Japanese organizational consultant and published author, Marie Kondo, has inspired a global shift in consciousness relating to the connection we have with living spaces. It is through compassion, rather than judgement, Kondo pursues the act of tidying and maximizing overall delight. Her radical, two-pronged approach is available to us through the Netflix Series, Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, along with her two bestselling publications, Spark Joy and The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Dr Jassal and his family spent the month of January tidying up their living space and finding new homes for their pre-loved items. For those interested in inviting more joy into their homes, we have included Kondo’s approach and suggestions below.

First and foremost, walk around your living space, place both hands on each item, and ask if said item sparks joy in your heart. If an item does not spark joy, send appreciation for its service and discard through donation or repurposing. Once your most joy-giving belongings remain, place each item in a visible and accessible place to spark joy on a daily basis.

This process can be a dash layered in light of fond memories and emotional attachments. Kondo recommends processing categories (ie. clothing, documents, books) rather than rooms to break larger objectives into smaller, more manageable tasks. She is also well known for her vertical folding technique. The objective of vertical folding is to deepen our respect and appreciation for cloth materials by storing each item in a place where they are equally visible to their counterparts.

You may ask how this process benefits you in terms of health. Decluttering is a transformative process for both living spaces and our overall health. When multiple stimuli are present in the visual field, it competes for our brain’s neural recognition.* This limits the processing capacity of our visual systems by providing additional stimuli to focus attention on. Clutter can also increase the production of the stress hormone, cortisol.** A disorganized environment can be registered subconsciously by the brain as an incomplete and pending task. The experience of nervous system stress, especially when chronic or severe, gradually impacts the structure of our brain and basic biological functions.

The ultimate goal in tidying is to create a living environment filled with items that spark joy. We hope you enjoy the process as much as Dr Jassal’s family!

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