Decluttering Your Mind: How the KonMari Method Can Help People Living with Cancer

“Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” – Albert Einstein

People living with cancer are frequently faced with stressful situations that others may never understand. Assisting them to eliminate unnecessary clutter and stress can enhance their sense of control, decrease worry about the future and create an environment filled only with what is most essential to them and the people they care about. One way to create this environment is to apply a popular home organizing method to more than just belongings – apply it to life.

The KonMari Method, developed by Marie Kondo, was designed to simplify and organize the home; to help individuals create an environment that is conducive to growing physical and emotional health by eliminating unnecessary stress around them. Kondo came up with a concept she calls "sparking joy" – identifying and keeping only things that make people truly happy and bring joy to life.

This concept resonates widely because it can help people simplify or lighten not only their physical, but also their mental, load and it works especially well for people living with cancer.

Lilly Oncology partnered with Karin Socci, Master KonMari Consultant and former clinical psychotherapist, to develop a unique program presented to the cancer patient advocacy community at ASCO. Here are Karin’s top tips for helping people living with cancer create their best environment to feel empowered and uplifted during cancer treatment:

  1. Visualization: The KonMari Vision is your personal perspective of your best life going forward. How do you visualize your personal sanctuary of support? Could better organization promote serenity during times of uncertainty?
  2. Environment: Create an environment that assists, sustains and uplifts you. Treat the things and people that support you, including yourself, with care and honor.
  3. Organization: Establish a permanent ‘home’ for important items: From your care plan to medical supplies, set up a system to keep like things together, be where you will use them, be visible and easy to access and easy to put away.

The process and techniques provide a framework for patient advocates to bring back to their organizations and the patients they serve to help them manage their stress and create an optimal environment as they work to cope with the uncertainties they face in their cancer journey.