Out with the old, in with the joy
While spring is usually the season associated with decluttering and tidying, there’s no time quite like the present for clearing your space of unnecessary items in order to bring the true gems of your home to light. Marie Kondo, author of Spark Joy: An Illustrated Guide to the Japanese Art of Tidying, believes there is no point in tidying your home before you have finished discarding what you no longer wish to keep. As you look at what surrounds you, ask yourself: ‘Does this item bring me joy? And if so, why?’ If it doesn’t, then it’s time to part ways.
Identify your ideal lifestyle
When it comes to working out what you consider to be your ideal lifestyle, Kondo delivers an imperative: don’t curb your dreams. Your living space should represent how you want to live and who you are as a creative person. Create a mood board with images you find online or in magazines. Look for pictures that make you think, ‘Yes, this is the kind of space I want to live in.’ But don’t allow yourself too much time to peruse different styles – rather, make an effort to look at a variety of images in one sitting. “While it might be fun to look at a different magazine each day, if you proceed like that, you might run the risk of being unable to make up your mind. Your opinion may change daily, making it harder to identify the lifestyle you want,” Kondo says.
Mood board inspiration: good.net.nz/mood-board
Add colour to your life
Decluttering can leave you with what now seems like a pretty empty house, even if it is a house free of unnecessary items.But it’s still important to adorn your home, rather than keeping it so bare it lacks anything that brings you joy. Marie Kondo says that overwhemingly, the one thing most often lacking from homes is colour. While the ideal solution would be to buy new curtains or bedspreads in your favourite colours, or to invest in a painting, these might not be options for everyone. An easy solution is to use flowers; this can be cost effective and allows for changes in colour palettes, arrangements and types of flower to represent a certain mood. Even a single gerbera can make an impact in a room that needs a pop of colour.
Using flowers in a space: good.net.nz/pickable-garden
The grey zone debate
Many people employ a ‘grey zone’ during their decluttering process. This is when items that are on the fence of ‘to keep’ or ‘not to keep’ are stored away for three months, then discarded if they aren’t used during that time. Kondo argues that the grey zone can actually prevent joy and instead create anguish and guilt; you’ll pull things out of the grey zone just to spare them from the scrap pile, or you’ll feel worse about throwing them out when it comes to Judgement Day. Kondo says, “If you just can’t bring yourself to discard something, then keep it without any guilt. Instead of waiting to see if you’ll use something in the next three months, why not just look back on the past three months and decide right now?”
"Ask yourself the question, "does this item bring me joy?" If it doesn't, then it's time to part ways.
Create a Woman Cave
Do you have a small storage room you could transform into your own personal sanctuary? Fill this space with things you love – meaningful mementos, inspirational quotes, photographs and more. If you don’t have a whole room at your disposal,Kondo suggests using part of your wardrobe – or if you have your own desk, then let this become your personal space. If you’re someone who enjoys spending a lot of time in the kitchen, turn a corner of the bench into a little area that sparks joy.
From the moment you finish tidying up, you can begin to add a new zest to your home and to your life. So what are you waiting for?
Get started now.
Extracted with permission and adapted from Spark Joy: An Illustrated Guide to the Japanese Art of Tidying by Marie Kondo, Penguin Random House, $37.