Omnipresent Japanese tidying guru, Marie Kondo, has taken the world by storm in her new Netflix series, where she sets out to de-clutter the nation. Using the ‘KonMari’ to show householders how to de-clutters their homes which had the added benefit of also clearing the mind.
In her 2014 book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying, she said: “When you put your house in order, you put your affairs and your past in order too. As a result, you can see quite clearly what you need and what you don’t, and what you should and shouldn’t do.”
Kondo says you should ask yourself whether everything in your possession ‘sparks joy’ and if something doesn’t you should ask yourself whether it is really needed.
She’s not alone in encouraging people to tidy up their homes and lives – Sophie Hinchcliffe, who has branded herself ‘Mrs Hinch’, has 1.7 million online followers (her ‘hinch army’), making the Essex hairdresser one of the best known ‘cleanfluencers’. Her chatty videos show her in action cleaning her immaculate home, and she has even developed a new cleaning vocabulary based on her name: ‘hinching’ (cleaning), ‘hinch haul’ (buying new products).
The ‘Queen of Clean’ (aka Lynsey Crombie) has 104,000 followers, ‘The Organised Mum’ (Gemma Bray) has 135,000, ‘Clean Mama’ (Becky Rapinchuk) has 275,000 – but Melissa Maker blows them out of the dishwater with over a million subscribers to her YouTube channel, ‘Clean my Space’. There is no shortage of online cleaning influencers willing to let you watch them cleaning their homes, from bedrooms to toilets, in the name of entertainment (and perhaps celebrity).
“Possession clutter has a strong negative impact on psychological home and perceived well-being”
So says professor of psychology at Chicago’s DePaul University, Joseph Ferrari, who agrees that it makes sense for a tidy home to equal a tidy mind. He even thinks that we should go further than Marie recommends, after carrying out his involvement in the 2016 study, The Dark Side of Home. He found that the more clutter a person has within their home, the more dissatisfied they are with their life in general. Clutter could even lower productivity. This is attributed to the feeling of being overwhelmed and with ‘too much to do’, often resulting in procrastination which in turn exacerbates the problem and makes it harder to tackle.
Where to begin?
Newly-named system ‘Inbox Zero’ aims to solve the ever-increasing number of emails we manage, by aiming to end every day with a clear inbox. It might seem impossible when we are constantly inundated with emails but it can have a positive effect on your mental health. Sorting, deleting and forwarding every message you have during the day can help you relax and keep you on top of jobs that need to be done.
One of Kondo’s methods has come under fire from book lovers as she suggests you should have only 30 books in your home that you really love and people can get overwhelmed if they have too many.
Of course, you don’t have to de-clutter every part of your life in one go, which in itself could be overwhelming for most of us. Perhaps it would be more beneficial to de-clutter your life, rather than minimise the number of items in your home. After all, a hectic lifestyle spent balancing home, work and family, can be overwhelming in terms of the demand on our time.
For some people, simply having a messy desk is not the end of the world, but a little bit of de-cluttering can still be of benefit and, if a tidier home really does lead to more peace of mind, then perhaps it’s worth a try!
When you’re investing in property, big or small, it’s easy to overlook the condition and structural elements of your new home – especially if the property is full of clutter. Why not challenge an independent Chartered Surveyor to provide you with a Building Survey to help you see through the trees to the wood beneath.