I was sitting at lunch catching up with a friend when she told me about a book that she read recently that changed her life. I was skeptical when she told me that it involved organization because I’m a pretty organized person. But, if a book changes someone’s life, I become very curious.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.
Turns out that this is a very popular book. I guess I’ve been hiding under a rock with this one because I had never heard of it. I downloaded it to my Kindle and last Sunday read it. Well, I got about 3/4 of the way through, in fact, and began the magic. The book breaks down organization by four groups – clothing, books, papers and trinkets. At least this is the pattern that you should use instead of cleaning up room by room. By the end of the day Sunday, I had 13 bags of give-away items and 8 bags of things to throw out.
The part that makes it hard for me to throw away or give away items is boiled down to guilt. Will I feel guilty if I give away this gift that came from my sister when I was a teenager? Will I feel guilty giving away this plastic doll that my daughter loved for a few days when she was four? Will I regret getting rid of this framed wedding picture that’s been sitting in this storage box for 14 years when I have about a million others? Marie suggests that when we come across an items like this, we are to thank it for what it served – a lovely gift or space in time. All those items that we save for when we are old and we think we will care about when we are old? She says that we won’t. We won’t want to rummage through old boxes. So, if it does not serve a purpose in your life then it is okay to let it go and clear your space and mind for the present. I love that notion.
Kondo’s premise is that if the item does not “spark happiness” when you hold it then it is time to let it go.
I love that she does not dismiss the act of tidying, but really gives it relevance and the power to change our present mind-state. I think we all feel better when our homes are de-cluttered, but the idea of being more productive and happier by cleaning out is worth trying her plan for, don’t you agree?
Even thought I thought I was organized, my closet still felt overwhelming. Books? I am a total book hoarder and was pretty sure I didn’t need to give away anything in print. But, I did and then I organized my books by color via my friend Gretchen via Design Sponge. Love anything rainbow.
A few suggestions from me:
- Use black utility bags. Once an item goes in the bag, you cannot see it and therefore change your mind about getting rid of it. It’s in the black bag and won’t tug at your heartstrings.
- Drink a black coffee before starting and take little breaks. This is serious work.
- Make sure your family/kids are not around. Kids and spouses can be speed bumps when it comes to something like this. At least mine are.
- If you are in the US, look up Greendrop. It is an organization that will donate items to popular charities and come to your home and pick your bags up. It is the greatest service.
- Consider consigning your more expensive clothing items. There are a few sites that you can do this online. I am trying thredUp and The Real Real this time around. I’ll let you know if the process works well.
I started last Sunday and will probably need another full weekend to really finish every space. I am leaving my kid’s rooms to last because I’m kind of dreading it. The main thing that I found that really worked was doing each category, like clothing, first. It made something click in my brain that was different than going closet by closet. Clothing is done. Books are done. Papers are almost done. And trinkets are next – and difficult.
Of course I had to end with a cat pic. Can you find Gus in this pile?