A new book is trending in the organization world. Have you heard of it?
A charming little book titled, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. I decided to give it a read and was thoroughly inspired by it.
The book is written by Japanese cleaning consultant, Marie Kondo. She has titled her organization method The KonMari method, which is promised to be the organization/cleaning method that will only need to be done once. Here are a few highlights from the book and my thoughts regarding my reading…
KonMari method has two phases: discarding and storage. It is intended to be done marathon fashion as opposed to little by little. Basically, get it all done and move on with life. The discarding phase takes place by categories: clothing, books, paper, miscellany, mementos. The order of the categories is important as you work yourself up to making decisions about discarding mementos, the hardest of our possessions to part with.
“Tidying” begins with a massive amount of discarding. We own too much stuff to ever stay organized and thus must eliminate large quantities of possessions. Discard by category, rather than room by room, to get a vision of how much of the same thing you really have. For example, books. Following KonMari method, I would bring all the books I own into one space. I then sort them into keep and discard by touching each book and asking myself, “does this bring me joy?” Kondo give excellent strategies to help yourself get rid of the excess. That pile of books I bought but have never read have served their purpose (to teach me that I don’t really want to read them). Get rid of them and move on to what I want right now. That old Spanish textbook has served its purpose and taught me what I needed at the time. Bye bye. Once your book collection has been slimmed down, then each book is given a home.
As you move through each category, your possessions are trimmed to only the most loved and each item is given a home. When used it is returned to its home, thus always keeping your home tidy. No need for a lot of fancy organizing systems, just a closet or two.
In the words of Kondo, “Just because you dispose of something does not mean you give up past experiences or your identity. Through the process of selecting only those things that inspire joy, you can identify precisely what you love and what you need.” Through tidying in this method, we discover what we really like and arrange our house accordingly.
There is a lot to love about this book. It is easy to read and gives simple, concise directions to follow Kondo’s plan. It oozes sweet and happy and makes one feel that they can achieve the lifestyle described. I’ve just hit some highlights in this post. As I have been feeling cluttered lately and unable to keep up, the message of simplifying spoke to me. Having recently undergone some major wardrobe discarding in my closet, I have felt the benefits of unloading excess. I would definitely like to try some more discarding!
I also liked how the book addresses decision making. It is an important part of the process as you decide what to keep/discard. This newly honed ability transfers into other aspects of life adding up to an happier you.
On the down-side: Marie Kondo has two major differences from me that I see as roadblocks to truly becoming “tidy” as she describes. One she is Japanese and I am American. There are some definite cultural differences that come through in the book. I pretty sure she does not have a garage full of holiday decorating items, yard work tools, and snow sleds. Americans take the crown when it comes to owning too much stuff! I have many possessions that don’t fall into any of her categories. Guess I need to add some more categories. Secondly, she is single and I am married with 4 kids. While Marie talks about family clients in her book, the overall tone slants towards a single lifestyle. I’m quite sure my husband won’t be onboard if I start throwing his stuff away! It is harder to organize a house full of people than just yourself.
Negatives aside, I was lifted by the book and can’t wait to start some “tidying” around my place. Stay tuned for how it goes for this (trying-to-be) organized mom!