Staying Organized the Japanese Way | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan
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Staying Organized the Japanese Way

By Afia Ibnat Apr 7, 2023

In Japan, staying organized is deeply ingrained in the culture, and it can be seen in everything from the minimalist design of homes to the precision of daily routines. If you are a foreign resident living in Japan, it is essential to learn how to be organized in a Japanese way. Here are some tips and tricks to help you get started:

Tips to Live an Organized Life

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Embrace Minimalism

One of the main aspects of Japanese organization is minimalism. The idea is to keep only the essential things and eliminate clutter. This approach not only helps to keep your space tidy but also promotes a sense of calmness and clarity. To embrace minimalism, start by decluttering your home and removing things you no longer need. You can also adopt a minimalist mindset when shopping for new items, only buying what you truly need instead of what you want.

For individuals who do not want to adopt a minimalist lifestyle but still want to lead an environmentally conscious and organized life, there are workarounds. It is essential to reduce consumption and waste by investing in high-quality, long-lasting products and avoiding disposable items. Creating designated storage areas and regular decluttering can help keep spaces organized and efficient without sacrificing personal style or comfort. Incorporating sustainable practices into daily routines, such as composting, recycling, and using energy-efficient appliances, can help reduce environmental impact without drastically changing one’s lifestyle.

Use the KonMari Method

The KonMari method, created by Marie Kondo, has gained international fame for its effective approach to decluttering and organizing. The method involves sorting items by category and keeping only those that spark joy. To use this method, start by gathering all items in a specific category (such as clothing or books) and then holding each item to determine if it sparks joy. If an item does not spark joy, thank it for its service and discard it. 

Utilize Storage Solutions

Japanese organization also relies on storage solutions that make the most of limited space. For example, using stackable storage boxes or utilizing vertical space with wall-mounted shelves can help keep your space tidy and maximize storage. Additionally, investing in multi-functional furniture can help you make the most of your space while keeping things organized.

The Truth Behind Not Being Able to Declutter

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Mental health can have a significant impact on a person’s motivation to clean and organize. For individuals struggling with depression, anxiety, or other mental health conditions, even simple tasks such as doing laundry or washing dishes can feel overwhelming. It is essential to recognize that mental health struggles can affect a person’s ability to stay organized and to approach cleaning and organizing with a compassionate and understanding mindset. Additionally, it is crucial to recognize that staying organized is not a measure of personal worth and that allowing oneself grace and forgiveness is an important aspect of self-care.

The hypercapitalism of the 21st century also has been an impediment to living a minimalist lifestyle. The consumerist culture that capitalism promotes values the accumulation of material possessions as a measure of success and happiness. This ideology encourages people to consume more than they need, leading to waste, overconsumption of natural resources, and a focus on profit over sustainability. Additionally, the fast-paced, productivity-driven nature of capitalism can make it difficult for individuals to prioritize self-care, including taking the time to stay organized and declutter. Recognizing these systemic factors can help individuals understand the challenges they may face when trying to live a more minimalist and sustainable lifestyle and encourage them to be more mindful of their consumption habits.

Stay Organized But Take it Easy

Amidst the hustle and bustle and the fast-paced nature of life, it is difficult to find the time to practice enough mindfulness to fully enjoy the process of cleaning. That being said, living in a clutter-free environment drastically improves our headspace. So next time you struggle to get things done, try to clean for at least five minutes, and it will make a huge difference in your surroundings. Grant yourself gentleness and know that you do not have to overdo it on days that life depletes all your energy. 

Related Articles:

  1. Why is Japan So Clean?
  2. The Secret World of the Japanese Organized Crime: Yakuza
  3. Hikikomori: A Moral Panic in Japan
  4. Wabi-sabi: The Japanese Way of Finding Perfection in Imperfection

Why is Japan So Clean?

Featured image credit: Canva