Our tiny living journey has peaked the curiosity of many people who have initiated wonderful discussions with us. Everyone seems to have questions. Most of these questions come from bewilderment and fascination about how we can live without tons of stuff, large furniture and customary floor space. The answers to everyone’s questions have just gotten easier to explain since I discovered Marie Kondo.
If you don’t know who Marie Kondo is, she is a consultant, author, and TV personality known for her KonMari method of tidying up. Her book is titled, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and has been followed up in a series. She has a show on Netflix, “Tidying Up”, that is similar to other family make-over series, but with it’s own twist.
I had recently been interviewed by a local reporter about our unique tiny living choice. My answers to her questions prompted her to ask me if I had ever heard of Marie Kondo. At the time, I hadn’t. She was quickly described akin to a down-sizing minimalist by anyone I asked. This description didn’t motivate me to stop what I was doing and look her up, but I held onto the name for future reference.
Recently, that future day arrived. I had been folding laundry and browsing Netflix for something to keep me company while I fiddled around with house chores. Marie Kondo’s show came up and I saw this as a sign to investigate. She got me at a good time–I was just looking for inspiration to tackle my next (and hopefully last) round of down-sizing.
Before I get to Marie Kondo’s KonMari method I need to explain some of my personal history. Our tiny living journey ties in very well with her beliefs and there may be a reason why.
Japanese culture had a profound influence on my childhood. My mother enjoyed Japanese food and culture. She began learning the language, had brought macrobiotics into the home, and worked for Sumitomo Bank in the World Trade Center. Personal items were treasured and always had their place in our home. This most certainly had an impact on my development and views.
In addition, she was a single parent in a suburb of New York City. There was never enough money and we learned how to stretch a dollar, make tough decisions, and even live without basic amenities. She had no time or energy to clean up after me or even keep up with the house, so I was expected to “pull my weight.”
I didn’t appreciate all of these “life lessons” the way they were presented then, yet somehow they have served me well as an adult, parent, and New York native with a variety of life situations. I have no doubt that my appreciation and respect for my home and belongings is a product of my upbringing.
Marie Kondo’s KonMari method is about the energy and spirit of things and how they affect you. She inspires people to show respect and appreciation for their home and belongings, only keeping items that “spark joy” and have a place in their future. She promotes value in daily tasks to achieve happiness and personal accountability to remove burdens on specific family members (mom shouldn’t be doing everything!).
Many of the families she helps on her show are overwhelmed with clutter and looking for better organization to improve their lives. She breaks it down for them by focusing on keeping items that bring you joy and have a use for your future. She continues to show them simple organizational techniques that incorporate placing value on the item along with the task of folding, hanging, or storing it.
These families are left with renewed spirits, appreciation for what they have kept and organized, and the freedom to move forward with their goals.
It Makes Sense
This should be a “no-brainer.” Every how-to and self-help book on achieving goals instructs you to get rid of things that prevent you from moving forward. For instance, you can’t achieve your financial dreams if you are burdened with debt.
- Your subconscious is a powerful force. Clutter and unused items stowed away in boxes, cabinets, closets and under beds, can wreak havoc in your mind.
- Treating the items you have as treasures, and not disposable, increases your appreciation for what you have and can inspire you to want less.
- Letting each family member (even children) be accountable for their own items and sharing in the responsibilities increases everyone’s awareness of self.
- Sometimes you just need to say “thank you” to something you used to enjoy and then say “good bye” if it doesn’t have a place in your future. It’s okay! Let it go.
KonMari and Tiny Living
KonMari is not about down-sizing and living in a tiny home, but the premise it’s built on is what motivates us to do so—joy.
We have found that having a large home made us feel more burden; a lot of possessions, more weight; a lot of clutter, more pressure and guilt. As we began to peel back the layers by downsizing our possessions and size of residence, we were able to accomplish small goals that were holding us in a pattern of just “status quo.” Those tiny to-do list goals were never-ending and a constant reminder of what was unfinished. Once we could check those off, we had more time and energy to focus on future goals that will help us reach our ideal lifestyle.
Ideally, experiencing daily moments that “spark joy” will contribute to your overall wellness. It’s important to be able to connect to your work, friends, family and even yourself. Being liberated from the burden and weight of our previous life has allowed us the opportunity to be better listeners, more appreciative and thankful to our surroundings.
Uncovering what “sparks joy” for you is a journey. “Tidying Up” touches on basic lifestyle choices in the home, but the same lessons apply to every aspect of life. It is said that “if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” Success comes in many shapes and forms based on which result brings you true joy. However, you shouldn’t need to feel like you have to pay for that success by being overworked, stressed and exhausted. Tiny living helps reduce the burden and pressure of expectation just to fulfill a financial commitment. I believe this is the single-most attractive benefit in tiny homes.
Only you can determine the things that bring you joy—long term. For us, tiny living has been an excellent journey towards finding ours.
What brings you joy?
Have you ever tried to implement the KonMari method into your lifestyle? How?