When I started my minimalism journey years ago, I wished for others to feel the liberating experience I felt when I started to remove the excess out of my life. This is one of the reasons why I started this blog THE TALA. I still remember listening to Marie Kondo’s audio book ‘The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up’ at home while I was clearing out my wardrobe; feeling so overwhelmed with how much stuff I had. Now, I can’t believe how far I’ve come and I know that with her new Netflix series ‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo’, I have no doubt that the KonMari method and minimalism will start to become more popular.
I was so surprised to hear that some people have actually started to feel worse when they started to take on Marie Kondo’s tidying methods. According to an article published only a few hours ago by the Metro (links to the article are down below), a psychologist has revealed that some individuals may feel like failures if they fail to perform or finish the tasks they have set themselves to do. Chris Stiff- a psyhochologist from Keele University writes the following in an essay for The Conversation:
‘The KonMari method is rigorous and requires commitment, time and energy to complete to its fullest.
‘Without Marie Kondo standing over you, it may be difficult to complete, and failing tasks is usually detrimental to our psychological wellbeing. ‘Research shows that if people give up on a task, they usually perform worse on subsequent jobs and engage in unhealthy self-blame.’
Read more from The Metro:
It makes sense doesn’t it? Of course we will start to doubt ourselves and feel defeated if we fail to finish any task we have set ourselves to do however, we must always remember that we are still in control and Marie Kondo’s methods aren’t forcing us to be perfect and hit certain targets. I don’t recall Marie Kondo giving us a target number in any of the books she has written. She simply reminds us at all times to keep the items that ‘Spark Joy’. I don’t remember anyone saying – ‘Today, you must get rid of 100 items.’ If you want to set that goal for yourself, then do it. If you fail to reach the targets, don’t fret- you can always try again tomorrow or next week. There are no expectations here. Be more kind to yourself. This is about you and your journey. This is about removing the excess and the things that no longer serve you and your life. When I first started my minimalism journey (and this was before I even started to read to Marie Kondo’s books), I also felt defeated many times during my decluttering process. I found it hard to let go at first but eventually, with practice and with some time, I found it easier to let go of the possessions I once treasured. It is all about doing what is best for you and your life. Just because a lady in the Netflix show got rid of a lot doesn’t mean you need to do the same. This is all about you.
I recall reading a comment by another minimalist not so long ago in one of the Minimalist Groups I joined on Facebook about how he thought that the featured Marie Kondo clients who appeared on the show ‘didn’t de-clutter enough’. I have to be honest and say I didn’t agree or like that comment at all because this kind of mindset is exactly why some people take the KonMari methods the wrong way. There is no pressure to get rid of your items. Even if Marie Kondo is standing over you and watching you de-clutter and tidy, she reminds you to only keep the items that ‘Spark Joy’. If every single item you own spark joy for you- then keep them and just follow her folding and tidying methods. Who is going to judge you? If people like the guy who made that comment want to judge you, so what? This is your life and this is about the things you own. Do what’s right for you.
I actually love living a minimalist lifestyle but I’ve tailored this lifestyle based on what I personally love and my own standards. I sometimes like to call myself ‘The Glamorous Minimalist’. I still own more than 50 bottles of nail polish, 6 makeup palettes, and I have around 8 pairs of black skinny jeans that look very similar to each other and many other things. As a minimalist, I’ve removed the things which no longer served me and I was able to teach myself to learn how to let go by donating and selling the items I no longer use instead of leaving them in my closet just to gather dust. I no longer shop as much as I used to and when I do shop, I try to be as mindful as I possibly can and I’ve become more intentional with my purchases. Do I judge myself and think I have failed as a minimalist because I still shop and own so many things? No. Why? Because I have learned to be unapologetic for my lifestyle and my choices. As long as I’m not harming anyone and I have good intentions behind every action, I try and not let other people’s opinions get to me in a negative way. I don’t judge others with how they choose to live so why should I judge myself or others?
If you also start to feel as though saying ‘Goodbye’ to your things make them seem more sentimental, then keep them until you are ready to let them go. You don’t need to feel forced or pushed to do something you don’t want to do. I think that it’s worse if you get rid of something and feel so regretful about it afterwards. Really listen to your gut feelings and understand why you’re keeping something. If a small part of you is ready to let go, then you know that you’re on the way there. This isn’t about punishing yourself emotionally and putting yourself in extreme emotional turmoil. This is about self-reflection and gaining strength when it comes to letting go. Anything hard is worthwhile and you can’t expect yourself to let go of everything when you’re not ready. Patience and understanding is the key.
If we really think about it, there’s no pressure from Marie Kondo’s methods. Often times, you will realise that no one else is putting the pressure on you but yourself. This is a joyful process and one that must be enjoyed and appreciated. The moment you let go of of expectations, you will realise that this KonMari method and journey is something which really is life-changing and magical.