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How Marie Kondo Helped me let go of my Past

11th September 2015

How Marie Kondo Helped me let go of my Past | photo of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo |

Letting go of my past

As a blogger, I tend to only share the good stuff. This is not because I want to paint a rose-tinted view of my life, but because I prefer to focus on the positives rather than dwell on the negatives.

During my 30s, I experienced more than my fair share of bad luck and on reflection, I think my collecting was one way of coping. It took my mind off things, and when you’re having a hard time it’s nice to treat yourself.

For this reason, a lot of my decluttering has been about re-evaluating my life and making some sense of the things that happened. The process has been extremely therapeutic, and at times it felt like letting go of the past to make space for my future.

Decluttering my home

While I was decluttering my home, I couldn’t seem to reduce my vintage collectables or photographs. I tried on a number of occasions but I didn’t get anywhere, and I was unhappy that they were taking up so much space in my apartment. I was aware of a book by Marie Kondo called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying, and I recall reading a post by Tiff of Dottie Angel about the strength it had given her. Tiff, like me, had a passion for vintage collecting and I felt confident that if this book had helped her it could help me too.

How Marie Kondo Helped me let go of my Past | photo of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo |

Marie Kondo

Marie Kondo’s book outlines a process of tackling items by type, in a specific order and over a maximum of six months. She teaches you to only keep the items that ‘spark joy’ and to discard everything else. A process she calls the KonMari Method. The thing that made her technique so unique is you don’t decide what to remove, but instead you decide what to keep. I loved this idea, and I imagined it was like going into a shop full of my possessions and choosing what to take home!

‘To put your things in order means to put your past in order, too. It’s like resetting your life and settling your accounts so that you can take the next step forward.’ – Marie Kondo


So, on the rainy bank holiday Monday, I tipped my box of photographs onto the living room floor and sorted through them. Some of the images made me sad but others made me laugh as I reminisced and enjoyed revisiting the fun times: a holiday with my girlfriends to Corfu, the three times I’ve been a bridesmaid, my teenage bedrooms and so many bad hairstyles. I now have eight tiny albums of joy – the people and happy moments I want to remember, having let go of the rest.

Vintage collectables

Next came the collectables; my unloved vintage trinkets, held in a series of boxes and taking up space in my cupboard. The collection had taken almost twenty years to build and consisted of many rare items. By applying the ‘spark joy’ technique to each item, I soon discovered that I didn’t love them as much as I thought I did. In fact, I was simply holding on to the love I had once had for them. I kept my favourites and the remainder are in my office waiting to be sold. It’s strange but after years of living with them, I can’t wait to let them go!

Does it spark joy?

Despite being sentimental about things, Marie Kondo has helped me to view my belongings in a different way. I’ve realised I don’t have to keep things just because I think they hold a memory – the memories are in me, not in the object. With Marie Kondo’s help, I’ve reached a point of peace and calm. There are no longer boxes of unloved things in my cupboards (or skeletons in my closet!). Everything that remains in my home serves a purpose or fills me with joy, and there’s now an abundance of space to create a happier future.

If you’re about to embark on a declutter I wish you the very best of luck!

Further reading on my blog

My decluttering tips
Five simple decluttering tips for your living room
Five simple decluttering tips for your kitchen
How to simplify your wardrobe in four easy steps

Thanks for stopping by, I hope you have a gorgeous day.

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  • Avatar
    Reply Eva 11th September 2015 at 12:53 pm

    Thanks for sharing your personal feelings, you are very generous. I would like take a look to this book.
    Have a lovely weekend ! x

    • Candy Pop
      Reply Candy Pop 11th September 2015 at 1:07 pm

      Hi Eva, Thank you for your kind comment. I hope you have a great weekend! 🙂

  • Avatar
    Reply Sara 12th September 2015 at 12:56 pm

    Yes! The sparking joy made so much sense to me – despite how utterly batty she can seem in some other parts of the book!
    It’s nice to hear other people still have these clutter obstacles to face. I always look at your pictures and think, ‘she’s SO much more minimal than me – I need to try harder’ so this has reassured me a bit! x

    • Candy Pop
      Reply Candy Pop 13th September 2015 at 12:22 pm

      Thank you Sara. I loved all Marie’s tips, especially emptying her handbag at the end of the day. I’m not sure I have time for that level of commitment! It has taken years to get this far, but it was worth the (sometimes emotional) journey. Have a great day. 🙂

  • Avatar
    Reply Claire (@Kurea_San) 13th September 2015 at 5:51 pm

    Well done! I can only imagine how hard it was to let go of some many things you’ve collected over the years. Sounds like you’re now feeling very refreshed!
    Claire xx

    • Candy Pop
      Reply Candy Pop 13th September 2015 at 8:05 pm

      Thank you Claire. It’s good to clear out the past every now and then! 🙂 I hope you had a great weekend.

  • Avatar
    Reply Victoria 14th September 2015 at 1:23 pm

    I’ve been tempted to pick up this book but think it might be a little hardcore for my needs, especially as I get older I’m finding I hoard less and know what I do and don’t like. Only recently I’ve ditched the huge dining table that dominated my lounge as it sat unused for anything other than dumping things on and instead I’ve created a much more spacious and pleasing place.

    It’s funny after reading your post I went and grabbed my box of photographs from pre-digital age as I wanted to hunt out my old Disney snaps to show my niece and nephew. Whilst doing that I went through all the photos and dumped any that were no longer relevant to me, whether containing friends I’m not longer associated with or the dark and blurry ones that served no purpose. As always with these things it’s very therapeutic.

    Victoria x

    • Candy Pop
      Reply Candy Pop 15th September 2015 at 10:37 am

      Thanks Victoria. Well done on ditching the dining table, the extra space sounds great. Letting go of old photos really is therapeutic and I bet your niece and nephew will love seeing the Disney snaps!

  • Avatar
    Reply Kathryn 15th September 2015 at 10:11 pm

    This is fascinating and that book sounds well worth a read. I am so glad to hear that you are in such a good and better place now too, my lovely friend! xx

    • Candy Pop
      Reply Candy Pop 16th September 2015 at 9:55 am

      Thank you so much lovely! I can thoroughly recommend the book, it’s a good read.

  • Avatar
    Reply Dorrie 18th September 2015 at 7:32 pm

    I totally get what you mean about buying stuff as a treat to get you through hard times. I’ve been doing that most of my life. I’m about half way through this book now and it’s really good. It’s made me realise that I should’ve cleared stuff out by category and not location. It makes perfect sense. It’s inspiring me to keep going and I’ve given myself until Wednesday to go through my clothes, shoes and bags. The bags will be hard.

    • Candy Pop
      Reply Candy Pop 18th September 2015 at 8:18 pm

      Thank you Dorrie and well done. I’d love to know how you get on, it’s really worth the effort.

      Have a great weekend!

  • Avatar
    Reply Kimberly Robinson 21st September 2015 at 7:39 pm

    We have begun this process this week and although I am following the order of things laid out in the book I stumbled upon what I know is an emotional landmine in the bottom of my closet; a box of old journals. I’m trying to decide whether disposing of all of them is good, and a relentless move in a forward direction, or if there is any reason to save them. I already know that many of them are too painful to read. I’m neither famous nor extraordinarily wise and have no children so nobody is going to be looking for insight into my genius via my 18 year old musings. I suppose I’ve answered my own question.

    • Candy Pop
      Reply Candy Pop 22nd September 2015 at 5:21 pm

      Thank you Kimberly for your sensitive comment, it sounds like your’ve reached your decision. While letting go of my sentimental items I often thought of the quote ‘don’t look back, you’re not going that way.’ Good luck with your declutter.

  • Avatar
    Reply Jo 23rd September 2015 at 1:32 am

    Fantastic post, Natasha. I may even bookmark for future reference! I’ve really admired how you’ve approached your decluttering/lifestyle change over the last year. Although I generally have a declutter every year I definitely feel I am needing a bigger clear out than usual this year as there are people and things I want to move on from. I know it’ll feel good to let go.

    • Candy Pop
      Reply Candy Pop 24th September 2015 at 8:31 pm

      Thanks so much Jo. I’ll be sticking to yearly declutters so it doesn’t build up again!

  • Avatar
    Reply jennifer hertzum 1st May 2016 at 2:32 pm

    I read Kondo’s book and as someone has said some parts are a little odd! However it was a lightbulb moment and it has helped me enormously, the spark of joy being the key. I have taken it slowly, most of the house is done, and am now about to embark on the photos! It has taken a while, after moving, to gather them all together but now its done and the most painful part will commence. Strength to you all it is worth it!

    • Candy Pop
      Reply Candy Pop 1st May 2016 at 2:52 pm

      Hi Jennifer. Thank you for your kind comment. I loved the book and Marie Kondo’s inspiring words helped me with the final declutter. Good luck with editing your photographs.

  • Avatar
    Reply laurs511 14th July 2017 at 6:14 pm

    I loved this part: “The thing that made her technique so unique is you don’t decide what to remove instead you decide what to keep. I loved this idea, and I imagined it was like going into a shop full of my possessions and choosing what to take home!” And my goal is to also dwindle my albums down to a few and maybe keep others in the cloud. Great read!

    • Candy Pop
      Reply Candy Pop 16th July 2017 at 12:15 pm

      Thanks so much for your kind comment. Good luck with your decluttering goal!

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