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  • gretchenrubin 15:50:15 on 2017/04/20 Permalink
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    Observations from Marie Kondo about the Life-Changing Magic of Creating Good Habits. 


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    Marie Kondo

    Interview: Marie Kondo.

    It’s hard to exaggerate the influence that Marie Kondo has wrought with her blockbuster books The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Spark Joy. The latter book takes its name, of course, from the question she urges us to ask ourselves, “Does this possession spark joy?”

    Her ideas about how to create order and fight clutter have helped countless people to give themselves more energy and peace. (You might ask, “How does something paradoxically give you more energy and give you more peace?” and I would say, “That is exactly the effect of clutter-clearing.“)

    The New York Times called her “perhaps the world’s only decluttering celebrity.” Absolutely!

    Even I don’t agree with everything that Marie Kondo prescribes (as I write about here), I’m a huge fan of her work. It’s practical, thought-provoking, and often surprising. For most of us, outer order contributes to inner calm, and her “KonMari method” resonates with many, many people.

    One thing I love is that alongside detailed instructions for how to fold a t-shirt, Marie Kondo makes observations like this: “Tidying is the act of confronting yourself; cleaning is the act of confronting nature.” Profound.

    In my books The Happiness Project and Happier at Home (can’t resist mentioning–both bestsellers), I write a lot about the role of possessions in building a happy life. It’s a fascinating area.

    I was thrilled to get the chance to ask Marie Kondo questions about happiness and good habits.

    Would you describe yourself as an Upholder, a Questioner, a Rebel, or an Obliger?

    In terms of tidying, I’m definitely an Upholder. I stay tidy because I feel that the effects ground me and allow my home to spark joy for my family and me.  However, I’m not sure if I qualify as an Upholder in other aspects, as I’ll procrastinate submitting written work or sometimes show up late to get-togethers with friends or colleagues!

    Perhaps this makes me a Questioner, as I’ll only do things if, when I ask myself: “Does it spark joy?” and the answer is “yes.” My very profession is centered on encouraging others to ask themselves: “Does it spark joy?” This must qualify me as a Questioner! [Yes, that sounds Questioner to me.]

    Does anything tend to interfere with your ability to keep your healthy habits?

    I usually go to bed early and wake up early with my kids, who are 18 and 5 months old. However, because I travel frequently for work, I’ll sometimes get jet-lagged. This can disrupt my sleep pattern for a couple of days after! When this happens, I get a little anxious that I am getting behind on work or missing out on time spent with my daughters while I try to catch up on rest.

    Simply having children can interfere with healthy habits!  For instance, before bed, I usually like to stretch and release any tension that may have developed over the course of the day. However, if one of my daughters cries or calls out for me, I’ll tend to them and, by the time they’re calmed down, I’m tempted to pass on stretching and head straight to bed.

    Have you ever been hit by a lightning bolt, where you changed a major habit very suddenly, as a consequence of reading a book, a conversation with a friend, a milestone birthday, a health scare, etc.?

    When I was 15, I would continually tidy my room, only to have it become cluttered again shortly after.  This cycle contributed to so much stress that one day, I fainted. This breaking point made me realize that I was approaching tidying the wrong way.  Instead of focusing on discarding things and approaching tidying as the removal of negativity, I realized that I needed to focus on finding and keeping things that spark joy.

    Do you embrace habits or resist them?

    For daily life, I try to keep to routines, but for work, I prefer variety. For example, I get new ideas by traveling and exposing myself to other countries’ cultures. I enjoy giving talks in a variety of locations, because it allows me to interact with different people and learn from their diverse perspectives.

    Has another person ever had a big influence on your habits?

    My grandmother taught me the importance of tidying up even those places you don’t openly see, such as the insides of drawers and bureaus.  She recognized the intrinsic beauty in belongings and took pride in their presentation in her home.  When she dressed and accessorized, she applied the same philosophy to her personal appearance – everything mattered.  I developed my initial respect for my belongings as a result of her influence.

    The post Observations from Marie Kondo about the Life-Changing Magic of Creating Good Habits. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 16:25:52 on 2016/05/31 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , Marie Kondo, , , , , , , ,   

    7 Reasons I Disagree with Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” 


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    Marie Kondo The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

    I love the subject of clearing clutter.

    For me — and for most people — outer order contributes to inner calm. I feel this phenomenon in my own life; it exhilarates me in practice and fascinates me in theory.

    So I was eager to read Marie Kondo’s blockbuster bestseller, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. And I found it thought-provoking, and I got some great clutter-clearing tips from the “KonMari method.”

    I also have some profound disagreements with Marie Kondo.

    As I write in The Happiness Project, and Happier at Home, and Better Than Before, I’ve come to believe deeply that we all must find the way to happiness and good habits that’s right for us.

    There is no magic, one-size-fits-all solution. Just because something works for you — or Marie Kondo — doesn’t mean that it will work for me. We can all learn from each other, absolutely, but there’s no one way to achieve anything. You indulge in moderation; I abstain. You exercise in the afternoon; I exercise first thing in the morning. You like lots of abundance; I like simplicity. No one’s right, and no one’s wrong. It’s what’s true for the individual. (You can read more about this in Better Than Before, in the chapter about “Distinctions.”)

    And Marie Kondo does argue for the one best way. And here’s the thing: you read five pages of this book, and you know that Marie Kondo is an extreme, idiosyncratic personality. Which I love! Which makes the book much more interesting! But what works for Marie Kondo isn’t necessarily a great guide for what works for another person.

    From her own description of herself, she makes it clear that she’s a simplicity-lover, who likes to take big steps, who’s a sprinter, and a person who  who doesn’t feel strong emotional attachment to possessions. (Though at the same time, she shows a strong feeling of animism, which I found intriguing.) But some people are abundance lovers, and some people like to start small, and some people are marathoners, and some people have strong emotional attachments to possessions. So her guidance may not work for you.

    Here are the 7 main concepts where I disagree with Marie Kondo:

     1. She advises putting every item in a category on the floor as the first step in clearing clutter.

    She advises that that if you’re cleaning your coats, take out every single coat, if you’re clearing your bookshelves, take out every book. In my experience, this can easily become overwhelming and lead to more clutter that lasts a long time, because people bite off more than they can chew. Know yourself.

    2.  She advises having a joyful relationship with every item you own.

    She recommends asking yourself whether an item “sparks joy.” This is a terrific question, and can be very helpful. But I don’t think I can realistically expect to have a joyful relationship with every item in my apartment. I find it exhausting even to contemplate having an emotional reaction to so many common objects. It’s true, though, that for many people, “spark joy” has been a revelation. Know yourself.

    3. She advises clearing clutter alone and in quiet.

    For me, that’s very true. For many people, it’s helpful to have a clutter-clearing partner. Another person can help with the grunt work, give advice about what to keep or discard, and can make a chore more fun. Know yourself.

    4. She suggests taking everything out of your handbag, every day.

    This would not be a good use of my time or energy, and I don’t think it would achieve anything. On the other hand, when Elizabeth and I talked about “the challenge of switching bags” in episode 55 of our podcast Happier, many listeners let me know that they followed Marie Kondo’s suggestion, with great success. Know yourself.

    5. She suggests going big and doing a giant purge rather than tackling a little clutter each day.

    But, as I write about in Better Than Before, some people like to start big, and some like to start small. It’s exhilarating, and highly productive, to tackle a big, one-time goal, and a clean slate is powerful — it’s also true that we can get a lot done, by doing a little bit each day over a long term. Know yourself.

    6. She says that the best time to start is early morning.

    That’s true if you’re a morning person, but I doubt that’s true if you’re a night person. Know yourself.

    7. She suggests that folding is the best way to store most clothes.

    She’s a big proponent of folding — and a very particular method of folding. I myself just can’t handle that high level of commitment to folding.

    Know yourself. Use what works for you.

    The problem arises when you beat yourself up for not being able to do things the KonMari way, “the right way.” When it comes to clearing clutter, there is no right way, only what’s right for you.

    “When it comes to clearing clutter, there is no right way, only what’s right for you.”

    Click to tweet

    Don’t get me wrong. I love Marie Kondo’s book. I found it thought-provoking, helpful, and engaging. The minute I finished the book, for example, I got rid of a million coats.

    Here’s the thing. As I was writing Better Than Before, it seemed so obvious to me that there’s no one “right” way or “best” way to change habits. So why, then, do so many experts assert that they’d found the one true way?

    There’s something about human nature…when it comes to getting advice, we love to be given the true plan, the precise template that’s going to reveal exact directions to success.

    And when it comes to giving advice, it’s easy to assume that because some strategy works well for us, other people will use it with equal success.

    But it’s always a matter of the individual.

    I learned a lot of little things from Marie Kondo, but there was one big thing I learned: that we should stay grateful for our possessions — for having served us well, for embodying someone else’s affection for us in the form of a gift, or for giving us a thrill upon purchase. An “attitude of gratitude,” for even inanimate objects, makes us happier. I know that I’ve never let go of an old laptop without taking a moment to think, “Farewell, my old friend, we’ve had some great times together, but now it’s time for you to rest.”

    The relationship between possessions and happiness! One of the most fascinating themes I’ve ever studied.

    Did you read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up? What KonMari Method strategies worked for you — or not?

    The post 7 Reasons I Disagree with Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
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