That’s all the episodes it took for the popular Netflix series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, to take America on a decluttering frenzy.
The premise of the show is based on the KonMari method, a brilliantly simple concept she wrote about in her New York Times bestselling book: you get to live your best life if you focus on the things that spark joy for you.
This idea is focused on decluttering your home, but that same philosophy applies perfectly to your money situation. We’ll show you how.
In this post, you’ll learn:
- The simple four-step process of the KonMari method
- How to tweak the process to apply to your money
- A motivationally encouraging way to face your finances
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Screenshot of Netflix’s series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo
In the context of applying Kondo’s principles to tidying your home, when you allow yourself to accumulate things that don’t serve a clear, practical need or that you don’t make you super happy, that stuff ultimately ends up being clutter.
They become something you have to deal with that doesn’t give you anything back emotionally.
You only have a limited amount of time & energy, so you feel frustration when it seems like you are wasting it on stuff that doesn’t do anything for you.
Your finances are very similar in that you only have a limited amount of money, right? When you feel frustration or disappointment, it’s because you aren’t happy with what your money is doing for you and it’s not sparking joy for you.
Fortunately, Marie Kondo has already done the hard part and figured out how to help people hone and implement that spark joy philosophy. Our goal is to show you a way to apply her same techniques to your finances.
Steps to KonMari your money
Step 1: Greet your money with gratitude
With each client on her show, Marie starts of by greeting the home. During this part, she encourages her client to thank their home and the items in it for serving them. She also asks them to envision what being clutter-free will do for them:
- How will their life be different?
- How will they feel different?
For this first step, take a few minutes to do the same with your money. Thank it for providing for you and think about how you want things to be different financially.
IDEAS TO GET YOU STARTED:
In response to how you want things to be different financially, ask yourself:
- Is there debt I don’t want to continue to get myself into?
- Is there a need I know I should be contributing more towards (eg. retirement, kids’ college savings)?
- Is there a want I want to save up for (eg. home, vacation)?
Step 2: Face your reality
Once they greet the home, Marie will usually start by having you go through your clothes but she makes you put every single piece of clothing into a giant pile onto your bed first.
The purpose of that is to let you see what you’ve let the situation get to.
Seeing the giant pile is really eye-opening for people because it’s only when they see how much stuff they’ve accumulated that you realize the potential of how much easier your life can be by purging out the stuff that sparks joy.
Money is very similar in that it’s easy to be out of sight, out of mind.
There is, however, at least one time a year that people get same feeling of shock that the giant clothes pile does for the people on the show.
Every year without fail, when people get their W2s, so many people say “I made that much money?!? Where the heck did it all go?!?”
They say no pain no gain, so you need to see your financial “clothes pile on the bed.”
So for this step, dig out your last W2 and really soak in the number.
Recognize that you’ve let that money get away from you, then focus on the fact that you actually do have the money to crush it financially.
Step 3: Figure out what sparks joy
After you see the shock of the clothes pile, Marie then finally has you start sorting through your stuff and begin to figure out what sparks joy for you.
When it comes to money, you want to develop that exact same sense because that’s how you’re going to decide when it is worth spending money on something.
What does it feel like when something sparks joy for you? What you’re looking for is something that makes you feel excited. When you think about this thing that sparks joy, you should literally feel giddy with anticipation.
And if something doesn’t make you feel that way, you gotta ask yourself: why am I spending money on this when I could be spending it on something that does float my boat?
Start paying attention to what sparks joy for you, that excite you so much that even just the anticipation of it gives you energy and happiness.
It doesn’t have to be big things that can spark joy for you. Perhaps grabbing a coffee with your best friend or buying a small toy to surprise your kid.
And if you’re having trouble figuring out what truly gets you excited, the things that literally bring a smile to your face is good indication.
Step 4: Stay mindful
After people finish purging their house, they’ve had a lot of practice identifying what sparks joy and a lot of them say it is actually a lifestyle change and a mindset change, not just a one-time tidying exercise.
Your goal is to get to that same point, so that you are only spending on what sparks joy for you so that you can be absolutely happy with what your money is doing for you.
You see, the secret to successful money management has more to do with mindfulness than it does math or budgeting.
Every time you’re presented with the chance to spend money or buy something, literally stop and think to yourself “how happy would this make me?”
It takes a little getting used to, but just like the people on Marie’s show, they get better and better at it. Eventually they can do it very quickly and accurately, like they know it is truly something that sparks joy for them.
There are so many things that we can spend our money on, so it doesn’t make sense to waste it on things that don’t maximize our happiness. Our article shows you how you can use Marie Kondo’s popular Konmari tidying philosophy to declutter your financial messes and let your money spark joy.
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