Mindfully De-clutter Your Small Space
Far from being an urban myth, small space living is fast becoming a way of life for millions of householders across the globe. A variety of factors including a growing population, land shortages and higher numbers of single person/couple dwellings (as well as a demand across the board for affordable housing) means that small homes are now the reality for many of us. Urban dwellers in New York, Tokyo and London are embracing micro-homes – a term coined by Marlynn Wei in her Urban Survival blog featured on psychologytoday.com.
She says: “city dweller are all too familiar with the problem of making small spaces work… There is no routine or natural occasion to review discarded objects.” Her solution to this challenge comes in the form of New York Times number one bestseller The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering & Organising by Marie Kondo. Based on principles of meditation, feng shui and mindfulness, this is a must-read for small space dwellers. We select a handful of her tidying myths as debunked by Marlynn Wei…
Myth #1. Cleaning a little each day is effective
Kondo points out that this common misconception leads to a constant unending cycle of tidying and does not alter one’s mindset. She instead recommends one concentrated effort or a tidying festival.
Myth #6. There is no specific order to tidying
Kondo’s method outlines a clear and distinct order of tidying. Her method parallels exposure therapy methods for those with hoarding or anxiety disorders – start with categories of objects that are less stressful to discard and end with the most challenging. She strongly discourages starting with categories of objects that have sentimental attachment because it is the most challenging to part with.
Myth #7. Whether I should keep an object depends on how potentially useful it is
Kondo’s standard for whether to discard an object is not tied with a formulaic calculation of its current, past or future use. She focuses on one’s intuitive emotional connection to the object – the sense of joy that it brings to our lives. Her method is aligned with the central tenets of the positive psychology of goal setting, which focuses on highlighting strengths over weaknesses: “We should be choosing what we want to keep, not what we want to get rid of.” Connecting with feelings of hope and optimism and keeping objects that spark joy is more effective than an approach based on getting rid of negative objects
Myth #10. It’s just the space that I live in, nothing more
Living spaces are a reflection of one’s mind, mood and the care we take of ourselves. In turn, a cluttered space can exacerbate a frenetic mind and generate a sense of unease. You likely work less effectively or are more distracted if your work space is cluttered. Building a calm and grounding space in your home and at work builds a strong foundation to centre yourself in general. Kondo observes: “your real life begins after putting your house in order.”
Wei concludes: “With living spaces around the world becoming increasingly smaller, the need for decluttering grows ever more pressing. Kondo’s method allows us to consider with intention and awareness how we can surround ourselves in a way that brings us joy. After discarding unnecessary items and tidying your home, you might just find yourself lighter and with an improved sense of clarity. Let the tidying festival begin!
Futon Company says: The idea that savvy storage solutions can bring order to small spaces is no myth. Check out our oak leaning furniture which works well alone or as part of a modular system for storage and display. What’s more, it’s light and portable and can be easily moved around your space.