Get Organized. Get Mindful
Using Organizing as a Mindfulness Practice
Marie Kondo’s Netflix show, Tidying Up, is all the rage right now. Kondo has become known over recent years for her organizing process called the Konmari Method, and her quirky instructions to determine what stays and goes when purging objects from your home. The method essentially boils down to picking up every object in your home - and one by one asking yourself - “does this spark joy?”. If it s”sparks joy”, you keep it; if not, it goes.
Sparking joy was not in my vernacular but it made me giggle and it totally made sense. Why keep anything that doesn’t make you happy? That part of the process is certainly memorable. And I should know. I am obsessed with organizing. For as long as I can remember, I have been learning from anyone and everyone to see who might have a more efficient or better way of organizing things. I like the Konmari method among many others. At the end of the day - these methods provide great frameworks for organizing projects. But maybe the Konmari method has a little touch of magic inherent in the process. That magic is mindfulness.
Two kinds of order
I believe that you can create two kinds of order in your space: one is superficial and the other is deeper. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to create order in a space. Simply put all your black pants together, then your jeans, then your skirts, and voila - you have order. But that does not make you organized. And it can still lead to a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear. That is superficial order. The key to true organization is to go deep, to become intentional, and to become mindful.
If you decide to use a process like Kondo’s, item by item, you begin asking yourself if your belongings “spark joy”. Through this act of picking up each item, you are engaging in an act of mindfulness. You are becoming an observer in your life. As you inspect each object you learn new things about yourself. When you intentionally touch each object with curiosity, you can pause. In the pause, you have the opportunity to ask yourself:
does the object still matter to you?
would you buy the same thing again?
how, if you have multiple items, did you acquire the second (third, or fourth) in the series?
does the object fill you with joy, or perhaps sadness? Why?
what thoughts go through your head when you contemplate keeping something that is totally worn out? Does it remind you of the glory days?
who taught you to keep things “just in case”? Are you living in abundance or scarcity?
is hanging on to old things causing you to live in the past?
do you have a sense of guilt when you attempt to discard gifts that you never liked?
There is so much to uncover about yourself through the process of decluttering your home and reorganizing. Each insight is precious. In fact, the insight may be more precious than any given object. You learn what thoughts are running your life’s operating system. You understand what has been important to you throughout your life. You understand your fears. You get to know your values. Pure gold.
The process of decluttering is the beginning of self knowledge that can ultimately make you a more conscious consumer, can save you money, can help you identify parts of your past that are challenging to move on from. The experience is truly a goldmine.
Unpacking your home is an act of unpacking your heart and mind. I thoroughly enjoy the transformation that comes through the process of home organizing. The process is cathartic. No denying that it is easier for some than for others. But I believe that we all get to a point in our lives when the process will make the most sense to us - and frankly, spark joy!
Laura Ting of OrganizedVancouver is a personal and professional organizer who helps people create orderly spaces with function and style in their home and office. You can follow her on Instagram @organizedvancouver .