Why minimalism matters
By now you've almost certainly heard of Marie Kondo, minimalism and the question of whether something sparks joy.
To bring you up to speed, in case you haven't, Marie Kondo is a Japanese organising consultant who has taken the world by storm with her Konmari method as promulgated by her books that have sold millions of copies, as well as a her very popular show on Netflix.
Konmari is a way of organising that proposes arranging by category, rather than by room for example, and comprises gathering all your possessions in that category and then only keeping the items that "spark joy" and eliminating the rest.
"The popularity of this method is certainly thanks to its simplicity and the way it naturally encourages you to confront an object (or even a belief or idea) in a satisfyingly straightforward way," Belinda Sofianos, principal at Leapfrog Johannesburg South/Alberton believes.
But I like my stuff...
Why go for a minimalist home? Because your home is a house and not a storage facility. It's a space for relaxing, recharging, living and making memories with your loved ones.
"Experts agree that we've reached peak consumption, which perhaps explains why minimalism has emerged as a sort of antidote to the chaos of the excess and always-on way of life that we've become so accustomed to," Sofianos explains.
There is no denying that this is a great way to bring order, structure and serenity into your home. "Who doesn't want to live in a beautiful, ordered home? It's also about showing respect and appreciation for an asset that you work very hard for," Sofianos says.
So if everybody is talking about it, what's so great about it and how can you make it work for you in your home. "The first thing to understand is that minimalism and the Konmari method is not about getting rid of 75% of your possession, or living in a colourless, sparsely furnished space without window covers," Sofianos jokes.
"Minimalism is a lifestyle choice. It's a way of living that seeks to constantly eliminate the things that you don't need, don't use and that simply doesn't spark joy.
Can a pair of kitchen scissors spark joy?
The short answer is "probably not" but while a pair of scissors might not spark joy, per se, a pair of scissors that are blunt or broken can cause a lot of frustration, which suggests by default that a decent, functioning pair of scissors can in fact spark joy.
While the example of the scissors might be taking the "spark joy" movement a tad too far, the point is really just to demonstrate that the point of minimalism is to only have things that are either useful or beautiful in our homes.
Short of tossing everything, where do I start?
Very simply by being mindful and intentional.Mindfulness is something of a buzzword at the moment, but it simply means being intentional about the things you do and allow in your home.
In some cases this may start with a large-scale clean and toss (by category, of course!), and in other cases it might simply mean a mindshift, a change in the way you think about the things you bring into your home, or choose to keep in your home.
Take a moment
Kondo's method and approach recognises that many people find parting with their possessions to be particularly difficult. "For so many of us our possessions represents so much of what we value, what we're willing to work for and what we aspire to be, but this is exactly Kondo's point. In this process we also allow a lot of other things, things that don't necessarily form part of that vision, to accumulate in our homes and to clutter not just our rooms but also our headspace," XX believes.
The practical pleasures
If one delves deeper into the minimalist way of way, you're likely to be confronted with some deep-seated attitudes towards money, possessions, lifestyle and more, but on a practical level there are countless benefits to this of way.
"The less you have the less you have to worry about, and the less you have to clean and organise and arrange," Sofianos explains. It's almost impossible to explain to somebody how much headspace our possessions take up until we choose to discard them if they don't serve us anymore, but once you part with those things you'll feel lighter thanks to the metaphorical load that has been lifted.
An easy way to start is simply to be more strict about the things you bring into your home. And to consider getting rid of everything you haven't used in the past six months.
"Minimalism is about having the space and the time to enjoy and appreciate the things you love and value, and doing in surroundings that please, pleasure and calm you!" Sofianos concludes.