Talking About Money, Netflix Edition: What It Looks Like to KonMari™ Your Money
Applying the KonMari Method™ of tidying up to your money can do more than simply organize your finances; it might give you a whole new perspective on your relationship with money.
I have been a fan of Marie Kondo since reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I liked her straight-forward and comprehensive method for doing a whole house clean-up. At the time I read her book we had just moved and I had conducted a major purge, but in the process we had unloaded boxes and boxes of “family heirlooms” into our new attic. I mentioned to my husband that it would be good to KonMari™ these sentimental items. I received a “hmm…” in response. So much for that.
But just recently we watched the Netflix series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo and I developed a new appreciation of Marie and her methodology. My husband is even a bit more intrigued about the possibility of going through his sentimental items in a way that might prove satisfying.
I got so much more out of the television series than I did from the book. It might have been by watching Marie’s tactile approach, through her officially “greeting” each house, instructing each participant to actually touch each and every item in their home, and talking through the participants’ emotions when they appeared overwhelmed by the process. It was through watching the show that I realized that “tidying up” is actually a metaphor for taking stock of your life so that you can start the next chapter from a position of strength. And as a Financial Fitness Coach® I’ve got to say, I love this!
As I finished watching the last episode I thought to myself, “What if there were a way to KonMari™ your money?” Let’s take a look at the possibility by following Marie’s 6 Rules (you can take a look at Marie’s Rules and more on her website here):
Commit yourself to tidying up.
What would it look like to commit to tidying up your money? As we’ve discussed in a past blog post, Americans have a fraught relationship with money. Rather than deal with it out in the open, too many people tuck those emotions away in a drawer, promising themselves that one day in the future they will deal with it. So making the commitment to “tidy up” your money is an important first step (much like my husband making a commitment to “tidy up” his sentimental items in our attic).
Imagine your ideal lifestyle.
Yay, again to coaching! In the series Marie instructs her clients to close their eyes and imagine their ideal home, with the emotions attached to it. I think that this is a great way to begin the process of tidying up your money. Close your eyes and think about the relationship that you want to have with your money going forward. Now you have your goal and you can create a path to reach it.
Finish discarding first.
This is when the physical work begins, though by completing the emotional work in Steps 1 and 2 I believe that you will have greater success. This involves taking every money-related paper out and stacking in on a table. Then, with a shredder by your side, look at each item and decide if it needs to be kept (here is a good article from FINRA on how long to keep financial documents). I think that you could benefit from going through all your electronic files related to your finances as well, deleting what is no longer needed. And if you find a financial document from your past that make you feel bad, maybe an old medical bill or a collection notice, thank it for its service in that it taught you a valuable lesson, namely that you have the ability to withstand a financial downturn and come out stronger on the other side.
Tidy by category, not by location.
This means that you must tidy ALL money-related documents in your home, not just the ones on your office desk or the ones on the table in your front hall. All of them.
Follow the right order.
In this post I am suggesting that you may benefit from a money-specific tidying project, but to perform the full KonMari™ method you would tidy your entire home in the following order: clothes, books, papers, komono (miscellaneous items), then sentimental items.
Ask yourself if it sparks joy.
So what does “spark joy” have to do with tidying up your money? This is an interesting question. The way to apply this most effectively would be to consider it in your daily spending. When you take out cash or a card to make a purchase, does the transaction that you are about to make spark joy? This is a direct reflection of Step 2: Imagine your ideal lifestyle. Once you have that picture in your head of what your ideal lifestyle is, you can take micro-steps daily to imagine that lifestyle into reality.
Now that I have seen the television series I am an even bigger fan of Marie Kondo (and her ability to build a media empire, but I will save that topic for another post).