Konmari Life: Reasoning, How I Do and What I Don't Do

April 21, 2019

Have you really rethought of the things you buy and keep in your room or scattered around the whole house?
Living with you for years without any meaningful impact?

I've been living in my current bedroom since I was 8. But since the beginning I moved in, I never really declutter my things out. So after 17 years, it started to 'eat my sanity up'.

When reviewing my fast decreasing psychological control around two years ago (between 2016-2017), I came up to the conclusion that it turned out that I had the wrong concept of 'spark joy'---not the main factor, but one of them---before I knew the KonMari, the recently famous method of tidying up popularized by Marie Kondo.

Before we move on, let me straighten things up: KonMari is decluttering + certain way of tidying up. When you only declutter your things out, it doesn't mean you're doing Kon Mari already. 

Ok, I'm not a super messy person, in fact, people might see me as a tidy person, tidy with many things surround me. I hoarded cute things and put them in line as decorations. People applauded me for the beauty actually! But you know what are those cute things that 'sparked joy' to me before my KonMari life? Well, read more below...

I crowd my room with expired skincare (still looking pretty from the packaging, though), unused makeups, old clothes I'd never wear, a packaging of sweets with Doraemon and Hello Kitty cartoon on it so I didn't throw them away, and more unthinkable stuff... I even keep a stale food in my room---that I threw away once it produced weird dan hazardous smell to my room! Of course, it happened differently when I'm at work where I would throw the leftover instantly to avoid ants coming to my desk.

Also, you can say I'm a sentimental person, as I also kept movie tickets, too. Those things kinda made me either happy or feeling enough. I felt like they completed me. There's a big hole of emptiness... just for me to fill in with many things I can have (including trash). Oh I wish I have the photo of all those messes to show you how crazy it was.

Yes, happy... enough.. with unused stuffs... and also trash. Ironic enough when you realize that you feel part of you is filled with trash?

At the time, with all of them, looking pretty standing in rows in my desk, shelves...  looked beautifully arranged. An expression of my personality! Of course, I didn't see them as trash back then, just because they have my favourite characters on the packaging, ugly ribbons from my favourite brand packaging.

Then, you might ask, 'how is that even possible?'

Yeah, it is. It was possible, for me. That lasted for a long time, until one day, I realized and decided that I needed psychological help for my worsening depression 2 years ago and I know I couldn't go on. (Read my previous post about this regarding my depression).

Then, thanks again, Ali Wong! I watched her show 'Baby Cobra' on Netflix and there I knew about KonMari.

With psychological help in the middle of the process, the revelation to liberate myself has become another push. Also thanks to KonMari, I decided to do what I'd never done before: THROW THOSE THINGS AWAY. These two made a great combination of my turning point. 

Somehow you might find this psychological method as surprisingly soothing and working! By giving the room more space that means giving yourself more space. Throwing those trash could mean you slice your ugly past. There's a correlation between depression and hoarding. Those mess (even though you arrange those mess in OCD type) is a representation of your mind and the existence of depression in yourself. So when you start fixing your hoarding habit by decluttering, that also means a start for you to recover.

"A study conducted by David Tolin, a psychologist who specializes in hoarding, confirmed a link between hoarding and depression, a stronger link even than with other disorders. “Hoarding participants also reported higher levels of depression than did OCD and control participants.” While it’s normal to have some sort of clutter in your house, notes Tolin, obsessing about keeping items and refusing to throw anything away becomes a psychological issue quickly. He also notes that clutter is not a problem of organization – it’s a personal problem. Changing the behavior of the person is what is key to changing the clutter. Hoarding is not the same thing as OCD, as brain scans have discovered. While there is a link between that disorder, and depression, and the clutter in a house, they are not the same."
- cited from webpsyhology.com

But, please don't get it wrong! Hoarding toys and clothes like I do aren't the same with hobby people trying to level up their collections. There's a slight difference. In depression or anxiety disorder, by piling up these things, it's actually a mind-trick, you would feel happy at first, but your depression is only getting deeper. It could relate as well as impulsive-shopping.

Simplest impact: After decluttering and Kon Mari, I choose toys more carefully, what kind of toys I should have and keep in my room and which ones are not to get at all in the first place, knowing I have limited space and it would be hard to throw it away later.

Simplest conclusion: When you hoard, you tend to those things to control you. Letting them away is resulting in you to regain control of yourself.

FYI, I started developing early stage of depression since I was in grade school, worsening in junior to high school. In college, anxiety attack came to me for the first time.

1. I start with my own clothes and makeups and skincares.
I prepared two big plastic bags I got from Ace Hardware for buying new shelves and plant kits (yes, THAT BIG PLASTIC BAG) to throw all the expired skin cares into and some trashes that are surprisingly I never throw away and I didn't know why.

My room in process
Starting with throwing away all the trash will help you breathe a bit as it deletes some space for you to think clearly on which you should choose to keep. Trust me, during the process, I was all crying. You may be wondering why I cried for something that isn't useful for me. It could mean that I'm saying goodbye to the old-time baggage in my life. I kept those I'm still using and everytime I'm buying skincares or makeups, I take them as commitment. Well, as for skincare, it won't work if you just use it once anyway, right?

As for clothing, I piled up the old clothes I'm not going to wear. Some of them, I made decisions to put them in the 'farewell' pile as it's no longer nice or I need to change the style. 

For good basic pieces, I kept them in a special box, just in case I need it. However, I put them in limited quantity. So I won't fall to the temptation to keep them all in the end. It's quite tricky to keep or to lose things in this process. 

I sold some of the pieces in my Carousell app, soon I will sell them in Tinkerlust maybe. Good money in return!

Not perfect, I know.

My workout clothes. I'm still trying to fold it perfectly Kon Mari.

2. Moments
I kept many sentimental things in a special big box. I remember we have a big cake tart box in the office that I brought home as it had a good handle made from ribbon. Now that box has turned into a big place for random stuffs that has sentimental meaning but doesn't really look good.

First, yeah, I hide those ugly-looking stuffs that I couldn't throw away. Maybe a gift or historical for me. A remembrance for something or someone. I collected moments this way.

Second, those boxes come in handy. Really. That's why Kondo really suggests using those boxes. It helps you sort things out! Neater. Nicer! I store my clothes/underwear/accessories/etc in boxes too. Bought new cupboard, prettier... come with rattan boxes to put random stuffs and toys.

Third, the conclusion is... more space you see in your room could release tension in your mind. I've read some journals and articles on having more spaces in your place is important. Like in this dazeddigital.com article, they cover about people living in small spaces, cramped and crowded, caused them to get anxiety and lack of sleep quality. Spaces you see in your room affects the way your brain works. 

The lack of space can also fuck up your sleep – how does your brain differentiate between working and sleeping when it all happens in the same place? The National Sleep Foundation has consistently warned about making your bed your workspace, as it affects both productivity and sleeping patterns – your bed should be for sleep and sex only. “One of the biggest mistakes people make in their bedrooms is they try to cram too much in there,” Gary Zammit, director of the Sleep Disorders Institute in New York told Health, “They use it as an office and as an entertainment room right up until the clock strikes 10, and expect to just hit the lights and fall asleep. But the brain doesn’t work that way.” Without a living room, tenants are forced to utilise their bedrooms for working, watching TV and even eating, meaning our brains no longer associate our beds with sleep. It’s not rocket science to know that a lack of sleep can have a huge impact not only on your mood the following day but also on your mental health in the long run.

3. Maintaining the mindset, what sparks joy and not.
You'll always buy things. New things to fill and something that needs to be thrown away. There's a fine line sometimes when we're in the state of depression and longing, as we don't want to throw things.

Scrapbook stuffs I hope I will get back to (with jewelries).

But keep in mind? Spark joy? Will you need it? Will you use it often? Regularly? .... Lastly, would that look good in your room?

The downside, I'm kinda freak on keep this minimalistic as it gives positive effect on me. So I'm kinda leaning on that attitude to make my surrounding look good yet breathable. It was beautiful... but not breathable to me. That's why I felt suffocated and my brain twisted so easily.

What I don't do?

Well, here's the thing. Like in religion or concept, you don't just read/listen/see and do everything. You need to take it, understand it... filter! 

See what you can do now and later, and what you can't, what you shouldn't do, and what you don't need to do. Never that anything 100% without thinking! 

Listen to me, or read this carefully, this might work for me... but this might not work for you. The thing that doesn't work for me may work well for you. It depends. Success method isn't only one in the world. Life isn't like those motivators said, not easy, too. (Remember those crying scene while I was throwing away those unused stuffs).

Like myself, I won't ever throw away my stuffed animals! No matter how ugly and broken they are. They will always stay with me. All of them spark joy to me! 

As for books, I won't throw them away just like that. They are not trash. Just like some good quality clothes in my room... I will give them to friends, donate and sell some of them. I know Kondo has been getting some problems for her quote on books, from book readers. It's totally misunderstanding. Even if so, you don't need to follow that one rule if you don't think it brings you joy.

Once I've read an article that KonMari from Marie Kondo is just another capitalism in the hiding. Selling those boxes expensive price and all... well, why the method is the core of everything here. Those boxes are working for me. Neater, organized, and easy to find things. Nothing else I can say about it. However, why would you buy those expensive boxes Kondo try to sell in the website anyway? Any boxes will do.

What else? I also do... a social konmari. I call it that way. Which is throwing away people I don't need in my life or put in me in second while I always try to prioritize them. Those who don't appreciate for having you in their lives. Throw them away.

After months of doing this, I can feel the difference. Although of course, it's ups and downs for me, with my recurring depression in the picture. I do have lesser unknown anxiety attacks. I can understand my body and my mental state better, too. I can 'hear' my body better. That results in appreciating what I have. The blessings to count.

And please... if you watch the Netflix series of Marie Kondo, it takes more than you can see. I juggle with work, too. So it takes quite some time. Besides, I don't want to sleep in messy and half-baked condition, so I got to wait on perfect weekends (where I don't have extra work or social event I have to go to).

It took quite a long time for me to finally be in this stage of Kon Mari. Until now, I still have more things to give away, throw or sell. 

Good luck, guys! Let me know how you handle this... 

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