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Decluttering your home can change your life

Superannuation  |  29/07/2016  |   3 min read

When was the last time you were truly relaxed at home? Chances are the place was clean, tidy, and free of clutter. But there’s more to it than just clean bed sheets and neatly arranged books. Rethinking our approach to possessions and the clutter in our life can have broader implications.

If you haven’t heard of the ‘KonMari Method’, you soon will. This global phenomenon has changed the way millions of people think about their possessions, and the sheer amount of stuff they have.

The method was developed by Marie Kondo, a Japanese ‘organising consultant’. She’s built a thriving consulting business in Japan teaching stressed-out Tokyoites how to make the most of their legendarily tiny apartment spaces.

In 2011, she published her bestselling title ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organising’. In late 2014, when the book was translated to English, her brand of decluttering really went viral.

The core principle of the KonMari Method is that one must only keep items that ‘spark joy’. This means taking time to go through all your belongings, and (somewhat ruthlessly) keeping only the things that make you feel a little thrill of happiness. Kondo’s books are full of explanations and interpretations of this principle – including how to apply it to utilitarian objects such as kitchen utensils. She claims that once you learn her method, you will never have a cluttered room again.

Critics say it’s more about finding a method that works for you. Or at the very least, addressing the psychological roots of why you become emotionally attached to inanimate objects. But one thing is undeniable – KonMari has got the world re-focused on the benefits of a decluttered life.

Mental and financial benefits

Speaking of psychology, the good news for those planning on tackling a cluttered home is that there are scientifically proven benefits. Some studies have suggested a strong link between tidier living areas and ‘better’ life choices, such as selecting healthier snacks. Others have found that psychical clutter causes sensory overload, as all the items compete for your attention – thus suggesting that a decluttered space improves your ability to focus, process information, and relax.

Breaking down your emotional attachment to items can also have financial benefits. The most obvious is the future savings. With a renewed aesthetic and attitude to accumulating new things, you may find you spend less on items you don’t use.

Keep or Discard?

If you can’t tick three or more of the following points – it’s time to say goodbye.

❏ Have you used it in the last 12 months?

❏ Will you need it in the next three months?

❏ Does it make you feel happy?

❏ Does it work/fit/serve its basic purpose?

❏ Is it worth a lot? Would you pay full price for it today?

❏ Is it worth repairing/maintaining?

❏ Do you really need it more than someone else? (Would it be good to donate?)


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