Three Unexpected Benefits to Tidying with Marie Kondo

In the past couple of days, I’ve written about why the Marie Kondo method of tidying works so well for me and about one hack that made the process go much more smoothly. Today, I thought I’d share three benefits of following Marie Kondo’s advice that I didn’t expect before I began.

Konmari makes moving much less stressful

Before I went through the tidying process, I absolutely hated moving. I’d pack about a dozen boxes thoughtfully, and then I’d end up basically throwing things into the rest of the boxes because I ran out of time and energy. I knew I was moving things I didn’t really need; I carried pounds of junk mail through at least two moves just because I hadn’t sorted through it yet.

Because everything was mixed together, it wasn’t labeled correctly, so my disorganization continued through to my new place. After konmari, I knew exactly where everything was. I made a mental plan of how I’d pack, followed through pretty simply, and took care with my belongings. It was all clearly labeled, and I was able to keep it all organized in my new place. It was really a joy to have all this done, and to know that everything I moved to my current apartment really deserves to be here. I ended up unpacking almost everything in my new place in the first weekend I moved it, which is a record for me (by far). It was incredible and completely different than any move I’d made before.

I don’t accumulate junk anymore

One of my best friends said konmari ruined going to Target for her because the silly little things that seemed so much fun in the past now just look like tomorrow’s junk. I totally agree — konmari removed some kind of veil over so many purchases. It taught me what I really value so I’m able to much more accurately identify what will really bring me joy in the long run.

This has cost me that short burst of euphoria of thinking something like a Hello Kitty folder will really and truly improve my life, but it’s paid off in the long-term joy of spending less money and being confident that the things I do choose to buy are worth the money and time.

I take better care of my belongings

As I went through the tidying process, I found a few dozen things that I’d been meaning to fix … someday. A favorite shirt was missing a button. A great sweater needed to have the pills shaved off of it. The trophy my grandmother won in a motorcycle race was broken and dingy, so I couldn’t display it. Lots of things I loved needed a little love from me to truly bring joy to my life. Otherwise, looking at them just made me feel bad, representing tiny failures.

When something practical or sentimental didn’t bring me joy, I looked for a way to change that. Sometimes it meant simply sewing on a button or polishing up a trophy. Other times it meant personalizing something that had been boring, like putting stickers on my bike helmet or buying a better looking broom. And sometimes it just meant finding a way to store something in a way that brings me joy, like packing my great-great-grandmother’s dress in a pretty blue (acid-free) box. The Marie Kondo method actually encouraged me to find the joy in things that have lost it, and it was really fun to give life to treasures that had been waiting for me to just give them a second look.

Tidying helped me keep my house clean and decluttering helped me relieve stress, but like with most any long-term, worthwhile project, the benefits outweighed even the obvious reason that I started in the first place.

Carrie Rollwagen is author of The Localist, a book about buying from locally owned stores. Currently, she works as Communications Director at Infomedia, a web development company in Birmingham, Alabama. Find her as @crollwagen on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and most other social media platforms.

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