Monday, May 18, 2015

Konmari decluttering

Cleaning in Japan

Some tourists from abroad find the cities in Japan relatively clean. Some people get surprised that in schools, kids usually clean their class rooms on their own. Japanese might have a keen sense in cleaning. However, it is not always the case. I’m not good at keeping my room neat actually. My grandparents’ and parents’ generations don’t seem to be good at throwing things away. It is because they experienced the time where they were short on things during and right after the world war. My grandma kept even used gift-wrapping paper. Some households are filled to capacity with material possessions.

Konmari

Some of you might already heard of the name, Kondo Marie, or KonMari. She is an organizing consultant and her book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” has got No.1 at amazon best seller ranking.
http://www.amazon.com/The-Life-Changing-Magic-Tidying-Decluttering/dp/1607747308/ref=zg_bs_books_1
Her method is that you keep only the things that spark joy and you get rid of the other stuff. You do it by categories; clothing, books and so on. You collect all of your items in the same category into one space. You pick up one by one from the pile and determine if it really sparks joy. You will realize that expensive things or new items are not always valuable to you. How do I know about it? I actually practiced her method and decluttered my home last year.


Zen saying

When I read her books, I recalled two Zen saying in my mind‏.
知足 or chisoku; Realizing that you already have enough.
People tend to want things that they don’t really need. If you know what and how much you need, you can always live in great satisfaction.
放下着 or hogechaku; Throw things away.
By discarding unnecessary things, precious things to you emerge. You can feel the lightness and briskness, you will realize that your own naked self is more than enough.

Enhancing what you really care for

The best benefit from Konmaring is that I feel really good about not possessing too many things or being free from things. I think Konmari is borrowing the ideas from Zen and Shinto. By Konmari’s organizing, you can have the exhilarating experience like Zen. I feel intoxicated at my closet that has one third of clothes that I used to have. It is only filled with the brightest clothes now. Certainly, they have been always in the closet but they had a low profile buried in other clothes. Purging the things that you don’t need enhances what you really care about. This kind of spirit can be an important hidden theme of chanoyu. For instance, we don’t display many flowers in the tea room. We borrow only a few flowers from the fields that one thinks really appealing. That is why even though the arrangement is simple, it looks so brilliant. You can be spiritually full filled without a lot of materials. Actually, it might be even better not to have many. I guess this idea leads to Wabi-Sabi.

Try organizing your home and experience Wabi-Sabi yourself. You can get a highly-sensitive space for chanoyu.

Konmari website: http://konmari.com/en/

28 comments:

  1. You know, this part of Zen and the way the tearoom is simply decorated reminded me of something yesterday. A Noh troupe came to visit from Japan I went to one workshop they gave yesterday. One thing they said about Noh and Kyogen is that there are not many props, so the one fan becomes many kinds of props -- the audience just uses their imagination. This made me think of what you said about the teahouse. There are only two or three things decorating the teahouse, but when you sit and look at them for long enough, you can imagine all of the weather outside and, perhaps, many emotions inside too. I guess this really is an important part of the Japanese aesthetic!

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    Replies
    1. Hello,
      Yes, you are right. We sometimes use an item differently from original purpose or try to imitate a thing with a different item. It is called MITATE. You can often find it in Japanese traditional arts including chanoyu. It is one of fun parts of Japanese arts and we enjoy that.

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