A psychologist tells us what we’re really learning from Marie Kondo
In case you missed it, there’s a mass decluttering movement happening all around you, largely inspired by the Netflix series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.
And while you may not see the immediate connection between the junk on your shelves and your health and fitness, clinical psychologist Cassandra Dunn believes there are lessons we can take from pint-sized Japanese decluttering expert Marie Kondo as we progress on our Centr journey – from cleaning out our pantries to clearing the mental clutter that holds us back.
Tidying Up follows Marie Kondo as she visits people’s homes and teaches them the unique method outlined in her 2015 bestseller The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. While some have taken inspiration from these newly clutter-free homes and lives, embarking on their own missions to rid themselves of anything that does not spark joy, others have been critical.
Why isn’t Marie teaching people not to buy so much stuff in the first place? Isn’t she just legitimizing the throwaway society that’s wreaking environmental havoc? How much joy does it really spark to think about how much of your stuff could end up being dumped in a landfill and not a charity? But Dunn believes that when you look beyond the ‘if you don’t love it, get rid of it’ message, there are many other ways we could all be helped by Kondo’s unique method of tidying... if we’re willing to ask ourselves the right questions.
1. What are you grateful for?
"Part of Marie’s tidying method involves thanking those things you no longer want or need, expressing gratitude for what it is has brought you before you bless that sucker out of your life," Dunn explains. "You may despair that the only thing you’ve gained is a hefty credit card debt and a decent dose of buyer’s remorse, but if you dig a little deeper, perhaps what you’ve also gained is a solid lesson in the futility of over-consumption and the wisdom to pause before making impulsive purchases.
Our foodies are also big on zero waste... we’re using every last morsel.
Over-consumption, and the waste that goes along with it, is also a big issue for our Centr food experts. And we’re not just talking about over-consuming fries and cake. With Centr meal plans you have the ability to change serving sizes to cater for a whole family, or just one. We encourage leftovers for lunch and include plenty of dishes that can be frozen for convenience. Our foodies are also big on zero waste – you’ll find many recipes are root-to-stalk, ensuring we’re using every last morsel. We also provide handy tips about pantry essentials, snack hacks for leftovers and grocery shopping on a budget which can help with paring back wastefulness.
2. What brings you joy?
It might seem a little silly to hold each item in your hands and ask yourself if it brings you joy. But more to the point, Dunn warns it might be a little bit devastating to realize that very little of what you own actually does.
"Suddenly you recognize how much of your hard-earned cash you’ve spent filling your space with stuff when what you were really trying to fill was a space in your heart caused by an unhappy relationship, unsatisfying job, loneliness or lack of meaningful goals. The confronting reality might be that what you really need is to stop consuming and start connecting with what has the potential to truly make you happy."
3. How much do you need to be happy?
One of the most ingenious steps in the KonMari process is the part where you take every single item you own and put it into a pile in the middle of the room. Marie doesn’t need to spell out to anyone that we could do with buying less stuff; the mountain of unnecessary (and sometimes rarely used) items in the middle of the living room floor is all that’s necessary for us to deeply absorb the truth of our rampant over-consumption.
Do this and you may find yourself realizing not just how much this pile of stuff was cluttering your apartment, but your thinking.
It may leave you with a nagging feeling that you should be doing something more beneficial with your time. Or it could make clear how past fitness missions were derailed by a jumbled mind that couldn’t find its focus. Centr gives you access to a team of experts in mind, calm and meditation, armed with practical methods for decluttering your thoughts, focusing on what’s important and performing at your best. Meditations help with not just letting physical objects go, but letting go of the chaos in your mind. Mindfulness will help you pinpoint not just what is draining your bank account, but what’s draining your energy. And strengthening your mind will keep you motivated and on track to achieving your goals.
Meditations help with not just letting physical objects go, but letting go of the chaos in your mind.
"Of course, the flow-on effect of the KonMari Method decluttering craze is that when you start to get honest about how much of the stuff of your life does not bring you any joy at all, you start applying the lessons to more than just your material possessions," says Dunn. "You start asking the hard questions about the people in your life, the social obligations, projects and activities that drain your time and energy more so than your bank account. When you start deciding how you would like to fill your space, literally and metaphorically, you’re being careful to only allow into your orbit those things that have the potential to bring you peace, purpose and positivity.”
Isn’t that what we all want? It turns out there’s more to decluttering than a mess-free space.
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