Friday, April 10, 2015

Marotta meets Kondo: The Language of Change

Before Marie Kondo February 2015
What could a 53 year old psychologist from Oklahoma and a 30 something professional organizer from Japan have in common?  We speak the same language.  The language of change.  Marie Kondo is empowering people to transform life through clearing physical clutter – my spin is to shift perspective  by letting go of thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors that no longer serve us.

Marotta and Kondo are both aware that incredible change is possible when you have the right tools.  But you have to be willing to do the work.

Kondo’s book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up came at an opportune time as I find myself somewhere between “emptying” and “feathering” my nest.  She struck a chord when she detailed that the point of tidying was not to be measured by how much you throw away, but instead to intentionally surround yourself with the things you love. With this bliss in mind I began to apply her method to my clothes, which is where she recommends that we start.

It was the perfect rainy weekend.  Step One I gathered ALL of my clothing into our guest bedroom.  Kondo urges her organizing clients (now readers) to gather all of the items in a specific category together to complete the project all at once.  If there is a clothing item that is missed in this broad sweep (think closets, laundry room, hooks, etc) of your home it is supposed to be given away.  I am not brave enough to show you the picture of the heaps of garments that overtook the guestroom. The excess, mistakes, waste and multiple sizes that made up my clothing choices from past to present were all sprawled out.

Step Two involved holding each item in my hand and evaluating if it “sparked joy.”It was oddly reassuring to check my gut for an opinion.

Many of my clothing decisions were outdated, they literally no longer suit me.  For years these choices took up space in my closet, unseen, but definitely felt as I tried to hang up new purchases.  At the end of the day . . . four bags of clothing to donate to charity and two brimming trash bags of torn, worn, and stained flotsam.

A strong theme throughout Marie Kondo’s guide to zen organizing is the energy you will derive from thorough tidying.  Her cultural perspective of energy is fun to think about.  According to her philosophy all items have energy.  When you surround yourself with items that bring you joy, you are energized and happier in your space.  When your space is filled with items that no longer spark that loving feeling you are drained of energy.  I waited for the energy after completely revamping my clothing category.  Instead I felt exhausted.  It was harder than I thought.  In the back of my mind I worried that I had “let go” of something that I loved, or that I might need someday. The parallel to therapeutic change was glaring.

It has been two months since I began my magical tidying.  My wardrobe pallet is completely changed, dressing is simpler, and I love every single thing I wear.  I’m feeling the energy now.
After my clothing category I tackled my bathrooms, and my true nemesis: paper.  The before and after pictures tell only half of the story. The mind shift towards simplicity is even more impressive.

After Marie Kondo February 2015

Zen Organizing a la Kondo 2/2015
My response to empty nest is still evolving, but focusing on what remains instead of what has been lost is a delightful blend of peacefulness and excitement. If you are facing a life change I would strongly recommend the orderly advice of Marie Kondo. Let your external space reflect your internal change.
It is a language we can all benefit from at various points of our journey. 
Happy Tidying!