Ellevate San Diego Event: Coffee Break Discussing Marie Kondo

January’s Ellevate San Diego Coffee Break book discussion talked about Marie Kondo’s book (and show) The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. We discussed the benefits of tidying for not only your personal life, but for your professional life was well.

I love organizing and decluttering, so this discussion was right up my alley! I read this book a few years ago and enjoyed the Netflix show as well, conveniently released when I was sick and watching a lot of TV. The book is definitely better than the show, which cuts out a lot in order to make 30-minute episodes out of a month-long process. I tidied when I read the book, and again when I saw the show – I didn’t tidy in the order Marie suggests, so her promise of tidying once and never again didn’t apply. I recommend following her instructions so that doesn’t happen to you!

Though she’s often compared to minimalism, or known for her technique of folding clothing into tiny rectangles, one of Marie’s organizing philosophy differences in the KonMari Method is to only keep items in your home that “spark joy.” If an item doesn’t spark joy, thank it, and find a new home for it (recycle, donate, give it away, or trash it if nothing else is possible).

One of the discussed side effects of tidying your home was that when you know where everything is, you have space to move forward with your life. You’re not spending time hunting for things. Your mind is not cluttered with unfinished projects and messes you have to clean up “someday.” It’s eliminating overwhelm so you can focus on the things that matter in your life.

A Marie Kondo quote read at the meeting was, “When I put my house in order, I discovered what I really wanted to do.” Marie’s clients experienced work changes and life changes after completing the tidying process, since they had mental and physical space to make those changes.

Ellevate Chapter Co-President Christina said that two different friends recommended this book to her last year and she read it over the holiday break. She’s halfway through the tidying process and already sees improvement in her life, especially when it comes to traveling. It takes a lot less time to prepare for business trips now, because she’s no longer searching all over the house for what to pack. She said it makes trips for work exciting and valuable to life, since there is a lot less worry involved.

The KonMari Method is less about reducing than it is about creating relationships with the things in your life. Gratitude is important, telling your possessions, “thanks for the memories, our time together is done.” This attitude applies to people as well, letting go the people that don’t spark joy, but objects are easier to start with. Marie’s specific order of elimination helps build decision-making skills, starting with things easiest to replace and reduce and then moving on to the harder things (finishing with the sentimental items). And if all your possessions spark joy … keep them!

The book gives an understanding about what you keep in your personal and professional life. It changes the perspective of relationships, such as approaching work differently by appreciating what you like instead of focusing on what you don’t like.

Ellevate member Carmen talked about how the book teaches how to be OK letting go of things, how we’re always thinking, “I’ll need this someday,” but that day never comes. We live in the someday, when we should live in the present. Another attitude of gratitude discussed was being grateful if you make enough money where you can replace something if you really need it in 6 months. The last part of the book is about the magic mentioned in the title, which talks about how letting go is even harder than acquiring. One side effect of tidying is getting more confident in decision-making, in all aspects of life.

We talked about how there was a big debate online about keeping vs. letting go of books. Marie’s not saying you should get rid of all books, if they bring you joy you should keep them, just appreciate the ones you have organize them in a way you can appreciate them (don’t keep books in a box underneath things in the garage, for example). Christina showed a photo of her favorite books all in one photo on her phone so she can easily recommend them to people and remember the joy her favorites bring her.

In conclusion, the tidying process for your home can also tidy your brain. And like all books and methods, this is not fit for everyone. We discussed how some people don’t think the way the book thinks, and that’s OK, different methods work for different people, and diferent people respond to different things.

See upcoming Ellevate Network San Diego events!

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