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. 

 
Not!
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!
 



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