Jan 17, 2019

Should I keep it? Do the Kondo test

If you have spent the early days of 2019 decluttering your house and sparking joy, you're not alone (and you probably already know that based on your  Instagram feeds). If you haven't yet jumped on the 8-episode train that is "Tidying Up With Marie Kondo" on Netflix, we've got the Cole's notes version of her method for you, straight from the StreetSide archives of 2015 when Kondo's book was a NY Times bestseller.

The fact that arguably the world’s most popular book on minimalism is written by a woman named Marie Kondo just can’t be a coincidence.

Yes, many condos are equipped with lockers, great closet space and storage solutions – but too often, we hold on to things that we’d totally forget about in the bottom of a Tupperware tub. (Plus, maybe having lots of “things” is making it doubly unnerving to think about packing up your whole life’s contents to make the big move.)

Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” basically reduces the old keep-toss-sell dilemma to one evaluation: does it bring you joy?

Now, it should also be noted that joyless functional items like spoons and Windex bottles are exempt (but they still need their place). Keeping things in their rightful place lets you breeze around your home, never forgetting where things are – the true mark of a minimalist lifestyle achieved: practicality and ease.

It may seem daunting to get started, but begin somewhere all of us can stand to declutter: our closet. (Remember those “fat jeans” you’ve outgrown and don’t want to admit to? Ditch ‘em.)

Work your way through your closet and those loose papers you’ve been meaning to rifle through, and when you get enough momentum, sort through the more difficult stuff like books, mementos and photographs. You really will gain steam when you inevitably load up a garbage bag full of hand-me-downs for your favourite charity.

It may sound crazy, but Kondo suggests literally thanking some of the items in your life that have served their purpose before sending them away.

This is especially helpful with clothes you never wear (but keep for some kind of post-consumption punishment), were for a one-time event, or were a gift. You can thank them for how they made you feel when you first got them (even internally, if you feel too awkward) – for making you happy when you first bought it, for adorning you at that wedding last year, or for making you feel loved when you received it from Auntie Gemma.

When you get through your clothes, keep going through your drawers, shelves and cabinets like this in succession – and see what a difference it makes when you pack up your life!

Photo, mariekondo.com
Brenlee Coates is a writer and marketer.