The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Monday, August 31, 2015

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
By Marie Kondo

I’ve always loved organizing, but I also tend to be a bit of a pack rat. I get sentimentally attached to old t-shirts and concert ticket stubs. Combining those two things can sometimes be interesting, but in recent years I think I’ve gotten better at getting rid of things.

Since getting pregnant and thinking about adding another whole person to our home. I’ve been wondering where on earth we were going to put all their clothes, pack and plays, strollers, etc. For a tiny person, babies sure do need a lot of stuff. I've also been thinking about all the things I need to go through and get rid of. Turning our guest room into a nursery is going to take some effort and the first step is getting rid of stuff. So I dove right in and ended up having a huge garage sale with all the stuff we purged.

(Yard sale with items we purged!)

I’d heard a lot about this book and wanted to check it out before I started my big purge. Kondo’s approach to organization is methodical and merciless. She has a good systems and lots of practical tips which I appreciated. I'll admit that some of what she says didn't resonate with me at all. I do not need to give my socks a rest; I'm still going to fold them. I'm not going to empty my handbag every night. I'm going to dump it by the door and leave all the contents in it and grab it the next day when I leave. But there are other things in her book that I just love.

I thought her system for the order in which you should go through your belongings to get rid of them was very smart. It does seem easier to start with clothes, then books, then papers, and sentimental items. I went through every closet, drawer and cabinet in my house over the course of a couple weekends. I got rid of tons of told paperwork, clothes, books, outdated electronics, shoes, and more.

(The guest room closet, full of my clothes, before)

(The guest room closet after. Half of it will be filled with baby things.)

One of the most helpful things she said was that certain things have fulfilled their purpose even if you’ve only worn them once. I tend to feel like I have to get more use out of an item in order to make it worth it. Even if it’s a bridesmaids dress or a top that I hate, I hang on to it because it seems wasteful to only wear it once. I felt like her philosophy gave me the freedom to let those items go. She said that maybe that items purpose was to teach you that a particular style doesn’t look good on you. Once you realize that you don’t have to keep the item, which you never wear, in the hopes that you’ll one day get more use out of it.

(Before the yard sale was set up)

BOTTOM LINE: A useful read and one that definitely inspired me to dig deeper into my closet and keep filling those Goodwill boxes.

“Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest. By doing this, you can reset your life and embark on a new lifestyle.”

“I recommend you dispose of anything that does not fall into one of three categories: currently in use, needed for a limited period of time, or must be kept indefinitely.”


(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

First, Melissa -- big time congrats on your mom-to-be news (somehow I missed that post) exciting.

I just purchased this book as well and haven't read it all but she definitely does make your feel less guilty about purging unused stuff. I've gotten read of lots of stuff already -- kitchenware, electronics, clothing etc and plenty of books (not done yet). I will never roll and place my sweaters and tees in drawers though. I like everything nicely pressed when I put it on and since I have the closet space I prefer the hanging method:)

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Diane - Thanks! I'm so with you on hanging stuff in my closet and not rolling. Some things I just can't change.

Meg @ write meg! said...

I'm halfway through this one now and definitely find it inspiring! With a baby taking over our space right now, I definitely feel cramped and cluttered. I haven't taken any steps to put her approach into action yet, but I'm thinking that will happen over the winter when we're house-bound in the cold!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Meg - That's a great time to do it! I think my "nesting" mode kicked into gear early and helped me dive into the project.

Anonymous said...

I bought this when I found out I was 187th on the library list for it. Then I loaned it to a friend and just got it back. I need a few helpful tips.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

bkclubcare - I listened the the library audio version because the wait list for the hard copy was insane! Sounds like it's popular everywhere.

thecuecard said...

The book sounds like it would be helpful. Does she say anything about procrastination?? Maybe I feel overwhelmed so I dont want to start getting rid of things. I just want to hide it away. I have all this stuff in boxes and crates in the basement that I dont want to deal with. Sigh

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

thecuecard - She doesn't talk about procrastination too much. But she does have a good system of what order to tackle things in. If you start with sentimental objects you're sure to give up because you're focusing on emotional attachment.

Belle Wong said...

I need to read this. I'll be packing for a big move this month, and I'm definitely hoping I can pack a little lighter!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Belle - I always think that moving is a great time to get rid of stuff. It really makes you evaluate what you need as you go through everything. Good luck!