Tidying Up with Marie Kondo: Why You Have So Much Clutter

Have you ever looked around your home and wondered how you got so much clutter? Do you panic when a friend or family member announces they’re making an unexpected stop at your house? Clutter can accumulate gradually until one day you look at your home and wonder how it became so messy.

Marie Kondo’s Netflix show, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo might have led you to pause and evaluate your living space. If you’re struggling to get your house in order and you don’t know where to start, you’re not alone. 

Marie Kondo|Gary Gershoff/WireImage
Marie Kondo|Gary Gershoff/WireImage

Clutter is a big problem for a lot of people, both at home and at work. Why are so many people fighting the clutter habit and what can be done about it? The Cheat Sheet spoke with Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, founder of AskTheMoneyCoach.com and personal finance expert for selling app Mercari. She gave us advice for how to get rid of clutter and get things in order. Khalfani also discussed the results of Mercari’s recent survey on clutter. Here’s what she had to say.

The Cheat Sheet: Which survey results surprised you the most, why?

Lynnette Khalfani-Cox: I was most surprised by the huge number of people–20% of all Americans–who are paying rent for self-storage facilities. That’s a big red flag that many of us have way too much stuff – stuff that could be sold to make money, rather than spending money just to keep things we’re no longer using.  It makes no sense, financially or logically.

CS: Why do most American households have so much clutter? Is it a fear of giving away things we care about?

LK: There are certainly some things people keep for sentimental reasons. But Americans on average have 42 unused items in their homes — that’s because so many suffer from what we call “low sell-esteem,” the mistaken belief that we’re not good at selling or that nobody wants to buy our stuff.

CS: What’s the best way to get rid of the clutter?

LK: The fastest, easiest and simplest way to get rid of clutter is to sell stuff via an app like Mercari. It takes only about three minutes, on average, to list an item and you can do it right from your smartphone — without ever having to meet the buyer in person.

CS: Do you think following popular methods like the KonMari method is the solution to getting rid of clutter forever?

LK: I do think that the KonMari method can help reduce clutter. But people also have to be mindful to not overspend and buy so many things in the first place. By being smart about what you purchase or bring into your home, you’re basically curating the stuff in your life on an ongoing basis.

How the KonMari method works

The main theme of the KonMari method is only keeping items that spark joy. As a result, you will be surrounded by objects that bring you happiness. Furthermore, this method instructs you to organize your home based on categories as opposed to location. The KonMari method has become so popular that Netflix collaborated Kondo to stream a new series titled Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.

Read more: Marie Kondo is Embarrassed to Admit She Has This 1 Clutter Habit

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