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Applying Marie Kondo to College

Marie Kondo College

You’ve probably heard of Marie Kondo’s revolutionary bestseller by now, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. But if you haven’t heard of it, professional organizer Marie Kondo’s method, also known as the KonMari Method, includes decluttering and tidying your space by reviewing categories of your possessions. In determining which of your possessions “spark joy,” you can get rid of the ones that don’t, ultimately creating a simple, minimalist home and even an organized mindset. As a college student with limited money and space, the KonMari Method is especially helpful. You can create more joy and calm in your dorm room and life by following Kondo’s principles, extending The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up beyond the home and to college.

Approach your college packing list with the KonMari Method

When creating your college packing list, consider packing items that bring you joy. Instead of cramming all of your old sweatshirts into your suitcase, choose the one or two that bring you the most joy. Go through all of your items one-by-one and ask yourself, “does this bring me joy?” If you feel an overwhelming “yes,” then pack it! If not, leave it at home or donate it. While traditional college packing lists will encourage more stuff, from hot water heaters to blankets to toiletries, you might not actually need all of that. Think about what you really use at home. Chances are, you use some towels, dishware, bedding, and toiletries. While you might need a few new things, you probably don’t need to do a full haul of dorm supplies and end up spending hundreds of dollars. Pack what you already have. You don’t need to buy brand-new face wash, clothes, or pens if you already have perfectly good ones to bring from home!

Make tidying a part of your daily routine

You’ve moved into your dorm room with minimal stuff. Three months go by, and suddenly nothing is in order. Dishes have stacked up next to the sink, clothing has fallen off hangers, and your desk is now home to stacks of random papers. Instead of waiting three months to clean your room and tidy, you need to start tidying on a daily basis. Each morning and evening, neatly fold your clothes, make your bed, do the dishes, and put other items in their rightful spots. Tidying up isn’t an occasional chore, but should become a part of your routine. Soon enough, it may even become something that you look forward to, or a way for you to feel calm, collected, and ready to start or end each day.

Only make meaningful purchases

Once you arrive at college, it might be tempting to go shopping which will lead to accumulating more stuff over time. Kondo isn’t against shopping, but she does encourage making meaningful purchases. In general, you can follow a few guidelines to make sure that your purchases bring you joy. First of all, according to the KonMari Method, ask yourself if the item sparks joy within you. If it does, put it back on the shelf and think about the purchase for 24 to 48 hours. You may not even remember the item after that time, but if you’re still thinking about it, you can come back and buy it. Lastly, ask yourself if you can keep this item for a long time. Young adulthood often requires you to move between dorms, move back home sometimes, or even relocate to a new country. If the item isn’t easily portable, you may have to leave it behind at some point and it may not be worth purchasing. After all, college dorms have minimal space, so you may not even have room for those cute (but unnecessary!) shoes in your dorm room closet.

In the words of bestselling author and speaker Gretchen Rubin, “outer order produces inner calm.” When you have a clean space, you’ll have a calm mind. Make it a priority to keep your college dorm room organized and clutter-free so that you can tackle academic and social pursuits with the utmost clarity.

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