An Uncluttered Life

“Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”  Hebrews 12:1b


The United States and many other countries have a problem, so a diminutive, young Japanese woman is ready to help. Her name is Marie Kondo and she is an expert in assisting people to declutter their lives. She recently rocketed to fame through her popular book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and is now recognized worldwide as an organizing consultant. In countless seminars, and now through a Netflix TV series, Ms. Kondo preaches that if one tidies their personal space, it will transform their life. She explains that her philosophy of organization is partly inspired by the Japanese Shinto religion, with its emphasis on purity and cleanliness.

Popularly called the “KonMari” method, Marie Kondo’s approach to decluttering basically consists of gathering all of one’s possessions, one category at a time, and keeping only the items that “spark joy” in the owner. The items that remain are then neatly organized in a system to help maintain an uncluttered lifestyle. However, I must confess that my understanding of this methodology is still incomplete because most men, like myself, probably have a few old T-shirts that bring them “joy”, but such items likely spark different feelings from their wives! Perhaps Marie has an answer for this marital dilemma somewhere within the pages of her book.

Some popular US TV reality shows, particularly Hoarders, offer a revealing glimpse into the psychological depth and physical extremes a cluttered lifestyle can reach if left unchecked. But such extremes do not discount the real need for the majority of us to rid our lives of unneeded possessions that steadily fill our closets, drawers, garages and even rented storage units. While this appears to be an escalating problem in affluent countries, the greater need for decluttering occurs on a spiritual level and is common to all cultures. Left unchecked, overt sin, materialism, worry, jealousy, bitterness, anger and a host of other heart issues can dominate our lives, weigh us down and prevent us from running our spiritual race well, as the author of Hebrews points out.

Jesus warned His followers often about the danger of a life focused on possessions or anything else that could potentially distract us from our heavenly calling to pursue God and the things He values (Matthew 6:19-34). Marie Kondo likes to say “Tidy your space, transform your life,” which is certainly true on a limited, physical level. However, eternal, life-changing transformation, is a work of God that goes hand in hand with a heart set on accruing eternal treasure.

For more information on Marie Kondo, check out the following trailer:

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