Confession time: In the last year I’ve become a little obsessed with minimalism and the KonMari Method. It all started with decluttering videos which were the “gateway” that got me hooked on minimalism and lead me to binge watch countless decorating and wardrobe culling videos on YouTube (Muchelle B’s 30 Days To Simplify Your Life Challenge series was my fave).
As most minimalism journeys go, all roads lead to the book, The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, and consequently her signature “KonMari Method”. I had heard of the book previously but never realized the need to read it until now. Although I won’t be giving you a full fledged book review, I will say that despite some of the book being a little too “out there” for my tastes, the core concept of The KonMari Method is brilliant.
But unlike other articles you may have read about the KonMari Method of decluttering, this post will show you how to apply it within the context of a cruelty-free lifestyle so that your home decor will not only align with your ethics, but the life you aspire to.
The Benefits Of Decluttering
I’ve always leaned towards the modern, minimalist aesthetic, but the KonMari concept of only keeping the essentials in your home and discarding the rest appealed to me. I was already applying the “less is more” aesthetic in my home decorating style and considered myself a master of “tidying” but after reading The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up, I realized there was room for improvement.
I soon discovered that decluttering my belongings was liberating and left me with feelings of freedom, empowerment, and a sense of accomplishment (it was addictive!) Best of all, decluttering had a direct affect on the interior design of my apartment, breathing new life into my space without having to buy a thing to re-decorate.
What Is The KonMari Method?
Just in case you haven’t heard of the mega successful book, The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, I will break it down for you. As the title suggests, the book focuses on the life changing benefits of decluttering your home using the author’s unique process called the KonMari Method. The KonMari Method goes like this:
- Tidy all at once.
- Visualize your end goal.
- Identity why you want to live the way you envision.
- Determine if each item “sparks joy” (you’ve likely heard this popular sentiment before!)
- Tidy by category, not location.
- Tidy and declutter in the right order: clothes, then books, then papers and then miscellany. For the purposes of cruelty-free decluttering we will just be focusing on the clothes and miscellany (which in this case is beauty and decor). But for now, this post will be focusing on decor. You can read the post on decluttering clothes and accessories here and decluttering beauty products here.
- Discard (recycle, donate, etc.) before placing things back.
Reading this book from the perspective of a vegan, I immediately made a connection between Marie Kondo’s rule of only keeping things that spark joy and the importance that I personally place on only owning items that are true to my beliefs; which are to only eat, wear, and own products that do not contribute to the suffering of animals (i.e. are cruelty-free and/or vegan).
As a vegan, you are always consciously thinking of what’s in your kitchen, but what about the rest of your home — in your wardrobe, in your make up bag, even in your decor? By putting the KonMari method within the context of a cruelty-free lifestyle, I have created a new way that aspiring vegans and vegetarians alike can apply the principles in The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up in a more compassionate way to elevate their personal style while simultaneously decluttering their home.
How To Use The KonMari Method To Go Vegan With Your Home Decor
The golden (and perhaps the most widely known) rule in The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up is to only keep items that bring you joy and discard the ones that do not. As Marie Kondo says, “Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest. By doing this, you can reset your life and embark on a new lifestyle.” So to state the obvious, if you are vegetarian or vegan and want to have a truly, completely cruelty-free lifestyle then you must only surround yourself with things that aspire to the compassionate life that you want to live and that speak to your beliefs. Items that don’t align with your ethics will only subconsciously conflict with what you know is right in your heart of hearts and cause you guilt, which is the opposite of joy!
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Find Your ‘Why’
Why are you vegetarian or vegan, or why do you want to make the lifestyle change to become one? How will you feel when you’re living a completely cruelty-free lifestyle? How will your life look? Consider this quote from Marie Kondo: “The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.” How do you want to live your life? What do you have to let go of in order to achieve it?
“The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.” – Marie Kondo
Once you answer these questions completely and honestly (feel free to write them out if that’s your style!) you are ready to examine your belongings and determine if each item contributes to, or detracts from the lifestyle that you want to have.
The KonMari Method: Does The Item Spark Joy?
Aside from (in my opinion) the ground breaking trick of decluttering by category, the most important takeaway that Ms.Kondo drives home to her readers of The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up is to always be asking yourself if an item “sparks joy”; So to reexamine the KonMari Method from a cruelty-free perspective, we will be honing in and expanding on this broad question with a series of more pointed guiding questions that will help you determine if an item aligns with your beliefs and most importantly, if it is vegan…
Guiding Questions: Decor
1. Does it contain any animal byproducts?
2. Does it align with my personal beliefs and ethics?
3. Am I proud to own this item? Why or why not?
4. Gut check: Does this item bring me happiness or guilt?
5. Am I only holding onto it because it was a gift, or it holds sentimental value?
If your item contains animal byproducts and failed to meet the standards of your Guiding Questions then you should say goodbye to it (i.e. resell, donate, recycle or give it away to a friend) to make room for the items in your life that do make the cruelty-free cut.
Pro Tip: Virtually any textile item can be recycled (from fabric scraps, to pillow covers, to old blankets). A quick Google search can help you find facilities that recycle fabric and textiles in your area, or you can simply toss ’em in a bag and drop them off at any H&M store to be recycled through their international garment collecting initiative (Bonus: you get a $5 coupon for every visit!)
For a guide on which fabrics are vegan and which ones you should avoid, download this checklist that includes the Guiding Questions outlined above by clicking the button below:
Vegan Decor Shopping Resources
It’s easier than you think to find furniture and home accessories that are not only vegan, but just as aesthetically pleasing as their counterpart; So your home can reflect your compassionate values without sacrificing your personal style. Thankfully, more and more major retailers are beginning to carry decor alternatives that are free of animal byproducts in their fabrics yet also attractive and affordable. Here are some of my faves:
- Crate and Barrel: One of my all-time favourite home decor stores, Crate and Barrel carries down-free bedding and throw pillow inserts.
- Restoration Hardware: Their faux fur blankets are as equally cozy as they are beautiful.
- West Elm: Their luxe, faux fur throw blankets look extremely realistic and add a sophisticated touch to any room. They also carry down-free bedding options.
- Pottery Barn: They offer a wide variety of both traditional and contemporary faux fur blanket and throw pillow designs as well as down alternative bedding.
- Indigo/Chapters: They have a stunning collection of faux Mongolian fur pillow covers that are virtually impossible to tell apart from the real deal (they’re so realistic in fact, that my advice is to read the tags just to be sure!)
- Rugs USA: My go-to online hub for buying beautiful yet affordable area rugs. They have a wide range of cruelty-free options including rugs made from Tencel, acrylic, or other synthetic materials.
Vegan Home Goods: My Picks
Faux Leather and Hide
Vegan Leather Moroccan Gold Pouf from Baba Souk
Vegan Leather Moroccan Silver Pouf from Baba Souk
Faux Gold Printed Cowhide Rug from World Market
Faux Mongolian Fur Throw Pillow in ‘Ivory’ from Indigo
Faux Mongolian Fur Throw Pillow in ‘Blush’ from Indigo
Faux Mongolian Fur Throw Pillow in ‘Silver Grey’ from Indigo
Faux Mongolian Fur Throw Blanket from Indigo
Mongolian Faux Fur Stool from Pottery Barn
Faux Fur Sheepskin Throw in ‘Ivory’ from West Elm
Faux Fur Brushed Tips Throw in ‘Blush’ from West Elm
Faux Fur Brushed Tips Throw in ‘Platinum’ from West Elm
Kasmhir Faux Fur Round Pouf from Restoration Hardware
Arctic White Faux Fur Stool With Hairpin Legs from Restoration Hardware
Kashmir Faux Fur Throw Blankets from Restoration Hardware
Moroccan Faux Fur Throw Blanket from Pottery Barn
To recap, when using the KonMari Method vegan-style, the key is to find your ‘why’ and answer the Guiding Questions honestly when decluttering to determine if each item truly “sparks joy” and brings you closer to the cruelty-free lifestyle that you aspire to.
For a more in-depth guide on vegan fabrics and a handy printable of the Guiding Questions, download the Vegan KonMari Method For Home Decor Checklist by clicking the button below:
I wish you luck on your cruelty-free decluttering journey! When you complete it, share your results in the comment section below. What is your ‘why’? What did you get rid of on the way to your cruelty-free lifestyle? How did you feel after decluttering using this method?