Last April, my hubby and I got this book. THIS book, that seriously changed our lives. You have probably heard of it…. The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, now a best seller in Japan, Europe and US, selling over 2 million copies. Yeah, it’s that good.
First, something to keep in mind–If you are not in the mindset or of the belief that you need your home/life cleaned up, then this book might not be for you. You must first have the interest, inclination, desire to have a tidy home/life. I truly believe that “self-help” books, which this sort of is, only work if you first, TRULY want a specific change in your life. No one can tell you or give you this book. You have to want it, get it and then read it right away! Otherwise, you are just cluttering your life with more books, info, ideas, etc. AND, if this is something you desire, then you will be open to the ideas of this book. Being OPEN and READY for change is essential!
Now, there are a ton of reviews of this book on-line, but I wanted to share my experience.
The idea of this book is really simple and has totally flipped conventional ideas of tidying up and organizing. Instead of stressing about what you should get rid of, the focus is on keeping what you love. I just love the idea of being surrounded by what you love, don’t you? So, you simply ask yourself this one question for every item in your home, “Does this spark joy in my life?”
It’s a life-changer, I promise. Once you get going, you can’t stop. The decision process can be hard at times, but I think you will instinctively know whether something sparks joy or not. And dare I say that this may trickle into your personal, work and social life as well. Does your job spark joy, does that one family member or sort-of friend spark joy in your life? Will that obligation or thing you said yes to spark joy? This doesn’t always work of course, but it is something to think about.
There are some areas and items which are very hard to make that distinction between not sparking joy, but being very useful, or possibly useful. For instance, it is obvious that Marie Kondo is not a mother (no kids or husband) and that she is not a DIY-er. If asked, my kids would argue that EVERYTHING in our home sparks joy (although we did send a good portion of toys out of the house). And my husband and I, with our DIY tendencies, found a lot of things fall into this weird category of not sparking joy, not totally necessary, but possibly very useful for future projects. A lot of tools, art/craft supplies fall into this category.
Marie Kondo would say to buy it when you need it. But why buy pipe cleaners when you already have them? Pipe cleaners in no way spark joy in my life, but let me tell how many times my kids have come home and needed them for homework or school project.
What I love:
* Sparking Joy is the driving force behind this concept. Marie suggest you hold everything in your hand when decided and I believe this to be very important, otherwise you might not know how you feel about it.
* Gratitude. Thanking all the little things for making your life easier/better – your socks, your bag, your favorite tea cup. Adding another layer of gratitude into your life certainly could’t hurt.
* The gift is in the giving and the receiving – I love this idea. Sometimes we hold onto things we don’t like because it was a gift. Sorry, awkward and ugly, super tall glass vase from Uncle X — you’re outta here!
* Fold don’t hang. This alone has made my dresser and closet so beautifully organized. I know where every single item of clothing I own is. No more seasonal containers of clothing under the bed or in the closet. I had 18 pairs of pants in my closet (!!!) and I only wear the same 6 over and over. The rest were out. This makes getting ready SO mush easier in the morning. Coats, jackets and things that don’t fold easily hang nicely in the closet. everything else is folded. I love it!
* Organize by category not room. This keeps you from having to go back and forth and having to re-organize. For example, if you decided to tackle the books in one room, you would probably keep finding more books as you go through the rest of your house. Tackling all the books at once allows you to completely focus on the next category.
What happened/our thought:
* It took us 8 days to go through every room, closet, cupboard, cabinet, drawer and container. NOTHING was left unturned. Kondo stresses that you start one category and finish it in one fell swoop. You can space the other categories out over time as you need.
* We filled an entire dumpster with trash, 4 large recycle bins with just paper stuff and got rid of several large pieces of furniture that were junk pile collectors. Plus, we had a large yard sale and made almost $500 off our junk! The items left over (2 carloads) went to a local thrift shop.
* We went mostly by category, except for my art studio and my husband’s library/office. Since we both work from home and keep our work in its own room, it made sense to us to keep these rooms separate and it worked.
* We learned that clothes don’t always spark joy for men the same way they do for women and sometimes you keep clothing you don’t like so you can paint and work in them.
5 months later:
Our home felt a lot more roomy and airy after the big clean out. Even our friends noticed. Surprisingly, we’ve been able to keep it that way. Now, when I shop, I am much more discerning about what comes home. If we buy a replacement item, we immediately get rid of the old item instead of stashing it somewhere, just in case. And when I buy new clothing, I go through my closet and try to get rid of the same number of clothing that no longer sparks joy.
In all honesty, there were a few ideas in the book that didn’t stick )like cleaning out your purse everyday – not gonna happen), but most ideas did stick and work for us. It is definitely a process, but well worth it. The mind shift that happens is truly life changing .
In the spirit of tidying up, I would like to give one lucky person my copy of this book. The winner must promise to read it right away (so that it doesn’t add to the clutter of your home) and then pass it on to someone else who would like to read it.
Leave a comment if you are up to the challenge.