Tidying is therapy: 6 self-discoveries of konmari
I have observed that each category of konmari tidying is its own therapeutic self-discovery. So if your konmari is stalling out, it could be that you have not completely absorbed the self-discovery found in each category of your stuff.
So, what are those 6 therapeutic self-discoveries?
#1 Clothes category (first category): how you have dealt with scarcity: the real kind and the perceived kind.
Sometimes, the real scarcity early in life kicks off a no-longer-needed perceived scarcity for the rest of our lives. However, for many of us, we have enough clothes throughout our lives, even when we have a select few clothes. When someone tells me that nothing in their closet brings them joy, I know with 90% certainty that they have not even started their konmari yet. Your concern about not having anything to wear should tip you off as to how little you know your clothes inventory.
#2 The clothes category of konmari also teaches us that our discard mistakes are not only survivable but embraced.
When you “survive” a discarding mistake in clothing, it frees you to make decisions throughout the remaining tidying categories without fear. After this lesson, fewer physical objects have the “power” to make you uneasy that you can’t live without them.
#3 Konmari-ing books tells you who you are.
With only your true joy-sparking books on your shelves, you can read the titles on their spines and say “yes, that is me!” Konmari-ing books leads to insightful breakthroughs in living in the present.
Did you save too many books as you konmari-ed them? You will know if you struggle or stall in the rest of your konmari. This is because, instead of sending one person into your konmari, you are sending three: the present you, the past you, and the future you. None of you three will agree on anything, I guarantee it.
Knowing who you are TODAY powers you through the remaining categories in paper, miscellaneous and sentimental.
#4 Papers konmari teaches you your basic responsibilities in life.
It’s all the “ughs” of life: paying bills, tracking family paperwork, handling personal business. It is the essentials that have to get done for the household to work. And it is boring, isn’t it? but knowing what those responsibilities are is the first step towards being our best selves.
If we take the self-discovery of having enough (from clothes) and of knowing who we are (from books) into our papers category, the processing of each page in that snowdrift of paper just goes so much more smoothly, wouldn’t you agree?
#5 Komono (miscellaneous) helps you discover how you want to spend your time.
In a tidy home, you will find you no longer need some of your longtime hobbies. Why? They are your coping mechanisms to escape the mess. After konmari, your spare time will be filled with your brand of fun, not your brand of escape. Does that sound complicated to you? It’s not. Intensely focus on your komono category, stay faithful to the konmari method and this will develop naturally.
#6 For sentimental categories, the primary therapy is that you process your past (from The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up).
Methodically evaluating each photo and memento brings emotional balance to your life. This emotional balance is offered in no other konmari category. Your insights will come in a private, gentle way. (And if you must think practically: It is far cheaper than professional counseling too.) This is your chance to right-size your photo collection. To face down unfavorable memories. To discard things that should not be left behind after you leave this world. Best of all, these “tasks” are completed on your timetable and directly under your control. This processing seems nearly impossible when you view it from a distance. But it will not be as nearly as monumental as you once thought as you get closer.