500 sq ft home to a 1768 sq ft townhouse-style apartment. Now we are living comfortably in 61% less space.

A good piece. Recommended, regardless of whether or not you are downsizing.

(Bold emphasis added by me. Image from here.)

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A few thoughts on Marie Kondo

Marie Kondo and her method of cleaning up are very hot now, likely due to her TV show. This hotness sparked a number of discussions about her, such as this: “Tokimeku” Means So Much More Than “Spark Joy” in Japanese | Apartment Therapy. It also sparked other, more extreme discussions, such as how it is racist to not account for the deeper Shinto meaning in her works.

I read her book when it first came out and I admired it. I didn’t agree with all of it, but I liked her approach to life and the things we own. I got the Shinto aspect of the book, but I don’t recall that  it was emphasized, so criticizing people of missing that who are unaware of Shintoism is a ridiculous criticism.

There have been shows like Marie Kondo on before. It makes sense. We are driven in North American culture to accumulate, and shows like hers provide us with an antidote to this. When Marie Kondo is forgotten, another home organizer will come along.

I have read more extreme versions of Marie Kondo, like “Goodbye, Things”, which promotes a very minimal life style. I bought it the way I buy other books that have subjects to aspire to but will never achieve. I guess others have too.

There is something to be said for a minimalist lifestyle, a maximalist life style, and something in between. In the end, what counts is that you have positive feelings towards the place you inhabit, however much you have.

One thing Marie Kondo misses is the notion of a room as a workshop. If you have a hobby, be it cooking or woodworking or gardening or reading, you likely have a room where all your tools and supplies are. If you are good at your hobby, you likely have alot of them. That makes sense. It doesn’t make sense to get rid of them just because you want to have less things. Have what you need to do the job when you want to. You could still trim back: do you really need 10 cutting boards or 3 screwdrivers that are exactly the same? But otherwise keep the tools you need or may need.

I think Marie Kondo is great because she encourages us to live better with some simple guidelines. Even if you don’t follow them all, you will live better if you consider her message and try to apply it. In the end you’ll have a better home, and you will have a better idea of what you consider a better home.

Image from the NYTimes article on her, here.