Kondo’s rules could be hard for many people to follow, says Kaylee Whitworth, a professional organizer and owner of San Francisco’s Closeted. “I liked some of the ideas, but I don’t think all of them will work,” she says. One of her complaints is the idea of keeping only things that inspire happiness. “There are some things that we just need that don’t inspire excitement,” she says.
Kondo does address those categories, but her definition of what we need is stricter than most. For example, manuals? You can find them online. Books you haven’t read? You will never read them; unload them. Gifts from loved ones that you don’t use? Unburden yourself, she advises.
As Whitworth says, “I think many people have a hard time implementing her ideas and sticking to them.” For a real-life example that’s closer to home than Japan, we asked Susie Shoaf, a San Franciscan who won a free consultation with Kondo in a contest. She is pictured here, at left, with Kondo during that meeting in her 900-square-foot townhouse in the Alamo Square neighborhood.
BEFORE: Although she mostly reads books from the library, Shoaf has a penchant for collecting art, design and travel books. This was her bookshelf just before she began purging under Kondo’s direction.
BEFORE: The prospect of getting rid of things was a daunting thought, but Shoaf says the knowledge that she could keep the things that she really loved was comforting.
“She started by taking all of the books off the bookshelves, upstairs and downstairs,” says Shoaf. And, true to form, Shoaf was shocked by the number of tomes she possessed. (In her book, Kondo relates several examples of how people are stunned by the amount of things they own.) “She wasn’t judgmental at all,” the homeowner says. “But when I saw how many books I had accumulated, I knew I wanted to reduce and go into the project wholeheartedly.”
“First, [Kondo] patted each book, saying she was waking them up,” says Shoaf. “Then we sat down on the couch and picked up one book at a time. She asked me, through a translator, if each book sparked joy. If the answer was yes, it went on the pile on the left. If it was no, I put it on a pile to the right. I started with 300 books, and that day I got rid of 150.”
Once everything was sorted, Kondo suggested they bow to the books and thank them.
In her book, Kondo says thanking items for their service is an important part of helping to let them go. “Showing gratitude to the goods that you have possessed decreases the sense of guilt in getting rid of them, allowing you to feel more attachment to the goods you have left,” she writes.
shared from the houzz.com website
stay tuned next week for more ideas from Marie Kondo