I first learned of Marie Kondo a few years ago in a podcast with Tim Ferriss. I fell in love with Marie: her level of cute is off the charts, but I was captivated with the idea that she had been able to so cleverly elevate values I had been living by to an entirely new level for me. “Spark Joy” is a term that never left my brain after that podcast.
Fast forward a few years and a “Tidying Up” ad pops up on my Netflix. Oh my, this is too good to be true? I mean, could America really be ready for this? How will it be received? I had so many questions. It wasn’t long before I had the answers: America loves her, her ideas and her loving approaches. They are glued to the series and they’ve overwhelmed thrift store donation centers with items that don’t spark enough joy to earn their place in the dresser drawer. Who knew we would be so ready to let things go?! As I started to gear up for the Year of the Yin Earth Pig, it started to hit me: this was the absolutely perfect time for this series to launch and take such a strong hold in our hearts, minds and values.
1. Yin Earth:
The element energy this year is so much less stubborn than the Yang Earth from last year. It’s like we no longer have to deal with that big mountain, but rather that small hill in our backyard, something much more manageable. The stubbornness going away allows us to relax a little, be more open minded and let things go. You can now stop standing your ground and see what’s on the other side of that hill. Kondo teaches us to focus on what is important NOW, not what once was.
2. Cheerful change:
Last year was a tough one for most folks with that anxious Dog energy and so much political hullabaloo. The vibe has been negative, backlashing, frustrating and wore people thin. People are ready to let go of that Dog and get a new start. The Pig is arriving at the perfect time to bring us a cheerful, playful energy. Kondo’s fresh approach captures that Pig, bringing an ease and even playful approach to tackling one of the most dreaded household activities. She’s not just helping us declutter, she’s helped us find a new way to change our lives, reconnect with our families and rediscover what is important to us.
From the first episode, you can see that Kondo isn’t there to crack the whip on you about owning a minimal amount of items or getting rid of a certain amount. Whether 5 shirts or 100 shirts spark joy, keep those…but make sure they are organized! This means you don’t have to become a minimalist, an essentialist or one of those people who only owns 40 items total that all fit in to a backpack. The Pig can be a bit materialistic, so Kondo’s approach doesn’t punish the him for it, but rather lets him be his honest self and honors the Pig’s natural ability to be organized.
4. Like a pig in sh*t:
More than “getting rid of stuff,” Kondo makes the process about surrounding yourself only with things that are lovely and bring positive feelings, which is a cheerful way to think about decluttering. The approach is more about ADDING to your life than taking away from it. After “Konmari-ing” their houses, people are as happy as a pig in sh*t, as the saying goes. They feel like they have a new house, new outlook, new wardrobe. Even though they have the same stuff as before, they have less of it, and only the things they truly love, not items they’ve kept out of guilt or obligation. They can now focus only on things that make them feel joyful..and that feels, well, a little luxurious.
5. Wrap things up:
Being the last in the zodiac, the Pig is the finisher. The Pig and Kondo are here to teach us to pack up that old way of living and get on with the new. Finish sorting through your past so you can move in to the present. Finish dealing with that pile in the garage. Finish dealing with your baggage, emotional baggage included!
Letting go of things is clearly going to be a whole lot easier this year than in the past. Use that Pig energy when tackling your stuff with the Konmari methods! Once you’ve got a pile of stuff, then it’s time to figure out what to do with all of it. Thrift store donation centers are being overrun with stuff that spits and sputters instead of sparks. So what are your options?
Facebook Marketplace, Nextdoor and Craigslist can be great ways to sell your bigger, higher dollar or more collectable items. If you have enough items and the time, try having a garage sale. Don’t be shy about turning the stuff to cash, but be realistic about your prices. Many times people still feel some sentiment towards an item so they tend to overvalue it in their minds.
Give it away to friends:
We all know someone who could use a helping hand. What may seem like junk to you, could really help someone who doesn’t have a lot of financial resources. Ask around, I bet you know someone who would appreciate a chance to come over and pick out a few items.
Try to be resourceful here instead of just going directly to the thrift store. There are plenty of women’s shelters, transitional housing, schools and so forth that could really benefit from some of your items. You could also look for organizations that take donations for people who have been displaced after natural disasters.
Arrange pick up:
Plenty of organizations will come to your house and pick the items up, free of charge. This alleviates you trying to pack your Honda trunk full and making 5 trips!
Wishing you all the best on your journey to find what sparks joy for you!