Kondo wants us to only keep what brings us joy. When shopaholics shop, that is not the joy she is talking about, because if she were, a hoarder's home full of things that brought them joy would seem normal.
That joy in the moment is not the same as holding something and feeling real joy now. So the process is as simple as this:
1. Gather all of the items in the category in one place from all over the house.
2. Hold on to each piece and ask if this item sparks joy (Do you smile when you see it? Do you hold it and feel happy? If this thing was lost, would you truly miss it?)
3. Decide to let go of the things that feel empty or burdensome.
The things we own are normally spread in more than one location in our homes. There are many drawers with pens and cabinets with cleaning items. We have clothes in more than one closet, even storage of some wardrobe in the attics and basements, or worse, we may have purchased additional standing closets to house things we hardly ever wear (or wear at all).
Many people hold on to things long past their worth or value. What value is the thing that does not fulfill its purpose for being?
Things you save for "someday" or sentimental items you keep in a box because you can't part with them, these things are not living as part of your life. They become burdens you have to store. They are the weight of boxes left unopened. They have little joy.
There are rules:
1. There is an order to follow, and do not do a room at a time. (No working room by room. You do all your clothes first because they are least sentimental and most objective.)
2. Do all of the items in the category in one fell swoop. (When you do clothes, do all of the item from coats to socks in one day and move with a pace after you feel comfortable. If you have clothes in storage, clothes in other closets, dressers, or bins, get them all. The only clothing exempt are things currently in the dirty laundry or machine.)
3. Do not let your family see or inform your choices. (You may feel like letting go of something they question, or they may tell you to get rid of things you really love.)
4. Do not burden family and friends with your discards. (Only give away things that you know they are already looking for and they will love. Do not give things that you cannot part with because you cannot part with them and want to see them live on as their burden.)
5. If you live with others, don't toss their stuff. (You need to focus on your stuff first, and they may find the urge when you are feeling the power to also join in.)
6. Don't clutter the air with noise like the TV or radio. Commune with the things in your life. Tap into the process and focus on the task. If you need noise, listen to ambient music without lyrics or commercials.
7. Start in the morning when your energy and judgement is peak. If the weather is nice, open the windows and let the air help energize you.
There is a great FREE printable checklist at the Making Lemonade blog
Kondo's order moves from least sentimental to most. When you run across items of sentimental value, like photos in a drawer, put them aside and do not look at them. The sentimental items take the longest and are the most subjective.
5. Sentimental Items
Each of these is really broken down into segments, but finish all of Clothing before moving to Books. Finish all Books before moving on to Papers, etc...
Tomorrow I'd like to delve into her concept of the rational verses the intuitive mind during this process because it is my biggest beef. "Everything has a use" my creative mind sings. I have a 3rd mind that wants to save for other reasons...crafty reasons.
Until then, tell me...what do you think so far? Does anything strike you as new or interesting yet? Why?