You have probably heard about Marie Kondo at this point in time. This Japanese tidying expert has suddenly become this online international sensation after her Netflix show, “Tidying up with Marie Kondo” became a hit.
The #myKonMari Movement
I personally have not watched her show on Netflix but I got to know about her methods of tidying through another YouTuber who happened to share about how she had incorporated the KonMari methods into her lifestyle. It was only then that I realised there were many people around the world who were already embarking on this #myKonMari movement. It’s pretty phenomenal, I must say, as I’m still constantly seeing online articles and videos of Marie Kondo.
And after watching the rest of the world getting into this frenzy of tidying things up, I got inspired and started tidying up my own room, right after I watched the YouTuber tidying her house. Strangely, it can get pretty addictive.
It’s Nothing New
Her philosophy of tidying things is similar to the concept of minimalism which is also gaining popularity, along with the vegan and zero-waste movement. To me, it’s nothing new.
All in all, both concepts involve decluttering, keeping only the essentials. In the case of the Kon Mari’s method, it is about retaining items that ‘spark joy’. If it sparks joy, keep it. If it doesn’t, then toss it. It’s a very simple concept which appears to be very obvious to me. It’s essentially saying: keep what you need and
Why The World Accepts The Kon Mari Method
But the problem is, most people do not know what they need. But if you ask them whether an item evokes a positive emotion in them or not, they are probably able to provide a definitive answer right away.
That could also be the reason why many seem to be able to accept Marie Kondo’s way of tidying things as oppose to the minimalistic way of owning fewer items. It is also comforting for hoarders to know that they can still keep a majority of their items as long as they spark joy. Which then begs the question, what if everything sparks joy in the house? So, what’s considered joyful to you? A bottle of bleach doesn’t spark joy to me but I need it to clean and sterilise the toilet floors.
Isn’t this obvious enough?
Seeing how the world reacts to The Kon Mari phenomenon has taken me by surprise. That’s because this method of tidying stuff came across to me as something obvious. Isn’t this like common sense? Keeping what you need and getting rid of items which you no longer need it. Do we really need a 32-year-old lady to remind us how to differentiate and categorise our items? Have we lost our minds to Social media over the past decades?
More importantly, we need to cultivate this mindset of placing value on the intangibles than the tangibles. In other words, we mustn’t be materialistic. Experiences and relationships are what we humans should value the most, and not branded bags or shoes.
My Marie Kondo-inspired Spring Cleaning Project
So, after discovering Marie Kondo online, I had a strong urge to tidy up my bedroom and this time, I tried to incorporate some of the Kon Mari methods of tidying.
Like Marie Kondo, I love tidying and organising my personal belongings. All thanks to my mum who imparted the value of keeping a place clutter-free in order to work more efficiently in an environment.
I would tidy my bedroom about two to three times a year. And as I grow older, I found myself enjoying the menial task of cleaning and tidying my bedroom – as well as my workplace.
It is only a couple of years ago when I decided to practise minimalism and spend only on items which I really need. Since then, I’ve stopped shopping for clothes and other non-essentials. Because of that, I saved lots of money and I am able to spend money on what I value the most – food and travelling. In fact, I spent a bulk of my money mainly on food and travel.
I will probably share more about my money-saving habits and minimalistic lifestyle on a separate article. As for now, let’s get back to my bedroom clean-up.
Coincidentally, it’s a few weeks before Chinese New Year, and it is a tradition for us Chinese to do spring clean our house before the celebration kicks in. It’s a perfect time to do some spring-cleaning!
Based on Kon Mari’s method, she advises one to start off by tidying one category of items at a time, instead of location. She also advises people to start tidying their clothes first followed by books, papers and so on.
I find that this is only useful for those who already had a disorganised space where items are placed randomly all over the place. For these group of people, it would be better to start tidying items by category first.
Personally, I like to tidy items based on location since I had already categorised my items based on locations. And I like to start off with my desk because that’s where I spend most of my time there – typing, blogging and daydremaing away.
My Stationery Stash
I don’t usually purchase stationeries. They are usually freebies or gifts from friends and colleagues. I would keep a few of my favourite pens and gave away the rest to others (like my students). All of my writing materials are kept in this second-hand stationery holder which I’ve been using it for almost 10 years! If I need more storage containers, I would just use recycled boxes as containers instead of buying new ones. This is the key concept of minimalism – as much as possible, try to make or recycle instead of purchasing something new. Even if these items don’t cost much, I would still choose not to buy it unless I really do not have the time to create one on my own.
I don’t wear jewellery or adorn myself with accessories these days except for special occasions. I kept accessories that ‘spark beauty’ in me and sell away the rest on Carousell. You can always make some money back by selling your second-hand items online too.
My earrings, rings and hair accessories are stored in this clear acrylic jewellery organizer. Keeping items in clear containers and boxes allow you to see what’s in them. In that way, you can easily find the items you need.
My Personal Stash
I kept all my personal items like journals, bible and other items which I used frequently in the drawer. It’s so-called the ‘uncategorized section’ which contains all the miscellaneous stuff which I used.
Like what Marie Kondo advocates, I will arrange my notebooks standing upright, so that I can instantly look at the titles without having to fiddle or rummaged through my items to look for something.
My Mini Library
I love to read but I dislike buying or hoarding books. Instead, I prefer to borrow books from the library.
I tend to give or sell away books once I finish reading them. In fact, I will only keep a few useful books of which I think I might need to refer to it again (which doesn’t happen most of the time).
Most of these books shown here are books which I have not read yet. One of my 2019 new year resolutions to read at least 4 new books this year. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for this resolution! It is much easier for me to open my laptop than to open and flip through a book.
My IT Gadgets
This is my stash of IT gadgets which comprises of headphones, cameras, tripods and wires. I no longer own a DSLR so that saves me a lot of space. I am now using compact mirrorless cameras which is much lighter and easier to carry around.
If I need a professional camera for shooting purposes, I would usually borrow or rent one.
All the wires are wounded up neatly and packed into small pouches. The SD cards and plugs are stored neatly in an old wooden tea box.
My Minimalistic Wardrobe
I’m not into fashion or at least, I’ve tried my best to be fashionable but failed. I have the most boring dress sense ever as I usually kept to a few go-to dresses or tops. And I usually repeat my outfits especially my working outfits. My morning routine is kept short and simple as I do not have to waste any time or brain energy thinking about what to wear.
Sometimes, I wish I can be like Mark Zuckerberg who likes wearing the same type and design of plan tees every day. But since I’m a woman who needs to please her man, I am except to dress to the nines.
Comfort is my top priority and my job doesn’t really require me to look good or professional as long as I dressed decently and appropriately.
On weekends, I tend to stick to floral dresses, shirts and denim shorts. I’m actually in the process of upcycling and DIY-ing my old clothes to make them look more fashionable. It’s one of my ongoing current projects as well.
I hang up most of my ‘going-out’ clothes on plastic hangers. This includes tops, dresses and bottoms. I did try to arrange my clothes according to colours but it always gets out of order by the end of the week. Partly also because my mum still does the laundry and she just conveniently hangs up my clothes in the wardrobe – in a random order.
My ‘home’ clothes and gym wear are usually folded and stacked on top of each other. I wanted to try Marie Kondo’s method of folding clothes in a way which stands but I find that it is only more suited for clothes which are kept in drawers. Since I did not have a drawer and has limited space in the wardrobe, I decided to keep my clothes stacked on top of each other.
My winter clothes are kept out of sight, in a huge plastic bag, placed right above in the upper compartment of my wardrobe.
My Daily Bedtime Vanity Essentials
I do have a drawer which I store all my skincare and beauty products. But these days I find it much more convenient to keep some of the essentials near my bed. It allows me to reach out for it easily especially in the mornings when I’m preparing to go for work. Placing these skincare essentials there also reminded me to keep up to my skincare routine before heading to bed.
Displaying all these beauty products by my bedside also prompts me to use them and see what I have. As you know, I write skincare product reviews and very often, I will have to test out new products every now and then.
As a result, I will have unintentionally collate many skincare products which are all half used. But I would usually try my best to empty one product before moving on to the next. If I cannot finish using them, I will usually pass them to my mum.
My Makeup Drawer
I used to love hoarding makeup products because it brings about joy purely by just looking at those pretty dainty eyeshadow makeup kits and lipsticks. The problem is that I hardly used them as I didn’t really enjoy putting on makeup.
Even though I like playing with makeup and will go ‘goo-goo ga-ga’ over the shimmers and glitters (just like any other women would), I somehow did not enjoy applying makeup due to a couple of reasons. Firstly, I find it a hassle to remove makeup. Secondly, I find that my skin tends to clog up very easily if I did not remove my makeup properly.
As such, I prefer not to put on any. Also, putting on makeup does take time. With Singapore’s hot and humid weather, it just makes things worst. Sometimes I wonder how Singaporean girls could take the heat and sweat with that thick layer of makeup sitting on their skin.
Things that Spark REAL Joy
I call this drawer my ‘Treasure” box because this is where I store my photos, favourite CD albums and a box of letters and handwritten notes given by friends.
These items bring back memories of my childhood. I felt that there’s nothing more valuable than these items which may also serve as ‘artefacts’ once I leave this world.
To me, these items are the ones that sparked real joy to me. It brings a smile on my face whenever I look at it.
The Best Part about Tidying Up
What I truly enjoy the most about decluttering is seeing how much space has been freed up after things have been tossed away or put aside. Some objects not only takes up space but they also take up positive energy within the house.
A well-organised and tidy apartment also looks more pleasing to the eye. I guess that’s the beauty of Marie Kondo’s method. I’s all about the things that spark joy at home so that your house harnesses all the positive energy that sparked true joy and peace.
Have you ‘Marie Kondo-ed’ your living or work space too?