Koreans Embrace Decluttering in Lockdown

      September 12, 2020 08:29

      Many Koreans are radically trimming down their lives and possessions amid the coronavirus crisis. They are decluttering their homes, where they suddenly have to spend much more time, getting rid of unnecessary objects and keeping only what they consider essential.

      Newlyweds Yoo Min-jae (33) and Choi Seung-woo (35) live in northeastern Seoul. "It's time to lighten our load," Yoo said. "We started throwing away useless things since we're moving to a new home in a month, but spending more time at home due to the epidemic also made us rethink what is really important."

      The have become ardent followers of decluttering guru Marie Kondo, whose advice is to keep only things that "spark joy."

      SM C&C's Tillion Pro polled 1,032 people and found that 39.1 percent are decluttering. Some 40.1 percent said their interest in tidying up and embracing a minimalist approach increased with the pandemic, while 15.6 percent said it rose "sharply." 

      Asked why, 46.1 percent said they want a better environment because they spend so much time at home, while 33.6 percent said they want to reset their lifestyle after the pandemic, and 16.3 percent cited practical reasons like having to reorganize their apartment because they now work from home.

      Asked what the most difficult part was, 31.1 percent cited old habits, 23.3 percent the different lifestyles of family members, and 19.5 percent a lack of time to tidy up their homes. Some 18.5 percent pointed out that they end up buying more goods that make their increased time at home more enjoyable.

      But minimalism in coronavirus time focuses not just on downsizing but on establishing a new "smart" lifestyle with high-tech appliances for home exercise and work from home. Products like face masks and hand sanitizer have also become essentials, and in order to stock up on them a tidy room is vital.

      Interior design consultant Jung Hee-sook said, "As families spend more time at home with each other, getting rid of things could lead to arguments. We now have to be selective and fill the new space with essential items." 

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