I read the life changing magic of tidying up as I was beginning my annual clean up of our living space. For the last four decades or so I’ve taken a couple of weeks each year to go systematically through every single drawer and shelf and cupboard of whatever place we happen to call home at the time and toss and organize and rearrange. I thought I’d been doing a pretty good job of this but Marie Kondo’s book proved me WRONG!
She advocates laying out in front of you every single thing you own, one category at a time, be that books or clothes or photographs or kitchen utensils. Then you need to pick up each item and consider it carefully, asking yourself the key question does this item give me joy? Kondo says you will be amazed at how many things you can part with after asking that question.
Reading Kondo’s book was helpful. I didn’t have the time and space to lay everything out as Kondo suggests but I did ask her question about many possessions and in addition three others ” When was the last time you used this?” “Will you ever use this again? “ “Will my children have any interest in this item once I’m gone?” Those questions plus Kondo’s question about joy made it possible for me to part with more things than I ever have before.
Before Kondo’s book came out and she became a best-selling celebrity she made her living helping people declutter their homes. She claims a nearly 100% success rate with her clients. Once they had done a massive one time clean up of their living space using her principles and methods they never let things get cluttered again.
Kondo calls her method magic because she says once your living space is tidy and organized you feel so much happier and so much more relaxed. Your organized home will help you organize the rest of your life and inspire you to achieve things you never thought possible. Some of Kondo’s methods and rituals seem a bit far-fetched and almost obsessive compulsive but that fact that she has sold millions of copies of her book means she has obviously touched a nerve with a public that is feeling overwhelmed by their possessions. There is certainly value in reconsidering our attachment to things especially if buying them and looking after them stands in the way of our relationships with people. And the key at least for me is that I need to be much more judicious and thoughtful about the things I acquire in the first place.