Organized shelf in a home

3 Things I Learned From Marie Kondo About Decluttering My Finances

by Melissa Motyka Last updated on January 24, 2019 Tags: Save Well, Making it as a Millennial

Shelves Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

'Tidying Up With Marie Kondo' has taken closets everywhere by storm in the few short weeks since it debuted on Netflix. If you haven't binged it yet, the show follows Japanese organizing consultant Marie Kondo as she helps people tidy up their homes through various seasons of life. Though her methods are centred around the home and finding joy in your space, her lessons can be applied to just about any part of your life — including your finances. 

Here are three lessons from Marie Kondo that can be applied to decluttering your finances; it really is a lot like decluttering your home. 

Declutter based on categories

The KonMari method is built on cleaning your space via categories instead of individual rooms. One category from the KonMari method is clothing, where Kondo instructs her clients to pile up and sort all of their clothes, rather than sort closet-to-closet, room-by-room. 

This is a great way to think about organizing your finances. It can be applied, for example, in your approach to paying off debt. Instead of trying to handle each individual loan or credit card, take a look at your debt as a whole and make a plan to pay it down. It might help to look at your savings this way, too; think about how much money you have to save each month and how you can allocate it to your investments, goals, and emergency fund. 

Thinking in terms of categories can feel less intimidating, and will help you see your complete situation, rather than just smaller pieces of it. 

Cleaning gives you clarity

It's so easy to become comfortable in the things we're used to. It's true with our household belongings, and it's true with our finances. When we start the process of purging, we gain clarity. We reconsider the things we need, and the things we could maybe do without. 

As if you're cleaning out your closet — wondering if you need to hold on to that high school sweater — do a purge of your finances. Have you been holding on to a student reward credit card? Find a card that suits your current season of life, like a cash-back or travel rewards card. Are you sticking with an investment solution that was great for you 10 years ago, but doesn't quite fit with your situation now? Seek out a solution that aligns and grows with your goals. Can you consolidate a couple of your credit cards to avoid extra fees? There are many opportunities to clean up your finances, and you'll feel just as good for it! 

Choose quality over quantity

This is a great lesson for anything in life: quality is far better to invest in than quantity. 

Kondo approaches each organizational challenge by telling her clients to keep only the items that ‘spark joy.’ Spending money is part of life, and while spending hard-earned cash may feel difficult at times, investing only in things that bring you joy is a great way to approach your spending. Waiting for one good quality piece of clothing rather than buying a few less expensive things that you don’t love; saving for a dream vacation; forgoing experiences you’re not passionate about – these are all ways to choose quality in your life and keep your finances in check.

If the show’s success on Netflix is any indication, the trend for 2019 seems to be organization, clean spaces, and choosing joy. So why shouldn’t we have this same outlook towards the financial aspects of our lives? Start the year with these decluttering lessons and find joy in your newly organized finances. 

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