If you’re into interior design or self-help, you’ve probably heard of the KonMari method or seen Marie Kondo promoting her book. Or you may have just come across her bright personality while perusing the internet. Either way, you’re probably wondering what the fuss is about.
Marie Kondo is a personality that’s bringing Japanese philosophies on organizing and interior design to the western audience. She believes that changing the way you organize changes your entire lifestyle. Her method is perfect for people who live in smaller spaces and want to maximize their living space.
Whether you're looking at all your stuff and wondering how you'll downsize into a smaller space or you want a cleaner, more organized assisted living apartment, you might want to consider the Kondo method.
Marie Kondo is the author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, which is an ironically wordy title. In her book, she discusses her thoughts on tidying and gets to the root of the issue. The main problem with organization, according to Kondo, is mindset.
Most people think of organizing as one action that sets up their space, and if they do it right, the space will remain tidy. But Kondo sees it differently. In her method, the primary focus is habit, and the initial organization is just a plan for what habits you will develop.
The habit part is pretty simple. You just put things back where they go. But the initial setup is a bit harder when you use this school of thought. Traditionally, when people organize, they try to Tetris their belonging into their space in the most aesthetically pleasing positions. However, Kondo says this misses a vital step: discarding.
This is the root of the Kondo method. In her book, she says, “Do not even think of putting your things away until you have finished the process of discarding. Failure to follow this order is one reason many people never make permanent progress.” Basically, she’s saying that you have to get rid of what doesn’t give you joy and just clutters up your life. There’s probably some deeper metaphor in that.
Kondo has an interesting method for choosing which items to discard. She uses the term "spark joy," which comes from the Japanese word, tokimeku (to flutter).
In a nutshell, you get rid of anything that doesn’t make you happy. You only keep what brings you a fluttery sense of joy. Of course, the "spark joy" attitude is only helpful for unnecessary items. There are plenty of things that you need in your life that likely don’t spark the most joy. But you’ll be surprised just how much you can downsize when you take this approach to discarding.
Seniors moving into an assisted living community may have to choose not to bring certain items with them that they do like, such as their favorite dishware or a large library of books. However, the bright side is that even though you might not have those items directly at hand, you can likely still keep them. Try asking family members if they are willing to hold on to items or look into self-storage options.
To get the full method and the detailed tips and tricks, you’ll have to read Kondo’s book, but here’s a quick guide to help you tidy your assisted living community.
· Discard. Kondo tells readers to lay out their belongings on the floor and group them by type. Then, she instructs to touch each item, and if an item doesn't produce that spark of joy, then it needs to be tossed or donated. Seniors might also consider using this method to choose what they’ll keep in their assisted living apartment and what they’ll store elsewhere.
· Decide where your things will go. By creating a set home for your possessions, you streamline the tidying process. Kondo recommends keeping similar items together. This can be as simple as keeping books on one shelf and all your writing tools on your desk.
· Do it all at once. This can be easy if you’re moving into the assisted community because you can do all of this in one go on the day you move in. However, if you’re already settled and just want to keep your apartment more organized, you’ll likely want to set a day aside to organize.
If you need help organizing or arranging your room, be sure to ask a Bethesda Gardens staff member for assistance. Our residents are independent and do a lot on their own, but when it comes to things that might cause injury, like moving furniture, there’s no harm in asking for assistance.