How I Imagined My Ideal Lifestyle for My Tidying Process

I’ll start by quoting this previous blog post:

The part of the method I actually have done is visualizing my ideal life – in my bedroom. I did not try to visualize my ideal life overall, but I tried to think about how I would ideally like to spend my time in my bedroom, and what my bedroom would be like to best accommodate that.

What is your ideal life in your bedroom?

If I blog about it, which I may not, I will do so in a separate blog post. The point is that I did it. I have an idea of how I would ideally like it to be.

Guess what? This is the ‘separate blog post’ where I discuss how I imagined my ideal lifestyle for my KonMari process.

I focused my vision for my ideal lifestyle on my bedroom. Why? It is where I spend the majority of my time at home. More importantly, I was intimidated by the prospect of imagining my ideal lifestyle in all aspects. I needed to break it down just to make it seem manageable.

So, what do I want to do in my bedroom? Sleep. Drink tea. Blog. Do other things with the computer. Read. Engage in reverie. Work on crafts, such as sewing.

In my ideal lifestyle, I don’t interact with other people face-to-face in my bedroom, eat, or various other activities which I do want to do, just not here. Thus, this is only a portion of my ideal lifestyle, yet an important one.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up recommends browsing magazines to help one imagine one’s ideal lifestyle. I did this, and what I learned is that I don’t want to live in the kinds of homes that are featured in magazines. In fact, I think at some point I might have had this train of thought:

Me: I can’t imagine my ideal lifestyle based on what I’m seeing in these magazines. I’d rather live in a budget minshuku than the homes in these pictures.
Me: Wait a minute.
Me: Did I just think that I’d rather live in a budget minshuku?
Me: Hmmm, that might be an interesting clue about my ideal lifestyle.

And then I thought back on my old series of posts about my bed, particularly this part:

[The shikifuton is] consistent with washitsu style. During my extensive travels in Japan, I slept in washitsu-style rooms many times and became rather fond of them. I don’t intend to converting my entire bedroom into an authentic washitsu room, but for years I’ve thought it would be nice to incorporate some of that aesthetic. And now I have.


In a broader sense, both my travels in Japan and my backpacking trips have given me a taste for simplicity in my beds. Bed frames? Not necessary, and a hassle.

The other reason I care so much about portability is that, sooner or later, all beds have to be moved.

Here is a photo from that blog post series about my bed, it happens to sum up the aesthetic I chose for my vision in my KonMari process.

I want to have lots of space, especially for sewing and crafts (this is the thing that I do in my room which requires the most space). I want the freedom of being able to move things around easily without asking for assistance. I like being close to the ground/floor. I think the freedom of being able to move easily, of having many choices of body position, and being close to the floor are what I really like about washitsu style rooms.

I also care about the materials that go into my room. I want to have less-toxic and simpler materials. That affected many decisions around my bed, and now it is a major principle for everything I have in my room. It is both a matter of my own health and (slightly) reducing my impact on the environment. All of the furniture I have in my room now are either cushions which I made myself, or are made of solid wood (no fiberboard) and are older than me (i.e. I did not need to cause any trees to die in my lifetime to produce these furniture items). (And I know they are that old because they have been in my family for longer than I’ve been alive). Oh, I guess the shikifuton is also an item of furniture, it’s made of organic cotton. Making my own cushions was especially satisfying to me – I’m sitting on two of those cushions right now.

Ah, I also have a galvanized steel set of drawers in the closet. So, it’s not all wood. But since the stainless steel drawers are tucked away in the closet, they seem to have less of an effect on the ambience of the room as a whole. And they also fit my principles – I can carry them by myself (when empty), I found them on the street with a post-it note saying ‘FREE’ so I am reusing something which otherwise would have gone to recycling or landfill, and it is made from relatively less toxic materials.

Granted, I had made the cushions just before I had read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up for the first time. I happened to pick up the book at a time when I was particularly receptive to its message, and one of my first thoughts after I read it was that it could help me find a place for my newly made cushions in my room (though I did not immediately connect that with imagining my ideal lifestyle).

I also love the wooden floor. It has a lot of nicks and scratches, which gives it more character than a brand new floor. You can see that this floor has history! I know these hardwood floors were here before my mother bought the house, and she believes they are the original flooring of the building.

I removed all of the carpeting in the room so as much floor would be exposed as possible (though I did bring in one small carpet piece – about the size of a doormat – for a specific spot that needs protection). Not only is the wood much more beautiful than the carpet (to me), it is also much easier to clean. I think having all of my hard furniture (except the steel drawers in the closet, where they mostly out of sight) be made of solid wood helps harmonize the furniture with the wood floor, just as I feel the cushions, shikifuton, and goza mats all go together.

I did the exercise which Marie Kondo suggests, in which you list what you want in your life, and then ask why, and then ask why again. I’m looking at what I wrote again, and here is a sample:

– A lot less dust
– concered about health effect
– I want to keep myself in good health for as long as possible
– unpleasant
– I want to enjoy being in my room
– damages stuff
– I want the stuff I keep to be in good shape

Looking back at it now, I realize that if I were to do the exercise again, I would write it very differently. In particularly, I would be a lot more specific and thorough. There are also some things which, when I was trying to imagine my ideal lifestyle as I began the KonMari process, I thought were important, yet they later turned out not to be important. This section about the dust is actually the part I would probably change the least (and yes, I have succeeded in reducing and changing the dust, that could be its own blog post). Now that I actually am living out the part of my ideal lifestyle that happens in my room, I understand the details and the deeper feelings I have around this than I did in the beginning.

I think it’s okay that what I wrote when I began the KonMari process had some major flaws. It did not need to perfectly capture my ideal lifestyle. It just needed to tell me enough about my destination that I would know whether or not I was going in the right direction and to recognize it when I arrived.

Looking back on my KonMari process months after I finished, I would say that, out of Marie Kondo’s Six Basic Rules of Tidying, the rule “Imagine your ideal lifestyle” was the most important one for me, though “Commit yourself to tidying up” is a very close runner-up. The other rules were useful, even when I did not strictly adhere to them. Yet I think I would have succeeded even if I had not finished discarding first, tidied by location instead of category, totally ignored Marie Kondo’s order of categories (after all I adjusted the order because of practical problems), and used criteria different from “does it move your heart/does your heart skip a beat?” (nowadays I prefer that translation of tokimeku over the translation “spark joy” – here’s a good discussion of the translation issue). I don’t think I would have succeeded without commitment, and I can’t imagine myself succeeding without a vision of what I wanted.

1 thought on “How I Imagined My Ideal Lifestyle for My Tidying Process

  1. Pingback: The KonMari Method is So Popular, Why Does Almost Nobody Discuss One of the Most Important Steps? | The Notes Which Do Not Fit

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