I had been hearing about The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing everywhere around the interwebs it seemed. I finally got it from the library and read it over the weekend – it was a fast, easy read. Marie Kondo, the author, has developed her own tidying philosophy, the KonMarie method, which she claims has a failure rate among her clients of zero.
I poked a little fun at her via Instagram last week because she cleans her shampoo and other shower items after each use and puts them in a cupboard. She also talks to her possessions as she puts them away each day. When she comes home from work each day, she cleans out her purse and has this lovely sounding end-of-the-day ritual that I’m sure would make me much happier and more clear-headed – except for the fact that when I’m walking in the door, typically two little people are also coming in the door with me, and I’m lucky to get them to put their coats away, let alone have time to clean out my purse, have some tea, and thank my possessions as I put them away. I’m not saying she doesn’t have some great and helpful ideas; I’m just saying some of the stuff sounded a bit too far out there – even for me.
But there were four tidbits that I’ll share here that seriously might change my life a bit, as she promises:
1. When decluttering, go into each task thinking what you want to keep, not what you want to get rid of. I had always gone into spring cleaning with the thought, “what do I no longer use/want?” Maybe it’s just me, but for some reason, thinking primarily of what I wanted to keep (a positive thought instead of a negative one), helped me to get rid of so much more stuff.
2. Declutter by category, not by room. She recommends that you tackle your tidying by category, not by room. We often have things spread throughout the house, so when you tackle a category at a time versus a room at a time, it’s so much easier to spot duplicates and better organize what you choose to keep. She recommends you start with clothes, then books, then papers, miscellaneous stuff, then mementos (saving the hardest for last). I don’t know about you, but I have many, many more categories of stuff in my life than just those. I’m working on making my own little list that is a bit more practical for me, but the whole idea of categories versus rooms helped my purging.
3. Keep only those things that “spark joy.” She uses this as a criteria for everything she owns. She started to lose me a bit in this part – there are plenty of possessions that I have (my tooth brush, lawn mower, kids’ toys, to name a few) that don’t spark joy, but that I also can’t really get rid of entirely. However, this criteria is helpful in thinking through what to keep and want to give away.
4. Roll instead of fold and stack. I had always stacked things in my drawers, but Kondo recommends rolling things in your drawers instead. I had no idea how magic this was until I tried it, and now I’m totally sold. Not only can I fit more stuff in my drawers with this method, but I can see everything at once, which saves me a remarkable amount of time sifting through drawers to find a shirt that I think might be on the bottom, but is, in fact, in the laundry. Here are lots of videos of Kondo demonstrating her folding.
I don’t mean to make too much fun – this book is an international bestseller for a reason (probably because so many of us first-world peeps have far too much STUFF that we can’t figure out what to do with it all), and I’ll be continuing to put many of her ideas into practice at our house as we are continually trying to simplify our lives and our home to free us up to do more of what brings us joy.
If you’ve read it, let me know what you thought in the comments! Or, if not, share your favorite simplifying tips or books in the comments.