So, you bought the book, you binged the series, and you dutifully tidied up. The KonMari Method hopefully inspired you to rethink your relationship with objects and encouraged you to sincerely consider what you choose to buy and bring into your home. You may have even been driven to put an anthropological lens on the trend and delve into the Shinto source behind it all.
In keeping with the air of inquiry, for those who have tidied up: were your efforts rewarded with an inspirational push to better other areas of your life? Or have you found yourself making an excuse to go shopping because you once again have so much available space? Studies on the psychology of happiness and wellness often repudiate one-off significant life events. Whether positive or negative, our habits, values, and cultural practices are much stronger indicators of long-term happiness. A color-coded closet may bring a sense of control and pleasure in our daily lives. But, who have we been tidying up for? Ourselves or Instagram? Does it matter? I’ve found that the purpose behind any major life choice or challenge generally determines your success with it. Make sure it’s founded on something substantial.
However, perhaps we can all agree that timing is everything. Tamu recommended not taking this project on during a big move, but definitely in preparation for an upcoming move. You don’t need to do it in one big haul. Maybe you work on one room each week, or each month depending on your schedule and habits. Find what works for you. In our globalized web-connected world, you’ll discover an abundance of ideas and options.
It’s no surprise that many have been eager to embrace the path to decluttering paved by Marie Kondo, who comes from Japan, known well throughout the world for its population having the longest life-spans. What keeps Japanese people living this long is a mix of diet, purpose, and community. The island is roughly the size of California, 25 times smaller than the U.S., but with only 2.5 times fewer people. It’s no wonder we would have much to learn from such a diverse and ancient culture. However, I wonder, what could be lost in translation outside of its original context.
Our American culture of consumerism has brought most of us to have things to tidy up in the first place. We validate brands, from beauty products to the cleaning supplies we choose, by giving them our money and attention. Hopefully by reflecting so much on our homes, we are also considering how they align with our values and beliefs. One way of continuing in the right direction is by choosing sustainable brands that also do good. For example, you can catch the Moroccan carpet trend while supporting girls’ education and empowerment by shopping M. Montague Souk which supports Project SOAR with every purchase.
After tidying up, what’s the next step? Oddly enough, let us first consider an unlikely source for inspiration: a sea sponge. Commonly mistaken as a plant, this multicellular animal doesn’t move or swim, but stays planted (no pun intended, but I’m not mad about it) to the bottom of the ocean from the Arctic to the Tropics. It’s a filter-feeder, which means water containing plankton and bacteria enter its pores, then are processed rather quickly to expel that which does not serve its purpose of survival.
I’m not suggesting that we all embrace minimalism or a fad diet that provides only the bare minimum. I think we can all benefit from focusing on and learning what best feeds us. That will definitely mean different things to everyone. And that’s a good thing. We all think, work, love, and live in different ways. Diversity in nature and human culture helps us all grow better and stronger. If you tried the Method and it didn’t work for you, I hope you found something that did rather than surrender to the clutter. Or maybe you’re at peace in chaos, there’s nothing wrong with that either.
We humans are not fixed to the sea floor, so once you’ve tidied up, get out of the house! It’s great to have a stylish nest, but what makes us pretty birds? Our wings. Head out and find the next trend yourself. Find inspiration in nature, at a museum, or in conversation with someone you admire. Approach your pursuit to holistic living as a community, outside of our individual homes. Only together can we find solutions that work for us, our world, as well as the environment.