In the Loop

News and views from across Mayo Clinic

February 7, 2019

KonMari According to Mayo Psychologist: Good for Our Homes, Good for Our Souls

By In the Loop

Mayo Clinic psychologist Craig Sawchuk, Ph.D., says that clearing clutter — recently popularized by organization consultant Marie Kondo’s new Netflix series — can be good for our souls as well as our homes.

It's a craze that's sweeping through (and sweeping up) living rooms, kitchens and closets — and every other space in our lives. Marie Kondo, the 34-year-old Japanese organization consultant, author and star of Netflix's wildly popular "Tidying Up With Marie Kondo," has our family and friends going through their homes, room by room, and chucking letting go of everything that doesn't spark joy. And then rolling their joy inducing T-shirts and such — the ones they decide to keep — into neat little rows of color-coded organization.

Regardless of whether you're into the KonMari method for clearing clutter, Craig Sawchuk, Ph.D., a psychologist at Mayo Clinic's  Rochester campus and co-chair of Mayo's Division of Integrated Behavioral Health, tells CNN's Jessica Ravitz that adopting Kondo's basic principles of organization (or the principles of other organizational gurus) are not only good for our homes, but also our souls.

That's because, Dr. Sawchuk tells Ravitz, they give us clear "roadmaps" and "strategies to inform problem solving and decision-making" to help guide us in what to keep, what to toss, and what to donate throughout our homes and lives as we "face our clutter."

More than that, though, "they offer an approach" to help us simplify our lives and "reduce that kind of visual distress." That flips a switch in our brains that tells us it's OK to get rid of the things around us that no longer spark joy. "Once you get into the groove of decision-making, it starts to feel good," Dr. Sawchuk tells Ravitz. "All those reasons to retain things, those retention beliefs, they start to weaken and fade."

In turn, our mental health strengthens and shines. "We become more relaxed because our environment is clearer," Dr. Sawchuk tells Ravitz. He says we also "process information differently because visually there's less noise" in our brains. When we dampen that noise and give away the things that don't speak to our heart, the altruism "can have a really, really good impact on us, psychologically," Dr. Sawchuk says.

You can read more of what Dr. Sawchuk has to say about Marie Kondo-ing our homes and lives here. Then speak to our hearts by sharing your comments below before using the social media tools atop this page to share this story with others.



Tags: Division of Integrated Behavioral Health, Dr. Craig Sawchuk, Health and Wellness, Mayo Clinic in Rochester

Good Morning from Idaho.
Marie Kondo declutter article
Is reaffirming to me as I have for years practiced the habit and it is quite literally refreshing , invigorating and a reaffirmation of my ability to take hold of my physical environment as an act of refreshing my mental health. U suffer clinical depression and occasional bouts of severe depression and my regular habit of defusing my anguish by clearing out clutter and resorting clothes is amazingly uplifting. U smiled at the comment of rolling and sorting tee shirts to color as is a regular habit that is extremely important to me ..The expressions of comfort jumps out as I roll and sort the shirts as a typical ending to the declutter process …..Long ago I developed a habit of attempting to sort out my depression anguish issues as I declutter and I have learned to be satisfied with what I work through even if some issues remain unresolved. Glad to know my solitary actions are widely practiced. As a practicing minimalist of many years the declutter can be simple as sorting through bills and records that I allow to accumulate and are a consistent signal to me of the level of my depression anguish.
Anguish outside of declutter acts is frequenty dealt with by whole house cleaning to include wiping down walls and super shining any surface. Thank you for the timely and excellent article . Jim smallwood

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