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Could a little decluttering be the secret to a happy marriage?
Marie Kondo, author of bestselling The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, explores the idea in her most recent book Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up.
Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up, $12.42, amazon.com
Even though she’s not a relationship expert and her work focuses more on the art of folding laundry rather than how to get your partner to help with said laundry, Kondo says in her book that she’s often heard from clients that their love lives improved after they tidied up their homes.
A cleaner house and better love life? Sounds like a win-win to us! Below, see five ways tidying up your home can affect your relationship, according to the book.
1. It can make you more confident.
Kondo writes that she’s had clients tell her that tidying has instilled confidence in them, making them more proactive when it comes to love. Perhaps for some, it’s the result of better self-esteem, having successfully tackled such a big undertaking and life-changing project. Others might feel more decisive about their love life after having gone through the decision-making process of what to keep and what to throw out. In terms of tangible examples, she shares in the book that it has inspired some to even pop the question!
2. It can help you see what’s not bringing you joy anymore.
One of the big tips for tidying up in the book is going through your things one-by-one and asking yourself if each item sparks joy. If it doesn’t, it’s time to let go of it. Once you move from your clothes and miscellaneous items around the house, you’ll be able to use this trick with other things in your life too. This, of course, includes people. Kondo writes that she has received reports of clients deciding to end a relationship after the tidying process. While that sounds kind of negative, it can actually be a very healthy and positive thing for one's personal happiness as you make room for someone else who can bring you more joy.
3. It helps you see/know what you want.
We all have things that we don’t necessarily want to face — things like change-of-address forms that need to be filled out, stacks of papers that need to be filed, etc. Kondo writes that one of her clients joked she should probably deal with those things first before her love life. And as she began tidying up, she realized that there was some truth in her joke and she actually did need some space from her partner. To Kondo’s surprise, a few months later they were engaged to be married. “During the time we had been apart, my feelings had become quite clear,” explained the client. “I now had confidence in what made me happy, so I was able to say yes straight from the heart.”
4. It helps you share a vision together.
Often times we fall into a rut of needing to fulfill our own separate roles in a marriage that we forget we’re part of a team. The process of tidying up can not only help bring you and your partner together in the physical task, but it encourages both of you to envision your future home and life. Is this the house you want to live in forever? Are there things you both want to do, such as take certain classes? What do you want your marriage to look like 20 years from now? These are all things that can be revealed as you tidy up together.
5. It makes you savor daily life and not take it for granted.
Kondo writes in her book that a very common response from people after they’ve tidied up is that there are more moments of happiness when doing mundane tasks such as folding laundry or cooking. “I have learned from my clients that what really brings joy to our lives is savoring daily life, instead of taking it for granted,” she writes. And those little moments can bring a sweet boost to your overall relationship.