( KonMari Insight Blog Series)
Perfecting your life?
No, I’m not talking about being perfect. No one is perfect and I think it would make for a boring world. I’m talking more about how our lives are unfinished and constantly unfolding.
A question that came up the other day in our Facebook Group – KonMari Method: Life-Changing Magic that “sparked” some great discussion. The question was basically(paraphrased edition, here), “I’ve heard people mention that they are doing a 2nd round of KonMari. When did you realize you needed to do that? I just want to declutter this one time and then maintain it.”
It’s a really good question. Marie Kondo tells in her book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up that “Tidying is just a tool, not a destination.” It’s a reminder that going through your stuff is not the end. Life goes on and you go on with it.
When we’re decluttering, we’re looking to select to keep just those things that bring us joy or we have a use for. When we start this process our understanding of ourselves and what really makes up happy isn’t always clear. Like learning to drive a car, it takes practice. While the feeling of joy is spontaneous, our ability to understand it and realize when it happens, is not always easy to discern.
So, we go through our things, gradually honing our spark joy skills. By the time we’ve gotten to those sentimental things, we have a much better understanding of ourselves than we did when we started the process. But are we done?
No, not really. It’s really just another beginning. Here’s why.
Joy comes in layers. There is a difference between things that are fun and cute and are interesting, and things that touch our hearts. It takes awhile to figure all of that out. Things that are just slightly joyful just don’t stay interesting for very long. I can think of bits and bobs that I thought were cute, or sweet, or ingenious, that I gave away shortly after I bought them. While I liked them, they weren’t important to me. They didn’t really mean anything to me. I can also think of countless project kits I’ve bought in the past that I never did. I admired the talent to do it at the time, and instead of just saying “how clever,” and walking away, I bought it, put it in my project room and never looked at it again. Things I truly love, that bring me real joy, are quickly used and given a home. There is a big difference between the two thought processes.
We’ve adapted to get by with less. Once we’ve dialed into what really sparks joy for us, we become more selective. We think about whether we really want this thing that we are contemplating buying. Do we really need it / love it, or can we use something else we already have, instead? Where will it live in our home? Just how useful is it?
Our personal values are becoming more noticeable. Once the clutter is gone, and we are down to just useful and loved things, who we are and what we believe in come more clearly into focus. All of the stuff we were hiding behind is no longer there to occupy us. This is a good thing, albeit painful at times. It can be hard to look at ourselves as who we currently are. But doing it helps us move forward.
We spend more time doing things instead of buying things. For me, my new life took me outside more. It took me to the arboretum, to the gym, to the movies, to hiking in the park with my hubby and dogs, and lots more puttering in the garden. Where it didn’t take me was on random shopping trips to the mall.
We continue to grow. This is the biggest takeaway. Because we are doing more, examining ourselves and our choices, and bringing joy into our lives, we continue to change. Our lives are fuller. I am different from when I tidied my home 3 years ago. I am different from who I was even last year.
I really think that when Marie Kondo tells us that none of her students rebound, she means that when they have truly tidied everything in their lives ( and make no mistake, going through everything you own, in every crevice of your place, does take a lot of time), they understand themselves in such a clear way now , they never want to go back to that place of misery, where they began.
Things, belongings, and treasures will constantly ebb and flow in your life. There is no way of stopping that. These new things aren’t bad, or evil, just … new. When you are content to let your life unfold, dealing with the material stuff becomes second nature. Sometimes you will have more things than at other times. When it begins to feel like too much, or just “off” in some way, then it’s just time to take a look at what has changed and resettle your life. Maybe you have added in a person, or a hobby. Maybe you’ve changed jobs. Or maybe, like us, you’ve added a kitten who has totally upended your day to day world. Your space isn’t the same. You have more than you did. And you might find that other belongings are now obsolete.
It’s not a bad thing.
You are just perfecting your life.