The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

When you put your house in order, you put your affairs and your past in order, too. – Marie Kondo

The time changed last night, and although we lose an hour, I don’t mind one bit because it is only a sign of good things to come. Warmer days, melting snow, fewer winter layers, maybe flowers will even begin to bloom. I’m hopeful.

Another thing that I always look forward to with warmer weather is spring cleaning. I love to go through our apartment and let go of all the things we’ve been holding onto for way too long. Just like the changing seasons, I find letting go of things to be incredibly refreshing. Does anyone else feel that way?

In an effort to be even more productive with our spring cleaning than in year’s past, I’ve been reading a book on tidying: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo.

Marie Kondo is a Japanese cleaning consultant who has pretty much been obsessed with organizing and tidying since the age of 5. She would literally organize the rooms in her home for fun after school when she was growing up. Can you imagine?

After many years of constantly tidying, Marie developed the KonMari Method, a system that she claims will help you keep things permanently tidy in your home. Her method is two-fold: discard your belongings and then store. She claims that with this method, anyone can achieve and maintain a tidy home, even if you are naturally lazy or sloppy. Intrigued? Here are some tips from her method to change your home, and life, with tidying:

1. Do not simply organize and store

Marie claims that organizing and the storage methods that come with it are a “booby trap.” Organizing is only a superficial answer. It does not solve the underlying problem, but simply hides the clutter rather than resolving the issue.

2. Make tidying a special, one-time event

Rather than tidying every day, the purpose of Marie’s method is to make tidying a one-time event in your life where you tidy your space completely and all in one shot.

3. Discard, then decide where to store 

These two steps are the only steps to the KonMari Method, however they are essential to perform in this order. While tidying in your “special event” above, you must first finish discarding everything before you can decide where to store anything.  Once you finish discarding, designate a specific place for each thing and store all similar items together.

4. Think in terms of category, not location

Marie claims that “tidying up by location is a fatal mistake” because not all like items are kept together. If you organize by category (books, clothes, toiletries, etc.) and gather similar items in one place, you will be more likely to realize what you truly want to keep.

5. Don’t begin with items of sentimental value

Marie says that the easiest way to start your tidying event is to tidy in this order: clothes, books, papers, miscellaneous items, mementos.

6. “Does this spark joy?”

Discarding items can be overwhelming. Marie suggests that when working through this step, take each item in hand and contemplate if it brings you joy. It it doesn’t, don’t keep it.

Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest. – Marie Kondo

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