As life got busier and busier, I noticed that my house was taking a beating, and I decided it was time for a change! I needed to get organized but didn’t even know where to start.
As I was lamenting this issue to my friends, Sincerely Megan suggested I read the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. At the same time, I was approaching a two-week vacation from work with nowhere to go. The stars were aligning for our family to become organized!
Marie Kondo starts the book discussing all of the common ideas about tidying such as tidying a little each day. What struck home for me is that she goes on to say that if you employ this method, you will be tidying everyday forever. Of course that was me so I gave up!
I am the type of person who has a very organized computer because I can have file folders to neatly store my documents and put them into categories to easy find them again. However, at home, I didn’t have an organization method. I have always heard that if you buy something then something else should be thrown away. What if I didn’t want to throw something away? With the Marie Kondo’s method or also known as KonMari method, it isn’t about throwing things away. It is more about keeping what brings you joy and deliberately finding a space for your items. If they have a space, then you can keep them.
This book changed my life so much that I could write my own novel on the book. Instead, listed below are the top 5 lessons that I learned.
- When tidying start with your clothes first. Save memorabilia for the end. By the end of your tidying you will be ready to truly decide what should be kept and what shouldn’t be. Many people make the mistake of starting with their keepsakes and never make it past that category. I like her idea of asking yourself, “Does it bring me joy?” I now ask this question when shopping. If it doesn’t bring me joy, I don’t buy it. Gone are the days that I am now spending money on clothes that I sort of like.
- Hold each item when deciding if it is meant to stay. For instance, when I held each article of clothing, I noticed that I was keeping things because they fit or because someone complimented it. I wasn’t keeping it because I truly liked it. When it didn’t bring me joy, it was time to say goodbye to it even if it was a fairly new purchase.
- It is important to tidy by category not location. We have 2.5 bathrooms plus a laundry room. To tidy by category, I brought all of items from these rooms into my bedroom. I couldn’t believe what I found! We had 6 bottles of hairspray and 8 bottles of sunscreen. We had been purchasing these items and storing them in different rooms so we didn’t know how much we really had. They now have a specific location so it is easy to keep tabs on everything.
- Find a time to tidy, and do it all at once. Not everyone can take off for 2 weeks and clean. However, it can still be done. Decide on a time to start, and then begin working on the categories. The chapters in the book are based on each category so I was able to read a chapter at a time and devote all of my energy on that category. Once I was finished the chapter, I moved onto the next category. Having each chapter be on its own topic allowed me to concentrate on the task at hand. If I had trouble, I just reread the chapter. Also, it allowed me not to have to read the book all at once and have information overload. I read a chapter, tidied, and then read the next chapter.
- Discard things that you might or might not use. Have you ever saved the extra button from a new shirt because you might need it someday? I did! The problem was that I never did sew those buttons onto my shirts. By the time they needed that extra button, I was no longer interested in wearing that shirt anymore. As I was tidying, I threw them all out, and if I get any now, I remember this little fact. I will not be sewing them onto the shirt so throw them out. Kondo does suggest for those expensive coats that you sew the extra button onto the inside of your coat for safe keeping if you think you will need it someday. Then you know where it is, and it is in a handy location.
In the end, our family discarded 30 bags of trash, 20 bags of clothes, and 4 bins of books. We were able to donate the clothes and books, and it felt so great to give what we weren’t using to people who could use them.
Even after completing this life-changing tidying up, I realize that I still don’t always keep the house perfect. I am still learning. For instance, I know that I need a better system for where to put incoming mail. This has still been an issue. However, I know I can fix it simply by giving it a place. Everything that has a location is still neatly tucked away. While I know that I may never be perfect, I am armed with the tools to keep our house in order, and by having order, I feel more relaxed in our house, which is a great feeling!
To be continued…
Feel free to ask questions or post your thoughts about what needs to be tidied.
If you are interested in purchasing this book, check it out here. http://amzn.to/2r8P0CZ