A book was brought to my attention by a good friend over a month ago that I want to share with you if you have not yet heard of it. It was originally written and published in Japanese by a young woman, named Marie Kondo. Since then it has been translated into many languages, and is a current best seller! It’s titled, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and I really loved it.
You will like this book if you are interested in clearing clutter from your home and need some inspiration to get going. Although I “kicked” the clutter-habit quite a few years ago, I still got some amazing insight and look forward to refolding my clothes the “Kon-Mari” way.
BASICS OF THE BOOK
1. Discard first, store later. Kondo believes that clutter is not to be organized and that the first step is to get rid of everything you don’t need. The first stage of clutter clearing is all about discarding.
2. Storage experts are hoarders. When you put things away, it only creates an illusion that the clutter problem has been solved, when in fact, your organized clutter is still clutter.
3. Start sorting by category, not location. She says, “Tidying up by location is a fatal mistake.” Sort your things by category instead, and begin to discard your clutter in the following order: clothes, books, papers, miscellaneous things, and then at the end, things with sentimental value.
4. “Does this spark joy?” She invites you to ask the question of every item you own, “Does it spark joy?” If it does, keep it. If it doesn’t, get rid of it. (Important documents are not included here.)
5. Never pile things. Her thing is vertical storage. She says that stacking is hard on the things at the bottom, and by storing things vertically, not only do you have a better view of what is in the drawer, but the garments are “happier.”
6. Learn how to fold. Kondo is adamant about properly folding things. She has a technique which enables you to store things standing up, rather than stacked by laying flat.
The bottom line focus is that it’s more about holding on to what brings you joy, and where to keep it, than it is about discarding. Also, that tidying should be done by category rather than by room.
QUOTES FROM THE BOOK:
“If you think tidying is an endless chore that must be done every day, you are gravely mistaken. There are two types of tidying—‘daily tidying’ and ‘special event tidying.’ . . . The purpose of this book is to inspire you to tackle the ‘special event’ of putting your house in order as soon as possible.”
“Putting things away creates the illusion that the clutter problem has been solved. But sooner or later, all the storage units are full, the room once again overflows with things, and some new and ‘easy’ storage method becomes necessary, creating a negative spiral. This is why tidying must start with discarding.”
“People who can’t stay tidy can be categorized into just three types: the ‘can’t-throw-it-away’ type, the ‘can’t-put-it-back’ type, and the ‘first-two-combined’ type. Ninety percent [of my clients] fall into the third category.”
“When you attend a seminar, do so with the resolve to part with every handout distributed. If you regret recycling it, take the same seminar again, and this time apply the learning. It’s paradoxical, but I believe that precisely because we hang on to such materials, we fail to put what we learn into practice.”
“The true purpose of a present is to be received. Presents are not ‘things’ but a means for conveying someone’s feelings. When viewed from this perspective, you don’t need to feel guilty for parting with a gift. Just thank it for the joy it gave you when you first received it.”
“Truly precious memories will never vanish even if you discard the objects associated with them. We live in the present. No matter how wonderful things used to be, we cannot live in the past. The joy and excitement we feel here and now are more important.”
“A common mistake many people make is to decide where to store things on the basis of where it’s easiest to take them out. . . . Storage should reduce the effort needed to put things away, not the effort needed to get them out.”
“Never pile things: vertical storage is the key. . . I am particularly obsessed with this point. I store every item vertically if possible, including clothes, which I fold and stand on edge in my drawers, and stockings, which I roll up and stand in a box.”
“But when we really delve into the reasons for why we can’t let something go, there are only two: an attachment to the past or a fear for the future.”
“Human beings can only truly cherish a limited number of things at one time. As I am both lazy and forgetful, I can’t take proper care of too many things. That is why I want to cherish properly the things I love, and that is why I have insisted on tidying for so much of my life.”
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
Don’t focus on reducing, or on efficient storage methods, for that matter. Focus instead on choosing the things that inspire joy and on enjoying life according to your own standards. This is the true pleasure of tidying.”
-Marie Kondo, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up