The Obsession with Marie Kondo: Mental Health Benefits of Decluttering

If you haven’t watched the Netflix docuseries “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo”, you have missed the bandwagon my friends. The benefits of decluttering are center stage. I must admit, I binge watched it in two evenings. No shame, and it has quickly become quite the trend since its launch. Local thrift stores have even noticed an uptick in donations that are unseasonal, and some are connecting this growth to everyone “Marie Kondo”ing their homes

decluttering and mental health
There is an impact of your mental health when you simplify your life

The show breakdown-

If you have no idea what I am talking about here is the concept. Marie Kondo is a beautiful, peaceful almost pixy-like woman. Each episode she enters a new family’s home. Meanwhile the viewers are getting insight into the stress and clutter in home from the family’s perspective. Marie enters the home, and sits on the floor. She takes a moment of silence to “introduce herself” to the home. Soon she introduces her technique to get rid of the clutter, the “Kon-Mari” method. Concepts like putting all of your belongings out and in the open so you can visually see how much you have, deciding if your belongings “spark joy” for you, and thanking items that no longer serve you. The single most satisfying part of the show, is seeing the transformations of the homes and hearing how less clutter has improved the family’s quality of life.

There is a valid reason why so many American’s are being impacted by the simple concept of decluttering their homes. You feel better with less stuff.

Let’s think about the constant marketing in American culture, we can’t even log onto instagram without seeing people who are in our circle of friends try to sell us things. We live in a culture of “buy this”, “this will make you happy” and “you need this to make changes”. All of this stuff ADDS up.

There is a subtle shift where all the things you purchased because you felt at the time you needed it to be happy, successful or healthy turns on you. It now has become another item in your home to manage. It is a tiny little microstress that no one really notices. Its one more pair of shoes in the closet, or one more coffee mug which is really not a big deal until you multiply that by hundreds.

brown shopping bags
If we don’t define our personal values with our purchases, we allow our culture to do it for us.

We are fooled into believing that purchasing items will improve our life when in reality it is adding the stress of having to manage, clean, organize, and chose between yet another object in our home.

Do you understand now why it feels so good to look at the before and afters? Do you understand why it feels so good to look at your newly trimmed down closet?

With every item you remove, you are getting rid of a tiny little responsibly of an item you took on. The benefit of decluttering is less anxiety. At the end, when you realize how much you have lightened that load… it feels so good.

I love the emotional component to this show for the following reasons:

  1. Marie Kondo’s introduction to the home is a beautiful moment. It is a quiet reminder that a home is so much more than the things in it. It is a reminder that what happens within the protection of these walls, is the joy. Her seeming “communication” with the home emphasizes that the environment you live your life in matters.
  2. Marie encouraged thanking objects that no longer serve you. Somethings are easier to get rid of than others. It is a moment where you can acknowledge the memory or the purpose it served your life. What a freaking wonderful practice for your entire life! Sometimes we grow out of friendships, jobs or relationships, “Kon-Mari” it. Thank it for what it has taught you, the memories you have and say GOOD BYE.
  3. The ending. Every home saw the mental health benefit of decluttering. Relationships improved. Arguments diminished. Stress was released. It is a beautiful reminder of what really matters in life.
apartment bed bedroom chair
Your home should be a place of peace and simplicity, not stress and anxiety

How to sustain the goodness of Marie Kondo:

Marie Kondo did a beautiful job forcing us to reevaluate what it is that brings us joy and providing us a safe and emotionally supportive way to say good bye, but now what?

If you keep on with your life as normal… you will be doing this all over again in 4 months.  If you apply some of these principles to your purchasing, you can sustain the change.

Questions to ask yourself before buying ANYTHING:

  • Does this spark joy? (Thanks Marie)
  • Am I willing to take on the stress and responsibility of owning this?
  • Do I want to buy this because of strong emotions? (reflection on if this purchase is a temporary solution to a temporary emotion)
  • Do I believe this will make my life better? Will it actually?

Bottom line, the Kon-Mari Method is great, but if we don’t sustain it, we will go right back into our old habits and all that added stress. Have you “Kon-Mari”ed your home? What was the experience like? Share any impact if had on your emotional well being and family below!

About the author:<br><a href=""><span class="uppercase">A</span>shley Rodrigues</a>, Therapist
About the author:
Ashley Rodrigues, Therapist

Ashley is a licensed mental health therapist and life coach practicing in Denver, CO. She specializes in perinatal mental health and working with women as they navigate the journey of growing their families.

Ashley works with clients virtually worldwide, Fill out the contact form to learn more about working with Ashley. For urgent support use the Postpartum Support International Hotline and for crisis please dial your local emergency line.

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