I’m not a fan of the Japanese art of living, but I can’t ignore the KonMari phenomenon, a storage method created by Marie Kondo, who shook the planet with her books translated into whatever language.
So one night, having nothing to do (I have a lot of free time now), I pressed the “Express Buy” button on Amazon and the book The Magic of Storage came right away on my Kindle.
After the (exciting) reading, I have only one regret: not having read it BEFORE I left on my trip around the world.
Flashback: I left my job in mid-February 2016 to devote myself fully to the preparation of the round-the-world tour, scheduled for early June 2016. Apart from the money put aside and two passports, we had absolutely NOTHING. Neither the itinerary, nor the backpacks, nor the adapted clothes… our landlord didn’t even know that we wanted to leave the apartment. We were in free-style mode but not too much.
And during this short period, I had to completely empty 48m² of accumulated objects piled up for 10 years.
JB’s father agrees to keep our stuff but we don’t see him keeping my collection of disposable chopsticks from our many sushi nights. Neither one nor two, a lot of stuff was given away, sold on Le Bon Coin, thrown away… and we were able to collect 3000€ from everything we could sell (we tell you more about it here)
Here is what we left at his father’s: our two lives packed in 3 suitcases and some mini-cards.
I thought I had mastered the art of storage by being able to fit our lives in a Kia 500 (while still being able to clear the view for the center mirror). Until I stumbled upon some clothes I sent to myself in Vietnam at my parents’ house in October 2016.
Flashback 2: Before leaving on a world tour, and knowing my taste for beautiful clothes, I sent some of my clothes to my parents, clothes that I would enjoy wearing after 6 months of roots.
Nothing I sent to myself was portable. On top of that, there was a completely faded dress, I don’t even know why I thought it would make me happy to find this faded dress after 6 months of traveling???
And then, 1 year after the trip (in May 2017), the 5 suitcases left with JB’s dad were retrieved. 80% of the clothes were put on the sidewalk, waiting to be taken to Secours Populaire.
Why did I sort wrong the first time?
Because I hadn’t read Marie Kondo’s book before. I sorted according to the following criteria: everything that has no stain, no hole… and that has been worn in the last 12 months. I didn’t mind keeping 12 jeans! And 10 coats, and 20 scarves.
Whereas if I had sorted according to Marie Kondo’s criteria: does it make me happy? and counted the number of objects per category, the sorting would have been much more radical.
So don’t make the same mistake I did! Read the book before leaving on a world tour! Because the choice to keep or part with an object isn’t easy (especially if you decide to come back to live in France after the world tour, you might be tempted to keep your collection of disposable chopsticks), the book will help you to see more clearly, and to part forever from the objects kept “just in case“.
My opinion on the bookI
can only advise you to read this book. It isn’t just a folding method, it is above all a method that helps us get rid of the superfluous to concentrate on the essential: what we enjoy.
Reading and applying this method can have a direct consequence on your life, your work… because the accumulation isn’t only for objects, we also accumulate toxic relationships, applications that pump us out of time, negative thoughts, jobs we can’t take anymore… Moreover, if you intend to go around the world, this book can only encourage you (indirectly) to do so.
Of course, there are some details that may disturb the readers, like thanking the objects, treating them with respect, throwing everything away (she doesn’t mention the donation of the objects or the resale…)…. but if we take into account the cultural difference (Marie Kondo is Japanese), after our stay in Japan, we understand much better her relationship to the objects, which is normal in Japan, but very different from our culture. So zap the passages that bother you, and read only what inspires you.
We live with 16kg for me and 25.6kg for JB. As we are digital nomads (we work while traveling), we need a bit more clothes (so we don’t have to do the laundry every 2 days) and more stuff (+2,5kg/person cf. the list here).
It may come as a surprise that my face care routine is too cumbersome, but remember that the Konmari Method isn’t a method to become minimalist. It is a method to learn to be surrounded by things that make us happy, that make us feel good.
So, if it makes you happy to go around the world with a sewing machine, don’t feel guilty about it.