John Lennon asked us to imagine “no possessions”. Marie Kondo wants us to only keep items that spark joy.
To keep or not to keep? To have or not to have?
The KonMari and Minimalism approaches seem to have a lot in common on the first look, but how similar are they really?
KonMari – Live a life that sparks joy
The KonMari Method promotes to only keep items that “spark joy”. This way, at the end of the process, you will have eliminated all objects that drag you down and will find yourself surrounded exclusively by things that uplift you and make you happy. As tidying guru Marie Kondo says: “The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life". Obviously, with this method, it’s possible that you will be left with only a fracture of the belongings you had before.
During my work as Professional Organizing Consultant, I have seen people getting rid of 70% of their clothing and carry out trash bag after trash bag with belongings that did not have that joy factor.
Minimalism – Freedom from the chase after possessions
Just like the KonMari Method, Minimalism starts as an internal process. It means to limit one’s belongings to only the items that are absolutely needed. It also means to not depend on consumerism for one’s happiness, but to search for it within oneself. Minimalists often describe the process and end result as extremely liberating, putting an end to the constant chase for the newest outfits, the latest gadgets and knick-knacks. Instead, a minimalist lifestyle fosters the creation of connections outside of the world of objects and to value the things that are kept even more.
Is the discussion of KonMari VS Minimalism one about joy vs utility?
What the KonMari Method and Minimalism have in common is that a great value is attributed to the belonging we decide to keep. With less stuff around, we can finally pay more attention on those things that we kept around. We feel less bad about that cocktail dress with the price tag still on, which has been hanging in our closet for a year. Instead, we get a great value out of the things we have. They also share the idea of getting rid of things that do not represent our life philosophy: for KonMari fans that means all items that do not fit into the ideal life we envision for ourselves. For Minimalists, it means all unnecessary items, in order to live with the minimum.
One of the great differences is that the KonMari Method does not limit the number of items a person can or should keep. If yellow raincoats spark joy in you, feel free to keep more than one in your wardrobe! In Minimalism, there are hardly any duplicate items: you will most likely find only one raincoat in a minimalist’s closet. According to Minimalist philosophy, items do no equal happiness. We must find happiness outside of materialism and not depend on consumerism to lift us up.
However, in the face of limiting one’s belonging to the absolute minimum, it is very likely that a minimalist would pick items that spark some sort of joy. For Marie Kondo, it is about identifying which items can have that effect on us and train us to make wiser purchase decision in the future.
Whatever method you decide to go with, the good news is: in both cases you will end up with a clutter-free space!