Although it is not a new concept in America, the hit Netflix series “Tidying up with Marie Kondo”, has made the art of minimalism mainstream. The show follows the Japanese author and organizing consultant, Marie Kondo, to homes around the U.S., helping families organize and declutter their homes with the simple yet Shinto-inspired “KonMari” method- hold each item in your hands. If it “sparks joy,” keep it. If not, thank it for serving you and give it away to serve someone else and possibly “spark joy” in their life.
There is no coincidence that the show was aired on New Years, in the midst of many Americans creating resolutions and ideas of how to improve their lives and wellbeing. Searching the web, you may have come across multiple articles and blogs on the art of purging books and clothes that have not been worn. Though decluttering and minimalism has been brought to light for years with the “hip” and minimalist aesthetic it exudes, the infatuation with the “KonMari” method introduces an issue that goes beyond a simple aesthetic - it is tied primarily to mental health.
So, how exactly can decluttering improve one’s mental health? There has been various psychological reasons that have proven why decluttering improves not only your mental, but physical health as well. One is, having too much “stuff” is detrimental to your cognitive control. Studies have shown that habitual hoarders are prone to issues with learning and memory, planning and problem solving. You may also uncover issues or goals that you have been ignoring with the help of the mess covering it up. While decluttering, it’s common to come across language learning material, sentimental photos of friendships that have faded or important financial documents. Finding this and objects that serve no purpose can bring a clearer sense of direction in your life of what is important to you and what’s not. Lastly, living in an organized environment has been tied with improved physical health. Studies have found that those living in a decluttered space, were more likely to be active and make healthier food choices than those who live in a cluttered space, who are more likely to feel tired and snack on junk foods, due in part to the subtle but powerful subconscious anxiousness that living in a state of messiness and disorder causes.
With Seattle becoming an increasingly expensive city, there has been a rise of minimalism among Seattleites due not only to the aesthetic appeal of a simple minimalist environment but also the practical need of simply needing to make the most efficient use of living of smaller living spaces. You can already find a wide array of organizing consultants in the Seattle area who are using and advertising the “KonMari” method. Though it is very possible that this is a hyped up trend or a phase that will soon die out, we need to remember that your environment at home is crucial to your mental and physical health. So, using the “KonMari” method or not, decluttering can be beneficial for one’s mental and physical health.
If you feel like you could benefit from a decluttering experience and less mentally draining clutter around your home, consider a free consultation from one of my recent podcast guests, Janis Lemert of Lemert Organizing Company. She specializes in helping individuals and businesses take control of their surroundings, their time, and their systems for life.
Thanks for sharing in this journey with me.
Until next time, be well and be excellent to each other!