Do you long for a clutter-free home?
You and me both! This longing is behind the success of a little book that makes big promises.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo, has been taking the organizing world by storm. (Disclosure: Affiliate links are present.) The author is a Japanese woman who’s spent her life in pursuit of the perfect organizing and decluttering (she uses the word “tidying”) methods. She calls her collective techniques “KonMari.”
After you read this book, you might actually find yourself forever changed.
The basic KonMari principles are:
1. Keep only things that spark joy in your life.
That lovely blue platter in my glass hutch? Tons of joy there! The old vintage piano? Absolutely! The mess of binders stashed in a bin? Not so much. They need to be tidied.
2. Declutter only one type of item at a time and not by location in your home.
For instance, declutter and organize ALL your books at once. It’s tempting to tidy room by room, but Kondo cautions that this is a mistake. If you don’t tidy ALL your clothing at the same time, you’ll forever be tidying clothing.
3. Realize that “someday” never comes.
It’s very easy to use the excuse that you “might’ (one of the 3 most dangerous words for decluttering) need an item someday. But in the meantime, you’re holding on to all those someday things at a cost. You may be better off letting them go.
4. As you declutter, pick up every item individually.
You’ll know which things you want to keep and which really don’t spark joy for you. This happened to me quite naturally as I decluttered my closet.
This includes children, spouses and other family members. Likely you’ll have plenty of your own things to tidy. Plus, your successes may inspire family members to follow suit.
6. Treat the things that remain with respect.
The author goes so far as to thank her possessions for their service to her. Even if you don’t subscribe to this Japanese custom, you can still be mindful in how you manage your belongings. Do this by making sure they’re well taken care of and that you have a place for everything you own.
Want some decluttering inspiration?
Instagram is overflowing with before and after photos of peoples’ KonMari projects. This tidying – it’s addictive, people, and it’s making a huge difference in people’s homes. After all, who could argue with the goal to keep only the things that spark joy in your life?
I’m still at the beginning of my own KonMari journey.
Clearly I’ve got a lot to declutter. Ahem. But I’m having fun and making progress. That’s a good thing, right?
As I’ve been tidying, I’ve learned some important lessons. Why is it that as you get older, you only feel like there’s so much more to learn? Sigh.
Here are 4 things I learned from the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
1. Things that once sparked joy may now be things I don’t need. What to do in these cases? Marie Kondo recommends thanking these objects for their service and passing them on. While I’m not thanking inanimate objects, it has really helped me to realize that once something has served it’s purpose, I can be grateful and still pass it on. Here are some tips for decluttering sentimental items.
2. Having a place for everything is a Really Big Deal! Every clutter hotspot in my home is really due to things piling up that don’t have a good place to be stored.
3. I disagree with her advice on folding clothing. I just don’t care about my socks that much to lovingly fold them and deposit them in a drawer. This is one of the homemaking “rules” that I frequently break.
4. Marie states that you can tidy once and be done. This is enormously motivating when you’re reading the book – if I can just get through this tidying, I’ll NEVER have to do it again! Unfortunately, it hasn’t been the case for me. Maybe we just have too many people and too many things. Or maybe it’s having kids who aren’t on the same page. Or maybe I just haven’t devoted enough time to do it “properly.” Maybe because I’m not a single Japanese woman living in a tiny apartment. Regardless, for now my tidying is an on-going activity.
What to declutter next?
My kitchen has just been reorganized and my wardrobe is completely updated. I think that means it’s time to address the home office, paperwork and bookshelves (picture above). I’ll let post an update soon to let you know how it goes.
You can get The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up at Amazon. I recommend the Kindle version so as to not create more clutter.
In the meantime, I want to know: do you have one area of your house or your life that is free of clutter?
Leave me a comment or tag me on Instagram (@earlybirdmom). I’d love to see your results.