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Updated: Nov 3, 2020

Dusting is an act. Decluttering is an art. Minimalist living has swept the nation, and the world, with a desire for freedom. This feeling extends beyond the home; releasing negative energy in the form of material things makes room for meaningful experiences. Marie Kondo has inspired millions with her book “The Life-Changing Magic of Cleaning Up: The Japanese art of decluttering and organising.” As you sort through your belongings, she encourages you to pause. Does this object spark joy?

This mindful practice is known as the Konmari Method, a combination of the author’s first and last name. Say you glance at your kitchen shelves and think, wow, I have one too many tea pots. The search continues -- how many serving spoons does one household truly need? Marie Kondo would guide you to first sort, then make a donation pile. Thank the donation pile (and the trash pile if it comes to that) for serving you well. Then store the items that bring you joy. Other tips: tidy by category, and save the most sentimental objects for last because your decision-making skills will sharpen throughout the process. Also, she insists “doing a little bit at a time” is a total myth. Do it all at once and without music playing in the background; focus on your inner dialogue.

How we form relationships with our material things changes those in other aspects of life. Kondo “awakens [her clients] to feel better energy,” according to the Washington Post. A tidy environment motivates you to do the dishes quickly and make time for other activities. Yet, even in one’s lifestyle, less is more. Another organising guru told US News about a client who stored her own saxophone and her mother’s guitar. She admitted she’d never play the saxophone again, and because her mother had passed away, made keeping the guitar a priority. Now she’s taking guitar lessons!

In with the new, and out with the old. Releasing unneeded burdens allows for space to breathe, for possibility. The art of tidying up is a form of self care. Self care is health care -- expressing gratitude for the items before you bid them farewell massively improves mental health. Likewise, donations invite positive energy. A sense of community adds years onto a lifespan. Studies even show if you lose weight on your bookshelf, you’ll lose weight on your body, too.

So take a page from Kondo’s book and scrapbook it into your life. Make a storage room your sanctuary instead. One serving spoon to wash means more time to cook with those fresh ingredients you’ve always wanted to grow in your windowsill. Hang on to one large tea pot, instead of the many small ones, to share with party guests. Kondo says, “Tidying ought to be the act of restoring balance among people, their possessions, and the house they live in.”

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