Our model is heavily entrenched in the position that in order to establish health and well-being, mind, body, spirit and environment must be equally attended to. The important word here is ‘equally’. If there is neglect of any one area, you can be sure that health and well-being will be compromised in some way.
Our clinical experience has taught us that it is body and environment which are often the most neglected areas. Individuals seeking resolution do not always understand that if their bodies are struggling for equilibrium and health, then their minds and spirits will be dragged down. Equally if their environments are not stable and supportive then peace of mind remains elusive.
Decluttering is such a pivotal part of this process. We say in our work, ‘the secret to health is the removal of waste’ and this principle applies to all four areas. Wherever there is waste you will find weakness.
In the mind it creates doubt, confusion and fear. In the spirit one loses a sense of self, meaning, purpose and discrimination. In the body there is pain, dysfunction and disease. When it comes to the environment waste has caused pollution, a depletion of our resources and a backlash from nature.
If we look at our immediate environments (our homes) a similar position will be found. Holding onto those things we no longer need keeps us trapped in the past, tied to outdated experiences and ideas, which pollute our minds and deceive our hearts. Holding onto that which is no longer useful and doesn’t create joy pollutes the environment and depletes our resources – and so decluttering is something we all need to take seriously if optimum health and well-being is our destination.
Marie Kondo is a professional consultant in the joy of attaining minimalism.
Her first book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, is an international bestseller. She has been the subject of a movie in Japan and the waiting list for her services is now so extensive she has temporarily stopped accepting more clients.
Kondo’s simple and interesting approach is one where she sees tidying as a ‘cheerful conversation’ in which anything that doesn’t “spark joy” (which is the name of her second book) is to be touched, thanked and ceremonially sent on its way towards a better life elsewhere, where it can discover a more appreciative owner. This wonderful approach to decluttering and recycling is definitely what the world needs right now.
Part of what makes her method unusually speedy is that instead of decluttering room by room, she tackles belongings by subject, starting with what is easiest to part with. So, for example, she may begin with all the clothes, then all the books, then documents, then miscellany and, last and most difficult for many, photos and mementos.
Instead of deciding what to get rid of, she says, the focus should be on what to keep: which few things spark sufficient joy or are truly necessary. This way one is left only with items that make the heart sing and which do not keep transporting the mind back to things that are best left behind.
After joyfully taking mountains of unneeded or unloved belongings and diverting them to charity or sending them for recycling, she turns to organizing what is left. The key, she says, is storing things mostly in drawers, arranged so everything can be seen at a glance and nothing is stacked.
Kondo says, “The inside of a house or apartment after decluttering has much in common with a Shinto shrine … a place where there are no unnecessary things, and our thoughts become clear… it is the place where we appreciate all the things that support us. It is where we can review and rethink about ourselves.”
Given the current over-consumption and waste in the developed world, we think these beautiful, simple concepts are an essential part of a modern life if we are to save our lives and our planet from further decay and deterioration.
This book and its ideology is well worth taking seriously if we are to free ourselves from complication, clutter and confusion.