I learned of this book from a review on Viktoria's blog. It sounded like a fun way to approach the subject, and Viktoria sent me her copy to try. (Thank you!)
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo takes the tack that you should go through your possessions by type instead of location, so you gather the clothes, for example, from all over your house and go through them item by item instead of tidying your house one room at the time. She has you choose which items to keep based on whether or not they bring you joy, then you get rid of everything else. She says the process will take about 6 months to complete and then will never have to be done again. You won't ever again have to tidy a little bit every day. You can read an excerpt here.
I think Kondo's system is worth trying. I'm working on clothing now, and have bagged up clothes that either no longer fit or that I'd forgotten I had. I do find myself wondering as I look at my 2 closets which remain full, if perhaps joy comes too easily to me. She may think this is a one-time activity, but I think I could go through this process again with the clothes I have left and discard more. Perhaps I need to re-define "joy" for the purpose of this process.
I've been going though a process these past couple of years of paring down my possessions, but my system is extremely gradual. Every day or so I go to my bookcases and pull down a book that I think I probably won't ever read again and donate that book. I do the same thing with my DVD racks. Honestly, after a couple of years, I can tell a difference but I don't think anybody else can. I have managed to pare down to five 7-foot tall bookcases, leaving room for knick-knacks on some of the shelves. While I work on the clothes I find myself passing the book shelves and taking down some books as I pass, saying, "Who am I kidding, I'll never read that again." The DVDs seem hopeless, with ten 7-foot-tall DVD shelves full and stacks of DVDs on the floor not yet watched.
I haven't tried emptying my purse when I come home, which is part of her plan. One of my issues is that I actually keep my purse by my bed with my wallet/phone/keys handy. I don't know, maybe that long-predicted earthquake will happen in the night, and I'll need my purse.... I'm finding the purse-emptying idea to be a bit stressful for whatever reason.
I have adapted her system in several ways:
- I prefer to hang everything that can hang. All tops and pants I own are hanging in my closet. No clothes except socks, underwear, and sleeping clothes are in drawers.
- I don't like her system of folding. I have given it a try, but I prefer to roll my sleeping clothes and stack my underwear instead of standing things up. I don't know how she keeps clothes that are stored standing on edge from falling over once some are removed.
- I hang clothing in outfits with tops and pants/skirts together. I started doing this when I realized I tended to wear the same thing every day and that my tops are not wearable with all the pants. I matched my clothes up in top/pants outfits that went together and hung them up that way. My jeans hang at the far right of the closet and are worn with those tops that don't have dedicated pants/skirts. Now when I take off my clothes I hang them on a hangar and put them at the right side of the closet next to the jeans. The next day I pick something from the left side of the closet. It works wonderfully for me, but that means I'm ignoring her system of hanging clothes.
Her order is clothing first and keepsakes/mementos last. I have an attic full of keepsakes once I finish with everything else. That'll be tough. I'm giving some to the kids as they marry (silver candlesticks, crystal vases, milk glass, etc.), and I'll keep passing them on gradually, but I can't see just getting rid of most of the keepsakes.
I found a few videos that inspired me before the book came. She has several presentations that I watched. This is her folding method:
Marie Kondo discusses her history with organizing and describes her current methods in this talk:
Here's how she does a bookshelf:
Today.com praises the system and says, "Kondo's method really can change your life — if you let it." The Guardian has a positive review. The WSJ has a lengthy and glowing report. The New York Times reporter jumped in with both feet and tells of his joy: "My weekend was lost to Ms. Kondo. After three days, I had given four bags of clothing and two bags of shoes to the Salvation Army...."
Psychology Today recommends it highly and says,
I do encourage you to pick up the book (downloading means no additional physical clutter) or get it from the library, because her Eastern philosophy is critical to understanding why the rules work and why they make sense (and will seem a bit wacky to some Westerners). Her book also helps with the emotions around decluttering things like gifts people have given you, or important paperwork.NPR has an excerpt. Slate has an article by Kondo.
Spirituality and Practice says,
Kondo firmly believes that serious tidying up cannot be done in baby steps of 15 minutes daily or throwing out a few things every day. Her philosophy is to do it all at once. Kondo's criteria for tossing or keeping something is, "Does it spark joy in you or not?" There are many other tips in this very helpful book but we are recommending it highly because of the spiritual practices it offers for use in the home and with possessions.