I recently finished Marie Kondo’s book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Now typically, when I think “tidying” and “magic” my brain immediately goes to Mary Poppins. That gal could clean up a room in no time. And she was so cheerful. To be honest, I have a tough time finding an element of fun in every darn job that must be done. Some aren’t so bad – I really don’t mind making the bed. Dishes? Not so terrible. Picking up the house? This makes me loony.
Maybe it’s because my toddler only cleans up after himself when he feels like partaking in the experiment of “Will this block go in this basket?” Maybe it’s because we have a zany schedule that changes every day and every week – so it’s hard to maintain a rhythm of keeping the house tidy.
STUFF. There’s just so much stuff. I go cross-eyed thinking about it.
Our family has developed a mantra in the past few years – “It’s just a thing.” We say this whenever a piece of furniture gets a ding in it. Whenever a wine glass breaks. Whenever a mysterious stain appears on the carpet or a page gets torn in a book. “It’s just a thing.” We’ve gotten to the point where we really, really don’t want to be so attached to things. Because the stuff in our lives may be useful, lovely, or sentimental – but at the end of the day it’s just a thing. An object. It’s only as meaningful as we allow it to be. And truthfully – these things, all this stuff, weighs us down more than it brings us joy.
So, when I kept hearing rave reviews of Kondo’s book and her “KonMari Method” of tidying, I was super intrigued. Maybe I’m late to the game, but I finally read it and well – what can I say…. It is life changing magic.
Here’s what I loved about the The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and why the KonMari method is working for us:
There’s no rocket science to this method. No expensive organizational units to purchase. The only thing required is time and brutal self-honesty. The KonMari method suggests that every item that a person possesses should bring the owner joy:
The best way to choose what to keep and what to throw away is to take each item in one’s hand and ask: “Does this spark joy?” If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it. This is not only the simplest but also the most accurate yardstick by which to judge.
The Advice is Practical
One of my favorite bits of advice is Kondo’s suggestion for storing clothing. After I purged my clothes (my sister who acted as my wing-woman during the purge, questioned my giant purple leg-warmers, but I was able to honestly say that yes they still bring me joy…. and warmth…), I folded all my clothes according to Kondo’s method. Instead of laying clothes on top of each other, Kondo suggests folding the clothes so that they stand on end. This way, clothes stay folded and everything in the drawer is visible. Folks… It’s been over a month and I haven’t gone back. I can actually see EVERYTHING in my drawer at once! Never going back. (If you want to learn more of Kondo’s folding methods you can watch some of her YouTube videos here and here.)
It Gets to the Heart of the Matter
Kondo pushes her readers to really consider why they want a tidy house. Beyond just “I want things to be neat and organized.” Kondo points out that possessions are more than just items stuffed in a closet:
The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.
For our family, getting rid of stuff has been liberating. We want to live a life that is free from the weight of possessions! Free from years of clutter and sentimentality. Free to live in the present instead of the past.
My personal goal is to eliminate most of our storage items. What’s the point in having excess clothing that we never wear? Or books that we never read? We’ve already gone through all our clothes and books and some of the kitchen items. And truly – it’s been freeing. This purge will likely take us well into 2016, so I’ll keep you posted on our progress! I may not be Mary Poppins, but I’m thinking Poppins’ magic won’t necessary after I’m done with the KonMari method.
Any other Marie Kondo fans out there? What are your favorite tips for organizing?