Marie Kondo is a Japanese organizing consultant, who is transforming the lives of people across the globe. And honestly, I’m slightly obsessed. I totally got sucked into her show on Netflix.
And my friends are eating this stuff up, too!
They're folding things. Organizing their kids rooms. Posting memes on Facebook "But does it spark joy?" They're even thanking items for being rad, and letting them go.
If you haven’t heard of her, here’s the quick + dirty:
In 2012 her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing was published and she set off a decluttering + tidying up craze across the globe.
If you want to work with her directly, you'll be on quite the wait list.
So in the mean time, her book breaks down her radical, two-part approach to decluttering + tidying up your home:
First, you hold an item in your hands (clothes, books, pots + pans, you name it), then you ask yourself if it sparks joy, and if it doesn’t, thank it for its service and get rid of it.
Second, once you've got only the items that spark joy, you tidy up by putting every item in a place where it’s visible, accessible, and easy to grab and then put back.
The idea is that you never really have to clean again and you can experience personal harmony in your home.
This got me thinking ...
What would happen if we applied these principles to our most intimate relationships?
Is it possible to Tidy Up + Declutter our relationships to experience relational harmony?
And the answer is, YES! Yes it is.
If we can maintain the order, harmony, peace + flow of our homes by strategically tidying + decluttering, then we definitely do this in our relationships.
Here are just a few ways you can declutter + tidy up your relationship to experience relational nirvana.
(okay, maybe that's a bit dramatic. But a girl's gotta have goals.)
1. Focus on themes, not topics.
Tidying up, according to Kondo isn't about tackling your house room by room, it's about starting with categories, not an entire room. She suggests starting with clothes or books, not a your bedroom. Applying this to your relationship would mean, the next time you find yourself feeling angry, lonely or disconnected from your partner due to a recent argument or misunderstanding, ask yourself, "Have I felt this feeling before? What does this remind me of?" When you are able to identify themes in your conflicts, you have a better chance of being able to move through the discomfort/disconnection from a place of loving curiosity rather than a place of anger. Rather than just focusing on the topic of one particular fight. You can speak to how you're feeling and what you need in the moment.
2. Get curious about your partner's feelings.
This sounds pretty straight forward. But when you hear how Marie Kondo asks you you consider your clothing’s feelings, something shifts. She suggests looking in your closet and asking: "Are they happy being squashed in a corner shelf or crowded onto hangers? Are your bras really excited to hold up the girls all day when they're shoved in a drawer?" Sounds kind of ridiculous until you notice how totally miserable your clothes look. Applying this to your relationship will require you to slow down + not only notice your partner's mood + feelings, but to get curious with them. Tidying up your relationship, means getting to know your partner even deeper. Their struggles, their joys, and all that's between.
3. Identify the story + ditch the rest.
I'm yet to meet someone who only owns things that "spark joy" so why would we expect to find ONLY joy in our partners? What's important about this step, is to see if you can apply the process of identifying the story you make up about your partner, just like you do with the items in your home. We all have stories associated with experiences, that's how you feel joy, sadness, anger, excitement, etc. Just like picking up that cute sequenced dress you wore last New Years Eve, and letting the joyful memories flood your brain, you can do the same with your relationship. When your partner arrives home late, without a phone call or text, ask yourself "What am I making up about this?" Are you assuming they don't care about you? Do you imagine they are off doing better things? Does it bring back memories of past hurts? Once you can identify what you're making up about it, you can start to release it, and have a conversation about what you need or getting curious about what happened to keep them contacting you?
4. Rekindle the Spark.
Desire. Curiosity. Excitement. JOY. You're the only one who is responsible for the spark in your heart. But it takes both of you to spark (or kindle the spark) in your relationship. What do you know about your partner, in how they experience sparks? Do they love hearing compliments on how delicious dinner was? Do they get excited when date nights pop up on the calendar? Do they grin when they are asked to share about a current project they're working on? Maybe they melt with just the smell of your body next to theirs. Pick one thing a day, that you know will ignite the spark and do it. With love.
Because if you've been feeling frustrated, disconnected or maybe even downright right pissed off at your partner, sometimes you just need a little tidying up.
If you'd like help decluttering + tidying up your relationship, CLICK HERE and let's get the sparks flying!