When Feng Shui meets Marie Kondo
Don’t keep water in your bedroom, don’t clutter the space under your bed, use yellow for kitchen decor. I bet you’ve heard it all when it comes to Feng Shui, right?
It’s not that I don’t like it, I actually love the idea that the energy of our everyday spaces influences our life so much, but I was never able to put the damn thing into practice. Dividing my house in a grid with 9 different spaces? Let alone organizing my room this way? You must be kidding me, or you must have never met a 28-years-old woman with 4 cats and a passion for clothes and books.
Come on admit it… how many times have you tried to declutter your space? How many times did you fall into the same cluttering schemes again and again? How many times did you fail miserably?
Not even Feng Shui can help you with this. You can have all the Feng Shui experts coming to your place, you can read all the Feng Shui articles you can find and you can buy all the books in your bookshop, but still… Clutter is like dust: it comes back if you don’t know how to keep it out (and keep it in check).
I think you’re starting to see where I’m going with this article, because everyone is talking about it and like the freak I am, I wasn’t going to miss out on trying this method, too. Madames et monsieurs, where all other methods failed, KonMari triumphed!
The KonMari Method
You can buy the book if you want (“The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing”) but the whole book is just a story to try to convince you that the method works. I can tell you from my experience that it actually does, and that you don’t need to read the whole book to know how to make it work (unless you want to know a little bit about Marie Kondo herself, which is kind of interesting and put things into perspective). I decluttered my space after reading her book: it’s been months, and things are still pretty tidy. Huge, right?
The basics of the KonMari method:
- You throw away anything that you don’t love anymore. The KonMari method is groundbreaking because it has nothing to do with the idea of “needing” something. You don’t have to keep the things you need, you have to keep the things you love.
- You declutter per categories, not per spaces. So you don’t declutter your walk-in closet and then leave the shoe rack in the hall for some other day. If you are decluttering shoes today, you take out all the shoes you own, spread them on the floor, and start “feeling” them one by one. The ones that don’t give you any emotions, or give you negative emotions, must go.
- The order to follow is: clothes come first, because she says clothes are the thing we’re least emotionally attached (Marie, this is the only thing where you went horribly wrong. But that’s a story for a whole other post). Then come the shoes, the accessories, books, all other categories of stuff and last, the memories. Obviously, the memories are left at the end because those are the things you’re most attached to and will be hard to part with.
That’s it. No weird techniques, no leaving “maybe” stuff in a pile for months, no starting with a drawer and leaving the rest for the next season. It’s just you and your things, one at a time. You pick it up, you hold it in your hands and you ask yourself: “Does this makes me happy?” – If it doesn’t, it has to go.
Where Feng Shui Comes into Play
When you operate a huge decluttering such as the one Marie Kondo suggests, you’re bound to redecorate or at least, reorganize your space. Before reading the book, I was quite into Feng Shui and I found some basic analogies in the two methods. First and foremost, the clutter. Both absolutely loathe it. Second, the idea that your home should be a place where energy flows freely, positive energy stays and negative energy can find its way out quickly. Also, the fact that everything must have its place, which in Feng Shui is guided by the famous Bagua grids like the one below. Ideally, the red side should be facing South.
Now, how to turn this graphic grid into something tangible? Here are a few tips on how to decorate and organize your room following the Bagua grid above.
- Water represents wealth in Feng Shui. Place a small fountain in the career area and make sure water pours towards the center of your house: this will bring prosperity and not drive it away. For the same reason, you should always keep your toilet lid and your bathroom door closed.
- Keep some images that remind you of prosperity in the abundance corner. Remember to keep it tidy: here are some gallery wall ideas to help you with it.
- Place anything in pair in the relationship area (even if it’s just two flowers of the same kind in a nice vase).
- Organize your space so that your bookcase is in the knowledge area. A nice chair where you can sit and read or study comfortably is also a good idea here.
- Use the travel area to show your travel memories, posters of places you want to go, a globe or a world map. This one can easily turn in the most interesting corner of your space!
As to how to keep everything tidy, Marie Kondo says that the power of throwing away stuff in bulk is enough to keep you from being drowned in your own clutter again in a few months. But she also gives us a few tips in order to keep things tidy.
- Instead of folding clothes horizontally, fold them vertically. There’s no way to explain these in words, I had to go on YouTube and watch the video above to understand what she was talking about. My drawers are still looking perfect after months; trust me, this had never happened before (I think she’s a witch or something, maybe a skilled hypnotist).
- Hang as many clothes as you can. Hang them from the heaviest to the lightest, from the darkest to the lightest and from the longer to the shorter. Same thing for your drawers.
- Each thing you own must have its own place. There’s no exception to this rule, not even for the bag you use every day and the things that are in your bag. In one chapter she tells about how she empties her bag every evening, puts her wallet in her drawer, keys on the shelf, other stuff in designated boxes or shelves, and her bag in her wardrobe. Every. Single. Day.
- There must be no place for clutter: no clutter drawer, no hiding stuff under the bed, no boxes where “mixed” stuff goes. Those are horrible pitfalls.
Phew, this was a long post but I hope it helped you with your decluttering and reorganizing! How do you keep your space decluttered, organized and most of all, a place that you love? Let us know in a comment below!
About the Author
Hey, it's Elisa, founder of styleonvega.com. I'm a social media strategist & consultant by day and blogger by night (honing my multitasking skills since 2006 ;). I'm an atypical Italian, freedom lifestyle advocate and modern spirituality enthusiast. Feel like we could get along? Join me just above this box or get in touch with me on Facebook or Twitter.