Have you hard about the book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up”? No? Well, grab your coffee and tuck yourself into the couch for a couple of minutes. You’re going to want to hear about this book.
“The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up – The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” by Marie Kondo is another book about organizing. I’ve read a dozen organizing books, which says something about organizing books. If one of them worked, I wouldn’t need to read twelve of them. What makes this book different for me is the “Konmari Method” of keeping only those things that bring you joy and then treating those things reverently. As in, thanking your socks at the end of the day for taking care of your feet. And patting your purse good night before you put it away. It sounds more than a little kooky, I know, but I like the idea of taking a moment to be thankful for the things that support you in your daily activities. It’s changed the way I think about the stuff in my house and has broken down my last resistances to decluttering. Because if I come across a “thing” that I’m not sure about, I have one question to ask myself, “Does it bring me joy?”. And if the answer is no, I can thank that object for having served me in the past and then set it free. It’s a good feeling.
While I have read the entire book, I have not made it through the entire process of decluttering. Kondo has a different approach to decluttering. She basically declutters by categories. First category is Clothing, then books, then papers, then keepsakes and then rest of the miscellany that has amassed in your house. And Kondo is adamant that you go in order. So, rule follower that I am, I started with my clothes. Here’s what I started with:
That’s my pile of clothes before. Yes, I made my daughter stand next to it for perspective. The Konmari Method requires that you remove, in this case, all of your articles of clothing from the closet and put them on the floor (same goes for each category, all books off the shelf, all papers out of the paper hidey holes and onto the floor). This is genius. First, if you are like me you will see the dramatic excess that you own. This pile was really eye opening. I go through my closet often, probably 3-4 times a year. And I STILL had all of this stuff. Taking it out of the closet and onto the floor took away that feeling of “if I get rid of stuff I’ll have nothing left”. Clearly, I had more than enough to spare. Second, plopping everything down on the floor requires that you touch each article of clothing and make a decision on it. Joy, or no joy? And this is where the magic of joy or no joy really comes into play. Most of the stuff that brought me joy was the stuff that I wear regularly, that is comfortable and that looks cute. Fine, easy decision there. But, you know what else got to stay? The navy blue polka dot dress that I wore to my son’s baptism that absolutely does not fit, but that I do LOVE and definitely still brings me joy. It’s still hanging in my closet. And because I got rid of so much stuff that was definitely not joyful, I don’t even feel guilty when I look at it hanging there knowing that I will probably not ever wear it again. I can just smile at it and give it a pat and thank it for the happy memories it gives me.
Here is the pile of clothes after my declutter session:
I think I got rid of more than half of my clothes. That was a few weeks ago and I couldn’t even tell you what went into those black trash bags. I don’t miss a thing. Not a single regret.
Now, the process is time consuming. The clothes decluttering took a few hours. Finding all of the clothes you own is not as easy as you might think. And then touching each piece, tossing things and then finally hanging stuff back up was all kind of exhausting. But my favorite part was the folding. If you get the book for no other reason than to learn the Konmari method for folding, it will be worth it. Check this out:
There are 22 size 12(ish) girls shirts in that drawer. I can see at a glance which shirt is which and they don’t come out of the drawer wrinkled. It has made picking out clothes for my kids a breeze.
I’ve been slowly making my way through the categories and have completed books and I’m working on papers. It’s a tough one, but I will definitely report back when that’s done!