The life-changing magic of tidying up (your life)

By Belinda Haan

Tidying Up, the Netflix show by Marie Kondo has taken the world by storm. Marie Kondo is a tidying expert ‘helping people around the world to transform their cluttered homes into spaces of serenity and inspiration’ through her ‘KonMari’ method. 

I have been wondering lately; what would happen if the enthusiasm and effort for tidying up houses were also directed into tidying up and decluttering our lives?

Here’s a fun overlay on using the KonMari method to tidy up your life. 

#1 Commit yourself to tidying up your life 

What difference would it make to you if you had a less cluttered, more spacious life? 

What effort and commitment are you prepared to put in? 

What rewards will you get and give yourself for your effort? 

What is not working now? What are your biggest challenges? What difference would it make if you made inroads in overcoming these challenges? 

#2 Imagine your ideal lifestyle 

Imagine it is one year from now and your life is going better than you could have dreamed of. What is happening? How are you spending your time and energy? 

If you had no concerns or self-doubt, how would you spend your time and energy? 

Set yourself three goals that would contribute to this vision. 

#3 Finish discarding first 

What are the three biggest time-wasters in your life and how can you delete them? (note, although at times we may want to add kids to this list, it is not advisable) 

How can you simplify and systematise the things you regularly have to do that take up a lot of time? 

#4 Tidy by category, not location 

Time-wasters and distractions: how can you create boundaries and limits so you can get the best out of things such as social media without them derailing you or your day? 

Sensory food: declutter all of the information you consume such as podcasts, audiobooks, physical books, articles, news etc. Prioritise and put boundaries around your consumption. 

Problems and Annoyances: list the top three things that happen regularly that really drain you. Then work out what is in your control and outside of your control.

For the things within your control, brainstorm potential solutions and take steps forward. 

Planning and Organisation: how can you make your life easier through being more planned? What apps etc can support this? (e.g. Trello, etc) What habit could you implement that would make a big difference?

Extra-curricular/other commitments: before you commit to a new ongoing activity, try running the numbers:

time in activity + travel + packing/unpacking/nagging/getting ready time x (no. of times per year) = x 

For example, I’d really love my son to play soccer: 

3 hours (for 2 games of soccer) + 1 hour (travel both ways, twice) + 1 hour (packing/unpacking/nagging/getting ready) x 16 weeks = 80 hours total 

Assuming I get my son fed, showered, and the bedtime routine runs perfectly, and both games are during the week, this works out to be over 40 percent* of his total available spare time during the week. Is this worth it for you and your family? How does it contribute to what’s important to you? What are you saying no to because you don’t have time? 

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