KonMari-ing Your Emotions

You may be aware of the current “tidying up” craze hitting America that is Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. Maybe you love it, maybe you hate it, maybe you haven’t heard of it.


While it’s entertainingly helpful, and I can neither confirm nor deny that I, myself have used the KonMari method of ransacking my own closet and rid myself of 3 trash bags full of clothes, learned a new folding method, and discovered how to identify if something “sparks joy” in five and a half hours, three Saturdays ago. Maybe this happened, maybe it didn’t. I digress.

In watching this show, I became exceedingly aware of how this method is, oh so very much, like therapy. Bear with me.

The KonMari method for stuff.

Though the KonMari method has 5 specific steps for decluttering your stuff (not just clothing), I would personally describe the experience this way:

1. Purging

You pull out EVERY ITEM of clothing (or shoes, tools, CDs, etc.) you own and put it on your bed to see how many items you actually have.

2. Sorting

You systematically go through each piece by picking it up, and only keeping the items that “spark joy”. If something doesn’t spark joy, you thank it for its purpose and time in your life (because at one time, it probably did spark joy), and then you set it aside to get rid of.

3. Organizing

Kondo has a particular way of folding and putting things away to make it neater and more organized for day-to-day life. It’s very tedious, but looks awesome and saves a lot of space!

4. Timing

All at one time, you keep what you love and need and get rid of what you don’t. This usually takes a decent amount of time.

So that’s (basically) the KonMari method as it pertains to our stuff.

The KonMari method for emotions, beliefs, and behaviors.

Now, let’s think about this in terms of working through our emotions, beliefs, or behaviors we want to sort through

1. Purging

Perhaps you realize you might need therapy because something big has just happened, and your emotions are spilling out of you left and right, and you don’t know what to do with them. Or maybe you know you’ve packed a lot of emotions in your mind-closet, and the door is getting harder to force shut. You realize something needs to be done. So you decide to lay it all on the table and go to therapy.

2. Sorting

You systematically go through each emotion/thought/behavior by picking it up and inspecting it with a therapist. You might find that something doesn’t serve a helpful purpose, you thank it for its purpose and time in your life (because at one time, it probably did serve a purpose), and then you work hard at either accepting its presence in your life, or you work to loosen its grasp on your life so that you gain control.

3. Organizing

You start realizing that while some emotions, thoughts and behaviors are present, you might not have put them there. So you begin to learn tools to manage and maintain healthy relationships with what you feel, think, and do.

4. Timing

In reality, you can’t work through all of your trauma, pain, weird thoughts, annoying behaviors all at one time…but you can give it an hour a week with someone who cares about you living a more holistic life.

Who knows, maybe this type of experience will spark some joy in you, or give you a different perspective on life. Now let’s go KonMari our hearts and minds!