“Tidying can transform your life.” This is the beguiling promise from Japanese decluttering evangelist Marie Kondo. Around 11 million people have bought her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and millions more have tuned in to watch her in action on Netflix in the hope of learning how to emulate Kondo’s brand of minimalistic bliss.
Her “KonMari” method of decluttering is straightforward – tidy your home by category instead of by room, pull everything out before sorting it out, take in the full horror of your materialism, and keep only things that are useful or “spark joy”. Nothing is safe from her mission to reduce the amount of stuff in our lives – clothes, kitchen utensils, paperwork and most controversially, books, are sifted through, assessed and discarded.
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Kondo is far from the only one advocating this simpler, tidier lifestyle. In the UK, Sophie Hinchliffe, better known as Mrs Hinch, has been demonstrating to her Instagram followers and TV viewers how having a cleaner, tidier home can lead to a better life, while in California, professional organiser Beth Penn has written a book and set up her own company to help people sort out their stuff. There are dozens of other books and decluttering services to be found with a quick search of the internet.