You know her by now: Marie Kondo, first of her name, queen of tidying up, lady of decluttering, protector of all things that spark joy, khaleesi with the boss bangs, breaker of hoarding habits.
Photo: KonMari Media, Inc
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up author has become something of a pop culture figure since a feature on her book appeared in the New York Times – but it’s her debut on ‘Tidying Up With Marie Kondo‘ that’s cementing her in our wider consciousness, with many reportedly flocking to thrift stores to off-load possessions and, in the course of the past month, at least once pondered the question: does this spark joy?
The most popular of tidying gurus, Kondo has garnered fans and critics alike for her methods, which include proper ways to fold clothes and re-evaluate one’s book collection, to storing paperwork and keeping sentimental items.
Whichever your opinion, there’s no denying Kondo’s mark on all things home-related these days. Here’s a handful of decorating and tidying tips inspired by ‘Tidying Up’ that every Hong Konger can apply, whether your home is a tiny 380sqft or a sprawling 7,500.
In the show, Kondo encourages clients to tackle sentimental items last, when they would've had some practice identifying items that spark joy and therefore become less emotional about their decisions.
For items you decide to keep, why not use them as decor? Frame photographs and put them on display. Make a collage out of memorabilia and frame them as art pieces, or utilise figurines from your travels as accents. This not only reduces the need for storage, it also creates more points of memory around the home – moments that spark joy.
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Kondo aside, the concept of storage gets much of the spotlight throughout the show, from storing socks in dressers to organising kitchen utensils in drawers. If anything, 'Tidying Up' is a show on systematic storage.
While you're at it, why not incorporate storage to the overall look of your space? Pieces such as cabinets and consoles do the trick while contributing to your look; equally worthy alternatives are multi-functional furniture that double as storage.
See more: Designer Simon Chong echoes old Hong Kong in this Kadoorie Avenue home, where storage comes in interesting shapes and sizes
Here's the quickest, easiest way to take your flat from looking ordinary to Instagram-worthy: hide all paper matter and tangled cords.
Kondo addresses these in the show, citing categories for paper such as 'important', 'pending' and 'miscellaneous'; she also offers suggestions on storing cords – similarly with clothes, the idea is to have everything visible and easily accessible. While she doesn't offer strategic ways to hide them from view (or at least from frame), she does make the point that they be organised first, and hidden second – the idea is to free all visible space from mess, an all-too-easy result of scattered paper, Post-Its, and stray cable chargers.
See more: How an architect and his wife created an environmentally-friendly home, where paper is kept well and hidden through shelving
Unless you live on your own, it takes the involvement of everyone within the home to keep things tidy and pristine. Lead by example first, and then slowly build a culture of returning things to their proper place by encouraging the habit with family or roommates – as in the episode 'Downsizers'. While challenging, it's not impossible, and the results are rewarding.
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There's a poignant scene in the episode 'Making Room for a Baby' where the husband decides to give away the pairs of sneakers he merely uses and start using the pairs he loves – the ones kept in storage for years, never yet worn.
While the decision was based on the goal to make space for a new member of the family, there's something to be said about bringing out possessions that spark joy and enjoying them as they were designed to be enjoyed. The idea encourages us busy Hong Kong-ers to appreciate what we've worked hard to earn, whether it's sneakers, prized china or purses – instead of leaving them in cold storage to collect dust – while recovering more space.
See more: Old soul and opulence mark the Felix Villas house of Cantopop star Hins Cheung, where everything cherished is used to full effect
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