When you peek at your online bank account, does what you see “spark joy”? In all likelihood, the answer is no, which means you may be ready to take back control of your finances. Here are some tips using the KonMari method of organization to help you do just that!
The KonMari method is a special tidying method created by organizing consultant and best-selling author Marie Kondo. It’s a relatively new take on the age-old problem of how to de-clutter, involving six basic rules to tidying up:
- Commit to tidying: As cleaning up is rarely fun or easy to do, you need to be fully committed to putting in the time and effort.
- Imagine your ideal lifestyle: Having a clear vision of why you clean helps you stay on track. Envision how you want your house to look and set appropriate goals.
- Finish discarding first: It’s easy to get sidetracked when you’re trying to de-clutter and find a new, organized spot for your remaining belongings simultaneously. Be kind to yourself and focus on just throwing away what you don’t want at first. How you store what you keep comes later.
- Tidy by category — not location: This holistic approach forces you to tidy by category rather than location. In other words, focus on going through all your books in the entire house instead of just the ones in the living room.
- Follow the right order: Kondo has a preferred order of categories, starting with clothes and moving onto books, papers, miscellaneous items (or komono), with sentimental items as the last thing you tidy. This strategy focuses on items you might find easier to throw away before moving on to harder belongings.
- Ask if something sparks joy: As you follow the right order, keep only the items that speak to you and serve a purpose. You’ll want to hold onto your favorite books, while you should probably discard those boxes of magazines in your basement that only take up space.
Follow these rules, and you’ll have a tidier home in no time.
By tweaking these rules only a little bit, you’ll have a road map to successfully tidying your finances.
Let’s re-fashion these rules to help you clear away the clutter in your budget.
- Commit to good money management: A well-balanced budget and a growing savings account don’t happen without deliberate action. You need to be dedicated to changing your ways before you see positive change manifest.
- Envision your ideal lifestyle: While most people’s dream financial situation would be retired lottery-winner, owner of a private island and yacht, it’s not a practical goal when it comes to actionable steps you can take. Clear your thoughts of these fantasies and instead think about what you want out of your finances. Do you want to clear out your credit card and line of credit debt? Do you want to create an emergency fund that could help you cover a medical emergency or loss of job?
- Start cutting spending first: The magnitude of a task like saving for retirement or paying off all your debts can be daunting — it may even intimidate you out of ever starting. Rather than focus on the big picture, narrow in on the first step. Eliminate spending from your budget to free up cash before you begin worrying about savings targets or high-interest accounts.
- Eliminate spending category-by-category: You can break down your budget into common categories including housing, utilities, food, and payday loan repayments. Rather than trying to eliminate spending from each category, focus on one to start with.
- Follow the right order: Just as Kondo’s rules have an order for material objects, this list has an order for spending. Start with variable expenses, particularly those that are small, daily, or impulsive purchases, before moving onto invariable (or fixed) costs like housing. Variable expenses will be the easiest to eliminate for most people, while fixed will be the hardest. By starting with the easiest tasks first, you might create a momentum that helps you tackle bigger tasks. For example, something like looking for new online payday loan lenders that have no hidden fees is a great first step in an emergency. The next step is building an emergency fund, so you don’t need to apply for personal loans.
- Ask if it’s working: It would be disingenuous to ask you if the steps above helped spark joy in your life. Re-organizing your finances can take a lot of hard work, and until you reach your goal, it’ll feel like it, too. You might not feel happy until you can say you’ve cleared your consumer debt or saved enough for retirement. However, you can ask if what you’re doing is a practical start to achieving your goals. Asking yourself this at every step of the way will ensure you’re more successful with your goals.
The KonMari method helps you go through your finances mindfully to help organize your money in a way that reflects how you want to live your life. Use these rules to make your ideal lifestyle a reality and maybe one day your finances will spark some joy in your life.