Joys of minimalism

By Associated Press ( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-12-03 07:11:33

 Joys of minimalism

A client's room before it was decluttered (below) by Marie Kondo in Japan. Kondo's book about tidying is a best-seller in Japan, Germany and Britain and has recently been published in the United States. Photos by Associated Press

A Japanese author says an uncluttered life can make all the difference. Associated Press reports in New York.

If you haven't communed with your socks lately, thanked your shoes for their hard work or bowed (at least mentally) to your home in appreciation, maybe it's time to consider it.

"It is very natural for me to say thank you to the goods that support us," says Marie Kondo, whose method of lovingly connecting with belongings that "spark joy" and bidding a fond but firm farewell to the rest is popular in Japan and now catching on elsewhere.

Kondo's book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, is a best-seller in Japan, Germany and Britain and has recently been published in the United States. Kondo has been the subject of a movie in Japan, and the waiting list for her services, once three months long, is now so extensive that she has temporarily stopped accepting more clients.

Her "KonMarie method", as she calls it in the diminutive and illustration-free volume, encourages a rapid, dramatic and transformative one-time organizing event - completed methodically and lovingly in no more than six months. It's not an ongoing battle against clutter.

Kondo sees "tidying" as a cheerful conversation in which anything that doesn't "spark joy" is to be touched, thanked and ceremonially sent on its way toward a better life elsewhere, where it can discover a more appreciative owner.

The result can be life-changing, she says. Clients suddenly find themselves surrounded entirely by things that provide clarity, unencumbered by belongings that carry past baggage (unwanted gifts, clothes that no longer fit) or anxieties about the future (does anyone need more cotton swabs than there are days of the year?). Even her book, she says, should be quickly discarded when it's no longer needed.

Part of what makes her method unusually speedy is that instead of decluttering room by room, she tackles a household by subject, starting with what's easiest to part with. So, all the clothes, then all the books, then documents, then miscellany and, last and most difficult, photos and mementos.

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