DeclutterTell me Kondo, Kondo, Kondo

With the New Year fast-approaching, many will take the opportunity to have a big clean-up. Landlords, tenants and agents can use the key strategies from decluttering doyenne Marie Kondo to, if not ‘spark joy’, at least get a handle on the clutter.

When it comes to accumulating ‘stuff’ many of us have ascribed to the ‘more, more, more’ philosophy for a long time. But in recent times there has been a concerted move towards ‘less is more’ whether in response to environmental concerns over resources, economic imperative or simply a desire to downsize or truly enjoy those things we have.

Along with the movement has come the train of decluttering gurus with their techniques and tips to make living with less and enjoying more a reality. The undisputed queen of the declutter is Japan’s Marie Kondo, whose method is so well known to ‘Kondo’ has become a verb!

Agents, landlords and tenants alike can use Kondo’s two-step approach to tidying to help wrangle the tangle:

Step 1:
Put your hands on everything you own.
Ask yourself if it sparks joy.
If it doesn’t, thank it for its service and get rid of it.

Step 2
Once only your most joy-giving belongings remain, put every item in a place where it’s visible, accessible, and easy to grab and then put back.

The KonMari Method encourages individuals to be thoughtful about choosing the belongings they wish to keep. The basis of Kondo’s philosophy is about asking “Does this spark joy?” when deciding whether or not to keep or discard a piece of furniture, clothing or any other possession.

“The secret of success: Start by discarding. Then organize your space, thoroughly, completely, in one go. If you adopt this approach you’ll never revert to clutter again,” Kondo writes in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing.

The 6 KonMari rules:

Rule 1
Commit yourself to tidying up.
Once you have made up your mind to tidy, all you need to do is apply the right method.

Rule 2
Imagine your ideal lifestyle.
“Think about what kind of house you want to live in and how you want to live in it. In other words, describe your ideal lifestyle. When you imagine your ideal lifestyle, you are really clarifying why you want to tidy and identifying the kind of life you want to live once you have finished,” states Kondo.

Rule 3
Finish discarding first.
“Effective tidying involves only two essential actions: discarding and deciding where to store things. Of the two, discarding must come first”, Kondo notes.

At the heart of this is the philosophy that “to truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose”. So if an item doesn’t spark joy or serve a specific purpose, it’s time to say “thank you and goodbye”.

Rule 4
Tidy by category, not location.
For example, when tidying clothes, gather every item of clothing from the entire house in one spot. This allows you to see exactly how much you have. It’s very important to get an accurate grasp of the sheer volume for each category.

“One of the most common mistakes that individuals make when tidying is that they spend so much effort storing things that they may no longer even want or need,” Kondo told Architectural Digest. “Before considering storage, remove all of your belongings from where they are currently kept. Hold them one by one as you ask yourself, ‘Do I truly need this?’ or ‘Does it spark joy for me?’.”

It is also important that every item has a specific place so it can be returned easily. Kondo is not a fan of ‘storage’ solutions, instead advocating for storing items in a way that you can see everything i.e. store belongings standing upright. “This will allow you to see what’s inside at a glance and take inventory of what you own,” Kondo says. “If you store your clothes in a drawer standing upright, you will be able to survey how many articles you own that are the same colour. This will prevent you from unknowingly buying more of the same type of clothing.”

Rule 5
Follow the right order.
Kondo has come up with the ideal order in which you should tidy up:
Clothes
Books
Papers
Komono (miscellaneous stuff)
Mementos (things with sentimental value)

You can then separate everything out from each category into sub-categories which will make the process even easier as you can visualise what you have, what you need, and what does or doesn’t bring you joy.

Rule 6
Ask yourself if it sparks joy.
Remember: you are not choosing what to discard but rather what to keep. Keep only those things that bring you joy.

Once you’ve decluttered and organised, it’s an ideal time to check that your insurance cover is adequate. Speak to our TenantCover and RentCover customer service or  an OfficeCover broker (or contact an EBM PersonalCover broker for the right Home & Contents cover for your own home) to review your policies and ensure you’ve got the right cover for those things that are important to you.