Tuesday, April 14, 2015

"The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up"

I love to organize and declutter so when I heard about a new book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and OrganizingI had to run right out and buy it. 

Translated from Japanese, Marie Kondo's little book is already #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list for non-fiction. This is pretty exciting stuff for compulsive organizers like me. As a woman who is teased by one and all for keeping my spices in alphabetical order, I was skeptical. Maybe this book would be just another "how to" repetition of the same old techniques. 

The "KonMari method" is the polar opposite of what we've been taught. Ms. Kondo tells us to take each item in our homes in our hands individually and ask, "Does this spark joy?"
If it does, keep it.
If it does not, discard it.
It's that simple. 


As I tried to keep an open mind, even Ms. Kondo's Shinto-like anthropomorphism began to make sense to me. It was freeing to know that I could "thank" an object for the past enjoyment it gave me and then gently say "Goodbye" to it.  At first it sounds corny but it actually works. No more guilt!
These books spark joy for me .

Yesterday I was able to bring books to Goodwill without feeling bad or wondering if I should keep them "to read again someday". I was surprised at how reframing the question I asked as I sorted changed the outcome. It was almost a religious experience!

Once you've purged, Ms. Kondo details the specifics of organizing what is left. She tells us to organize by category (e.g. all the books in the house at once) rather than one room at a time, as I'd always done it before.  She discusses storage and shares the Japanese method of folding to save space. She even reminds us that our socks have feelings and don't like being all balled up!

Before I read the book, I thought I'd already done a pretty good job of decluttering. After all, we successfully downsized from a 3500 square foot farm house to a condo, didn't we? Since I've read it, I've taken two more trips to Goodwill with the back of my Subaru full of things I thought I needed. It's OK to let them go now.

I'm busy packing for a trip to Cancun with "the girls" (we're all in our 50's and 60's) Saturday so, needless to say, I've got enough to do this week with out totally re-organizing our house. But now I can't seem to stop "kondo-izing".  While I was making pasta salad this afternoon, I found myself asking if the wooden spoon I held was sparking joy.
 After all this magical life-changing tidying, I think I really do need a week on a Mexican beach!

This post is magically liked to:
Tweak It Tuesday at Cozy Little House
Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style
Vintage Inspiration Party at Beyond the Picket Fence



  1. So Neat and Tidy. I have good intentions but my neatness doesn't last. Good for you.

  2. Enjoy your girl trip! They are so much fun and rejuvenating! I just bought that book but have not read it yet. My #1 daughter told me about it. I think it will really help me in my downsizing quest. Right now we are still on baby watch!

  3. My husband learned the term Kaizen in the working world and we are constantly doing what we call Kaizen cleaning around this tiny cottage.

  4. I don't know about you, but my brain doesn't work properly if the place is a mess. I blame creative 'blocks' on mess. Yet I keep finding excuses not to tidy. Bad bad me. Well done!

  5. Wow, sounds like an interesting technique to tidying up! I need to try it. Thanks for linking up to the Vintage Inspiration Party.

  6. I need to de-clutter, but when I get rid of something I often have regrets. One thing I do is take my things to a Goodwill that I don't shop at because I don't want to be tempted to re-buy my own things.

  7. Somewhere I read to use thrift stores as a personal storage cupboard. If you don't use something frequently, get rid of it, because you can probably find it at the thrift store for a fair price if you need one again, or you could borrow it from someone you know. In other words, let Goodwill store it for you. I sometimes think fear makes us hold onto things. What if we need it and no longer have it? My question these days is could I readily find one if I find that I need it again. That makes it easier to get rid of things for me. As far as holding onto things that someone gave to us, how badly would they feel if we passed that object onto someone else who could and would use it more than we would now? Once I thank someone for a gift, it is mine and I can do with it as I please. I never want to hurt someone's feelings, but when something doesn't work for me, I don't feel obligated to maintain a place for it in my home. I can pass it on. It isn't easy for some people to get rid of things. I was one of those people, but now I don't feel the same attachment as I used to. It could be my age or not wanting to move it when we leave or not wanting someone else to have to deal with it when I die.

  8. I honestly didn't think the book would affect me the way it has, but it truly has made it easier to let go of things I've been holding on to for all the wrong reasons. I'm still going to buy old junk that makes my heart go pitter-pat, but then something else will have to go. My storage room in our basement now has half the junk it had a week ago and I'm not done yet! I wish I had a girl trip coming up!


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