Truth be told, I’m an organizing geek. I love the Container Store and enjoy reading blogs/books about simplifying and organizing. For me it’s about finding ways to keep life simple and eliminate some stress. Life can be complicated enough, so the more ways I can find to simplify, the better.
And springtime is a great time to simplify and clear some space for what we want to welcome into our lives. With that in mind, I wanted to share a book I recently finished reading called, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” by Marie Kondo. Apparently, this book has been creating a huge buzz, but it just recently crossed my radar. The Wall Street Journal wrote about the phenom and included some videos and pics of the author’s patented folding techniques. More about that later!
The author, Marie Kondo, is truly passionate about tidying and decluttering! That is evident throughout the book. I think one of the reasons this book has become so popular is that she provides step-by-step guidelines on how to approach a task that can feel very overwhelming. It’s a very logical process yet she encourages us to make our choices on whether we keep or donate an item based on how it makes us feel.
I also appreciate that she believes that tidying/decluttering is something that should be done just once. It’s not something that should take up time on a regular basis. Thank goodness! Marie says that if you do a little at time, you won’t fully feel the effects of the change and may quickly revert back to your old ways. She believes that when you tidy and declutter all at once, you can see and feel the difference. I know this is how I have approached the task of decluttering in the past. I would often use a day or two of vacation time, to clear some space in my home and in effect my life. I know…it may not sound like that much fun, but the effects are worth it!
She has a process for figuring out if something stays or something goes. She suggests that you begin with items that trigger less of an emotional response. If we begin with mementos, we can get stuck going down memory lane and it becomes difficult to quickly identify if the object sparks joy. Therefore, she recommends that we begin with clothing. Then move to books, papers, miscellaneous, and finally things with sentimental value.
One of my favorite tips is that Marie encourages the reader to tidy by category rather than by space. For example, if you were to begin with clothes she suggests that we gather our clothes from all areas of the house together. She even provide guidelines how to break this up into smaller steps if needed.
You would then take those clothes and place them all on the bed. Then one by one pick up each item and ask if it sparks joy. If the answer is yes, it stays. If not, it goes. This is a guiding principle I have used in the past and it does help create a more peaceful, positive environment.
I think this is especially important with clothes, because it also becomes about accepting and loving yourself where you are in this moment. Looking into a closet and only having clothes that you hope to one day fit into, seems more like torture than joy to me!
The question of whether an item sparks joy is something I try to ask myself when shopping. It can become so easy to want to buy something because it’s on sale even though you just feel so-so about the item. I think this is a simple yet effective way to make conscious decisions about what we surround ourselves with. After all, I imagine we want our home to spark joy!
Marie Kondo offers many other helpful strategies throughout her book. People really seem to be embracing her folding technique, which is something I have not used as it doesn’t work with my set-up. But it does seem like it would save a ton of space!
Once we take time to declutter, I would encourage us to make a conscious effort to buy less stuff. Or at the very least become more mindful about what we choose to bring into our homes. There are some really creative options available to us with the growth of the sharing economy that can allow us to live more simply.
While at times it’s worth owning for the the convenience, I think this idea is worth exploring! For example, a company like Divvy Bikes allows people to rent a bike in Chicago for their daily commutes. The Story of Stuff shared a video, that mentioned some libraries now let you check out power tools. How cool is that?! Or you could do a clothing swap amongst friends like my friend Erica hosted a few years ago. I recently wore a sweater from the swap and received so many compliments. Thanks Olivia;-)
I know there are many more options than what I’ve listed here! Do you have any favorite techniques and strategies to help you declutter and keep life simple? I would love to hear about them! Please share in the comments below.
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