How NOT to Travel, as Inspired by Tidiness Guru Marie Kondo

15 Things Travellers SHOULDN’T Do, as Inspired by Marie Kondo

Ask yourself, “What would Marie Kondo do?”

Travel can be messy… and the last thing you want your next holiday to be is, well, a mess. Enter Marie Kondo — author, tidiness guru, and the Messiah of those who are neck-deep in clutter.

marie kondo

Image credit: Jilson Tiu

Her claim to fame was the bestselling book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” which is basically a guide to the KonMari Method, a way of decluttering that has proven to be life-altering for those who’ve committed to it. Ten million books (and counting) sold and a Netflix series later, Marie Kondo has transformed into a viral clean kween who has made tidying up very, very cool.

marie kondo gif

Marie Kondo can be seen everywhere online; in fact, her perky demeanour and positive outlook have blessed the Internet with countless memes and gifs. Today, we turn to Marie Kondo to see how her organisation technique could improve the way you travel… if you let it.

So it’s time to ask yourself: “What would Marie Kondo NEVER do on a trip?”

1. NEVER pack anything that doesn’t spark joy

Disciples of Marie Kondo know this statement well, “Spark joy.” It’s what Kondo lives by and it’s what she reiterates in all her books. (In fact, her second book is titled, “Spark Joy.”) Put simply, Mari Kondo teaches people to surround themselves with — and only keep — things that “speak to your heart” and spark joy. If something doesn’t spark joy, then into the bin it goes.

Before you say that sounds a tad too sentimental, let me assure you that there’s actually some degree of practicality in Marie Kondo’s philosophy. For example, it’s very much applicable to packing for travel. Light packers might not relate, but overpacking is a simple problem most travellers encounter.

Taking into consideration Marie Kondo’s motto, the next time you pack, ask yourself, “Does this item spark joy?” Will a thick jacket spark joy when I’m only going to use it at the airport on the way to a tropical destination where it’s mostly humid and sunny? Will my Kindle spark joy when I know I’ll be going on a hike? It’s a fancier way of asking, “Do you really need that sh*t or can you leave it behind?”

2. NEVER travel with anyone who doesn’t spark joy

spark joy

I think we all know the crappy feeling of being with someone who doesn’t spark joy. I mean, you don’t have to be sunshine and rainbows all the time, but at least don’t be a pain. Save yourself the trouble; don’t let it happen on any of your trips! Here’s a little something in case you have a difficult time deciding who you can travel with…

Also read: Yikes! 10 Signs You’re Travelling with the WRONG Buddy

3. NEVER go anywhere that doesn’t spark joy while you’re planning

Signs that you’re not going to like where you’re headed: You’re not amused by what you see while you’re planning, or you see researching for your trip as time-consuming and bothersome. Come on, if you like what you see, it’s supposed to be worth the effort, right?

If that place doesn’t spark joy even when you just see a photo of it online, then think twice about booking that trip.

4. NEVER leave home without knowing how to clean up after yourself

marie kondo

If you think about it, Marie Kondo has built an empire on one life skill alone — tidying up. It sounds simple, but for a lot of people, it really is easier said than done. So here’s your dose of daily honesty: if you can’t effectively and sustainably clean up after yourself at home, chances are you’re a slob on-the-go. This is the part where you ask yourself, “Do I spark joy for my travel buddies?”

5. NEVER leave things on the floor

Duh. The floor is the dirtiest part of any place, especially if it hasn’t seen any cleaning in years? Decades? So NEVER place your belongings on the floor. Just don’t.

6. NEVER hoard keepsakes and souvenirs

marie kondo

Sometimes we feel like our belongings pile up every year and it’s just so difficult to decide which items stay and which ones go. This is actually how Marie Kondo came up with her “spark joy” criterion. But a way to make things easier is to start asking yourself the same question before you even buy anything.

They’re pretty and eye-catching (and sometimes sparkly), but to collect dust or to take up space — such is the fate of most souvenirs. So every time you find yourself reaching for one in a cute store abroad, think twice and ask yourself…

7. NEVER bring clothes that you won’t wear

See #1. Remember, an item may spark joy, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you need it for that particular trip. Make sure that there’s a use for everything you’re lugging around. Otherwise, it’s just a waste of space and luggage allowance.

8. NEVER feel guilty for wanting to prioritise your well-being on travels

face mask

Speaking of sparking joy, you won’t be able to open yourself to any kind of joy if you’re feeling down yourself. So make sure you prioritise your well-being on any trip. You don’t always have to say yes to everything that’s offered to you. But also, don’t forget to push your limits once in a while.

9. NEVER put off hygiene, tidying, and (un)packing

If you put off any of these, chances are you’ll end up lazing around or falling asleep. So do yourself (and your companions) a favour by also prioritising hygiene and tidying up. Keeping your accommodation clean is one way of making your trip pleasant. And don’t stress yourself out by packing and unpacking till the last minute.

10. NEVER not know where your things are

marie kondo packing

Not knowing where your things are is a MAJOR sign that you’re a slob. Okay, okay, you can also be a bit forgetful… which is why we recommend packing (and folding) in a neat, systematic manner so that you can easily locate your belongings in whatever luggage you choose to bring.

If you need help with this, simply search for Marie Kondo’s storage and folding methods on Youtube. You won’t be disappointed. Or watch her show on Netflix.

marie kondo folding

11. NEVER be afraid to break free from routine

A lot of people think that to successfully incorporate tidying up in your daily routine, one should clean bit by bit every day. But Marie Kondo begs to differ. She believes that to help reorganising make a HUGE impact on your life, you have to do it in one go and make it a special affair. Only then will you be able to feel how life-changing the magic of tidying up really is. See what we did there? That’s the title of her book. *wink wink*

Kondo believes that when you feel this magic, the rest will follow. You’ll be more conscious of what you purchase and how you store your things. Rather than decluttering regularly, you’ll be more committed to making sure that clutter doesn’t pile up in the first place. Marie Kondo is convinced that this shocking affair of one big clean-up brings about clarity and positivity, and feeds us radiant energy.

That said, never be afraid to break free from routine. You might be one extraordinary affair away from something that just alters your life forever.

12. NEVER settle for a living space that you don’t want to come home to

marie kondo cleaning tips

Tidying up is all about creating spaces and versions of ourselves that we love. The same goes for the accommodations we book on any trip, as well as our home. Here are things to remember: One, choose accommodations that you’d want to come home to. Two, never let yourself settle for a living space that you DON’T want to come home to after your trip.

13. NEVER be afraid to discard anything that doesn’t spark joy during your travels… or even at home

This is pretty much self-explanatory. But also, NEVER discard hastily and carelessly. Marie Kondo asks us to think before we throw things away. Do that and be comfortable with the decisions you make.

14. NEVER go home without any lessons in tow

marie kondo lessons

Marie Kondo believes that all our belongings, at one point, have served us well. Even if you’re about to throw them out, remember that they did serve a purpose at some point in your life. Other belongings even remind us of skills and learnings we picked up along the way. That old textbook you’re about to throw out might have helped you learn a new language. Your old rags and sponges kept your house spick and span through the years.

Treat your travels the same way. Even the worst trips hold life lessons. The most unforgettable trips sometimes make us remember parts of ourselves we’ve lost and forgotten.

Also read: 15 Practical Life Skills that Travel Teaches You

15. NEVER leave a place without being thankful

Before throwing ANYTHING out, Marie Kondo asks you to hold that item and commit to actually discarding it. And before you chuck it in the bin, you have to thank it. That’s for an inanimate object that you’re about to throw out… what more for a place that you’re about to leave? Go home grateful.

marie kondo

If Marie Kondo’s life mission is to “spark joy in the world through tidying,” why not follow suit by sparking joy in the world through travelling? Let us know how that goes. Happy sparking!

About Author

Alyosha Robillos
Alyosha Robillos

In Russia, Alyosha is a boy's name popularised by literary greats Dostoevsky and Tolstoy—but this particular Alyosha is neither Russian nor a boy. She is a writer from the Philippines who loves exploring the world as much as she likes staying at home. Her life's mission is to pet every friendly critter there is. When she isn't busy doing that, she sniffs out stories and scribbles away on the backs of old receipts. She is an advocate of many things: culture and heritage, the environment, skincare and snacking, to name a few. She will work for lifetime supplies of french fries and coffee. Or yogurt. Or cheese, preferably Brie.


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