Does it spark joy?
Many things break the internet these days — one of which is Netflix’s newest star Marie Kondo who gets helpless clients out of their mess (literally and figuratively) with her KonMari method.
Halfway into the series, and I thought Kondo would make an ideal clutter consultant for our home. Yeah, the place that you seek comfort and shelter in at the end of a long day. But I’m also referring to our one and only shared home that is Earth.
Have you realised how seemingly easy it was for Marie to make people believe that something irksome (honestly, who loves tidying) could be enjoyable? Which is why we are seriously considering the KonMari method to “tidy up” our planet — before it’s too late.
Marie, help us.
#1 Cherish everything you have
If there is one thing we could all learn from Kondo, it’s her appreciation for everything. Before the tidying process starts, she would invite her clients to kneel, close their eyes, and think about how the house has provided a safe haven for years. To which some responded with tears in their eyes.
If you think about what nature has done for you (it provides, heals, protects, feeds), you’d probably realise that we haven’t exactly appreciated it as much as we should. Proof: we’ve lost 60% of biodiversity over the last 40 years. Do we need further proof before we start being grateful, and take action?
#2 The process is your own journey
No matter how high the pile of clothes, or how impossibly dirty a place is, Kondo has never made her clients feel hopeless. Faced with a Christmas-loving, nutcracker-doll-hoarding client, the solution was to buy less when most would’ve just trashed the stuff.
Your lifestyle choices are, too, your own journey. To use plastic bags or say no; to eat meat or not at all. Truth is, there is no silver bullet for the demands of a world bursting at its seams (must we wear that ivory bangle?). One thing is for sure though: we need to get smarter with the use of our planet’s resources. This means consuming more sustainably, reducing your plastic usage, and more.
#3 Your joy will increase as you start your routine
“Your sensitivity to joy will heighten as you begin your process in tidying up,” Kondo promises. This starts as soon as we see the benefits that we can reap from keeping what we love (and getting rid of what we don’t).
Having forests in view from the city, rising wild tiger numbers in some places, cleaner oceans to protect marine lives. Can taking action to keep or even restore what we love spark more joy?
With every episode always ending with clients beaming about the results of decluttering — a happier marriage, a satisfying home — I say it’s worth more than a try.
#4 De-cluttering is contagious
It is perfectly logical to follow the lifestyle of someone whom you look up to. According to Kondo, her two adorable children love folding too (say what?).
“It’s joyful to tidy so my kids love it too,” is her answer to how-to-do-it-with-two-toddlers. It is easy to scoff at this — but watching how her client’s children do it seems… doable.
It’s important for us to educate the young ones and live by example. This ensures that our next generation will be people with presence, future leaders with a voice and the vivacity to inspire others (see how you can join us as a Panda Ambassador here).
#5 Confronting how much you have makes you realise what you need to do
Only when we recognise how rapid our natural resources are disappearing can we stop procrastinating and take action. One of our favourite ideas behind Kondo’s technique is keeping your things in such a way that everything can be seen. This way, we buy less clothes, reduce food waste and more.
Clear storage boxes and life-changing folding techniques never felt better. If there was a planetary equivalent to this magic of tidying up, I’d call it science. In the last few months alone, we’ve had the latest climate and biodiversity reports tell us the solution: we have just 12 years to turn things around. Which brings me to…
#6 Don’t mope around, get into action
Kondo’s advice to a family struggling to reduce the tension in his house: “It might take a few difficult days, but you will get there.”
Right, getting our planet in order by 2030 is an ambitious goal which we are working hard towards. It’s only human to feel overwhelmed when confronted with messy kitchens or a planet of problems. The process may be challenging, but our ongoing work to conserve and protect nature will get us there.
#7 We need everyone in the family to make it work
Yup, that’s us. The individuals, the businesses, the governments. A personal favourite, the third episode features a family finding difficulty turning their new downsized house into a home. Kondo attributes it to the mother not sharing the load, taking it all upon herself to tidy up everything, from the laundry to her children’s toys. When the family members started to take ownership of their own roles and belongings, the problems were solved.
We need to stop pushing the responsibility between individuals, businesses and the government. Everyone needs to step up and take action for a problem we will share with the next 16 generations: no plastics in nature by 2030.
Main image credit: @konmari.co’s Instagram and ©Greg Armfield