Lately, I’ve heard so many people discussing Marie Kondo and her Konmari method. I know she’s not strictly a minimalist but anything that helps people live with more intention and purpose is great in my book.
There seems to be some criticism and scepticism about the ‘sparking joy’ thing. (Marie Kondo suggests that the standard to be used when deciding to keep or discard an item is to physically hold it and question whether it sparks joy for you).
I find this very helpful with clothes. I think Marie Kondo is absolutely right about this. When I was decluttering my wardrobe, I would think that I liked a piece because of its colour or shape or how good I felt when I wore it. But when I actually held it, sometimes these feelings simply didn’t hold up. There is something about physically touching an item to see how you really feel about it that is powerful.
However, I understand the criticism when this is applied to more prosaic items. Clothes are part of our identity and can influence how we feel and therefore how we present ourselves to the world. But it’s hard to feel the same level of identity when holding a spoon, a nailbrush or the folder where I keep my tax details. They don’t spark joy, but they are necessary and yes, I want them in my life.
The Minimalists speak of a concept of something ‘adding value to your life’. I find this to be an easier measure to use. It works for clothes, sentimental items and the more humdrum household items.
The important thing is to have your own way of distinguishing what is actually clutter and what is useful or important to you.
And that is why, time and again, I go back to William Morris’s beautiful phrase, used in one of his lectures in 1880 – ‘Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful’.
I have a lot of respect for The Minimalists and Marie Kondo but it’s Morris’s phrase that appeals to me most.
Do you have a phrase that resonates with you?
Have a great week 😊