Have you discovered The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up?
This little book came into my life a few weeks ago. The minute I read the title, I was hooked. Life changing and magical? I’m in!
The author, Marie Kondo, has become quite a celebrity, not only in her native country of Japan, but in the U.K. and U.S., too, thanks to her unique mindful approach to de-cluttering.
With her gentle, heart-centered method, Kondo manages to tap into that deep desire for clarity, simplicity, and ease we all seem to be yearning for these days.
Even though my home looks pretty tidy to outsiders, I’m painfully aware of the coat closet about to burst, the piles of extra pillows and blankets and candles and vases hidden in a guest-room closet, and dozens of boxes of memorabilia, unused appliances (hello ice cream maker!), and Beanie Babies in the basement storage room.
With just two of us living in a 5-bedroom house, we’re blessed with plenty of space, and we’ve done a great job of filling every inch of it. With stuff.
I know from past decluttering projects that getting rid of excess leaves me feeling light, happy, and free from ties to the past.
Lately I’ve been feeling weighed down, not only by stuff, but by mental baggage, so I’m hoping this journey to a truly tidy home will help me clear my head so I can make better decisions.
What I like about Kondo’s approach is that she offers a unique method for deciding what to keep: hold each item in your hand and ask yourself, does it spark joy?
If so, keep it. (Kondo also gives great tips for folding and storing things so they take up the least amount of space possible.)
If the item doesn’t elicit feelings of joy, then give thanks for the value it brought to your life and discard or donate it.
The idea behind the joy criterion is that when you’re finished tidying, your home will be filled only with things that bring you joy.
Doesn’t that sound wonderful?
The author also gives a specific order to use when tidying: begin with clothing (first tops, then bottoms, etc.), followed by books, papers, miscellaneous items, and finally photos and keepsakes.
Kondo promises that once you’ve finished tidying according to her instructions, as long as you’ve created a place to store every item you own and take the time to put each item in its place after wearing or using it, you’ll never have to tidy again.
My experience (so far):
I’ve been tidying for a few days now, and it’s been nothing short of empowering.
I’ve gone through all of my clothes and books, using joy as the determining factor on what to keep.
At first, the deciding part was a bit tricky, but as I’ve progressed, determining what to keep and what to discard has become easier and easier, and I’m starting to trust my decisions more and more.
One surprising thing I’ve discovered is that how much I spent on something has no bearing on whether or not it sparks joy.
My closet and drawers are now so perfect (and tidy), I can’t help myself–I have to drop what I’m doing and take a peek at them several times a day!
My exercise clothes, which used to fill two drawers, now neatly fit into one. (My folding skills still need a workout, though.)
I’m excited to keep going, although the next category to be tackled is papers, which is a bit daunting. Not a lot of joy-sparking to be found there, I’m afraid.
Still, it will be fun to see where this journey takes me. At the very least, I’ll end up with a tidy home.
At most, I’ll discover more about myself along the way.
Through the act of holding each item I own in my hands and deciding whether or not it sparks joy, I’m actually making a decision about who I am and the kind of life I want to live.
That’s pretty magical stuff.