Some of you may have already heard about a little book called, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. If you haven’t heard of it yet, get on the bandwagon! It is an international best seller that has sold over two million copies since it was published in October of 2014. To prove it’s popularity, it took me quite a while to get this book in my own hands. I had requested this book at my local library back in April of 2015 and received it just in time for the new 2016 year.
Interestingly enough, my resolution for 2016 is to “simplify my life” and of course, the first step of this goal is to quite literally get rid of the clutter and tidy up! For me personally, this book couldn’t have come at a better time. I recently finished it, and thought I would share about some of what I liked, what I disliked, and what I have learned from The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
First of all, I should state that I have never considered myself to be a neat or tidy person. It’s just not a gene that I was born with, despite my Mother’s best efforts (thanks for trying, Mom!). It takes a while for clutter to drive me crazy, and it’s usually when it is obviously a mess and needs to be cleaned in a desperate last minute attempt before guest arrive (hello, procrastination).
When I lived at home, it was much easier to know when I should tidy up because my parents would tell me and usually prevent me from doing what I wanted until it was done. When I began living on my own, though, it became my complete responsibility (as did everything else, such as bills…ugh) and I gave myself much more time to get it done…almost too much time.
Since moving in with Ben, it has become even more of a struggle since there is twice the amount of stuff now. He also does not happen to have the “cleaning gene.” We are good at holding ourselves accountable for daily clutter (such as mail, dishes, laundry, etc.) but we still have a lot of things that we need to go through and get rid of, both individually and together, after close to a year of living together. I thought this book would help me get the kick that I needed to accomplish this never ending task that I have been putting off for quite a while.
Luckily, I did find this book and Marie Kondo’s method of tidying to be helpful, though it is pretty extreme compared to other methods that I have heard before and tried to implement in my life. The basic concept of her method of tidying is to go through each item individually and ask yourself, “Does this spark joy?” If the answer is yes, you keep the item and find a place for it in your home. If the answer is no or even maybe, you donate it or throw it away. No more questions asked. No debating it anymore. Simple as that. Based on this concept alone, I was able to get rid of a lot of things in my home (especially my closet) that were no longer giving me joy. And I didn’t wait around to see if I could try selling these items first. I just donated them or threw them away so I could get it over with. And it felt great!
Marie Kondo also recommends to tackle and sort everything by category instead of by room, since multiple items that are in the same category tend to be found in separate rooms. Her tidying order is clothes, books, papers, miscellaneous items and sentimental items. I agree that when I started with my clothes first and it helped me to get into the mode and get excited about getting rid of other items I no longer needed or felt any joy from. She also goes into more detailed descriptions of how to begin sorting through these categories, what should be kept and what shouldn’t be, how long certain things (particularly papers) should be kept for, and how to begin sorting through everything and designating each item it’s own space in your home. I found all of this to be very helpful and it made me want to buy the book so I don’t forget her good advice and helpful tips when I need them later.
One thing that I didn’t like was her almost obsessive need for tidying and making everything perfect. Again, her concept will seem pretty extreme for anyone who is normally not neat, such as myself. She has been tidying and organizing her things since she was very young and obviously was born to tidy up and share her wisdom with others. I think the rest of us can be cut some slack and try to do our best.
The other thing that I didn’t really care for is that she suggests communicating with our possessions and let them know that we are appreciative of them. I understand that you should be grateful for your possessions, but to verbally greet and thank them out loud every day was a bit much for me to take in.
Overall, this book has inspired me and has already helped me with my own struggles of getting rid of, sorting, and tidying my things. I am looking forward to using the Marie Kondo method for the rest of our home and to simplify my way of living for 2016!
If you are interested in getting in on the tidying craze with me, please comment or message me so we can share the experience together! If you have also read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, let me know what you think. I am interested in seeing what other people thought of it and if they agree with me. If you haven’t read it yet but would like to, you can find it on Amazon here.