There was the FlyLady, the capsule wardrobe, and the 100 things challenge.
Now there’s Marie Kondo, the new reigning queen of the purging and decluttering movement.
Kondo, author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up wants you to examine everything in your house and ask a simple question: “Does it spark joy?”
If it doesn’t, chuck it.
Her second book, Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up, takes her method to the next step and illustrates how to banish mess in every room of the house.
Her book can help you improve your house and make it more livable, and even help you reach some of your sustainability goals. After all, some of her concepts represent the highest form of reducing and recycling.
1. Decluttering. If you’re selling your house, Kondo’s strategies most certainly will allow you to achieve your real estate practitioners’ quest for a decluttered house. Any decluttering you do today will make the selling process easier later.
2. Natural resources. Kondo’s admonishment of only having things that spark joy should help to curb your shopping habits too. Of course, the less you buy the better it is for the environment. Remember that the production of new stuff requires not just raw materials for production, but also fuel to distribute those goods.
3. Clothes. Do you need 12 pairs of jeans, 30 t-shirts and 40 pairs of underwear? Probably not. When you do buy new clothes, steer clear of cheap, throwaway items, also known as fast fashion. Producing fabric has a huge human and environmental impact.
4. Book hoarding. Whose bookshelves aren’t overburdened? The solution is a cinch. Get a library card or a Kindle and donate your unwanted reads. As for the guilt associated with tossing books, Kondo’s view is, “We read books because we seek the experience of reading. Once read, a book has already been ‘experienced.’”
5. Upsizing. Are you complaining about a lack of storage? Are you thinking about buying a bigger house? Don’t. Kondo, who believes we have far more than we need, has a thought. “Once you learn to choose your belongings properly, you will be left only with the amount that fits perfectly in the space you currently own,” she writes.
Also keep in mind that upsizing chews up more natural resources and brings bigger expenses – taxes, the mortgage payment, maintenance, and utility bills. So maybe it’s worth purging more stuff and embracing Kondo’s view of storage “solutions” as prisons and ways to “bury possessions that spark no joy.”