I’ve just read the weirdest, yet most amazing book: The life-changing magic of tidying up: The Japanese art of decluttering and organizing by Marie Kondo (KonMari).
You might wonder how a book about tidying and cleaning (blah, blah, blah) can be described as “amazing”…oh, but it is. In fact, it’s even inspirational.
I don’t know, maybe you have to be a woman to appreciate it or just someone who’s a bit of a neat freak? But there’s a reason why 3 million people (and counting) have bought this little book, and the reason is good.
Have you ever seen those TV shows about hoarders? Personally, I LOVE them (the shows, not the hoarders…haha). I love the “before & after”, the changes that can happen when you put your mind into something and DO IT.
Also, I’m becoming a big fan of the idea of downsizing or minimizing…living without a ton of stuff that you never use and don’t need. Life just seems simpler that way – without the clutter weighing you down.
So, Marie Kondo is a sweet looking Japanese decluttering and organizing GURU who has become quite famous worldwide. She runs her own company, gives talks about her “KonMari” cleaning technique and has a 3-month long waiting list of clients just dying to have her work with them on an individual basis.
But if you don’t want to (or can’t) hire her for a one-on-one session, just read the book, which promises that if you apply her technique, you’ll never have to tidy up again ever in your entire life! WOW! Those are some mighty BIG words for such a small-looking lady, in my opinion.
Basically, you need to get rid of stuff. Discarding is the first step – and perhaps the hardest. I mean, we bought all this stuff that we own and received a lot of them, as presents from loved ones. Parting with them seems almost equivalent to ripping out an organ.
But seriously, how many things do you have in your home that you’ve never used and will (likely) never use, because you don’t really need them? Look around. I’m guessing you have A LOT of these things sitting pretty…if you’re not already a minimalist.
So what you need to do is GET REAL about it. Go through all of your belongings in stages…do it all in one go (if you can), preferably without anyone else present to possibly distract you or to question what the heck you think you’re doing.
Divide your stuff into manageable categories. Don’t clean by location, e.g. kitchen, living room, bedroom, etc. – clean by categories:
- Miscellaneous (CDs, DVDs, beauty products, accessories, electrical appliances, household equipment, household supplies, kitchen goods, gifts, etc.)
- Sentimental items (mementos, photos, etc.)
What Marie Kondo urges you to do is place all of the things in each category on the floor and start going through the pile, picking up and touching each item while asking yourself:
Does this spark joy?
Don’t focus on whether or not you’ve used the item ever or think that you’ll use it, just focus on whether or not each item sparks joy – in your mind, heart, body and soul. If the answer is NO or even EHH, toss it, donate it or give it to someone who you believe might gladly (joyfully) receive it and use it.
You’re supposed to start with the things that you’ll be least attached to, and end up with the most personal items that have the most sentimental value. If you do it this way, by the time you’ll reach e.g. photos, you’ll already have the hang of it.
It takes a lot to discard sentimental items – photos, birthday cards, letters, etc., but sometimes we hold on to things for the wrong reason, and you’ll discover that if (when) you throw them out, you won’t actually miss them, and it won’t be the end of your life or the world. Personally, though, I would never throw out photos and don’t understand why she even has this as one of her categories.
Once you’ve sorted all of your stuff, you can move on to finding the perfect home for each item and learning to e.g. fold your clothes the RIGHT way.
The life-changing magic of tidying up is a small book, it’s short and to the point. When you think of it, there really isn’t much to the whole thing (maybe that’s just me?). The book is enjoyable to read and Marie Kondo mixes her advice with some anecdotes from her real life of working with various clients – and even includes a few “horror” stories. You can easily read the book in a few hours, which is good, because if you’re like me, you’ll be itching to get through it so that you can start your own process of decluttering.