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If you’re looking for ways to organize your home that will really stick, look no further.
The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up, written by cleaning consultant Marie Kondo, was first published in 2011 as a manual, of sorts, to organize you home while sparking joy in your life. It was published in the United States in 2014, where it spent time as #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list.
Alright, so she’s received a lot of praise for her work: But what gives?
The simple answer: Her system is different, because it forces you to look at organization from a different perspective.
The more complex answer: She’ll get you to be more organized, as long as you’re alright with the fact that she’s going to do it her way. Her methods may seem a little unorthodox, (i.e. thanking your old belongings for serving their purpose before throwing them away) but she vows that keeping organized with her methods will also keep your life more organized as a whole.
“When you put your house in order, you put your affairs and your past in order, too. As a result, you can see quite clearly what you need in life and what you don’t, and what you should and shouldn’t do,” she says in the novel’s intro.
Kondo goes on to state that for this system to be a success, you must be willing to make tidying up a regular habit. She says that very often after cleaning, people will go back to having messy homes again after a short amount of time. This is not because people aren’t capable of tidying up; they just don’t make it a habit.
Basically, she’s saying that keeping our homes tidy is all in our minds. How do we keep this mindset? The KonMari Method (named as a combination of her first and last name).
This method is not just a list of tasks, but a guide for acquiring the right mindset to keeping your place tidy. With this method, she suggests organizing your space by first discarding belongings you don’t need, then thoroughly organizing it all in one loop. Yes, organize it all at one time.
“If you tidy up in one shot, rather than little by little, you can dramatically change your mind-set,” she states.
So once we’re actually ready to start cleaning, here’s what I believe are her most important suggestions:
1. Tidying Only Takes 2 Essential Actions
These actions are: discarding and deciding where to store things. Discarding must come first.
2. First, Visualize What You Want
Before you start organizing, visualize what you want your home to look like. Understand why you want it to look like that, and why it will bring you joy when it does look like that. Visualizing these things and discarding your old belongings will bring you happiness.
3. Organize By Category, Not Location
Organizing by category (books, then clothes, then food, etc.) instead of location (bedroom, then guest room, then basement, etc.). This is more effective because when organizing by location, we never know how much stuff we actually own; therefore, we’ll be overwhelmed by all of our things, fall into a negative spiral, and never actually finish cleaning.
4. Figure Out What Gives You Joy
When tidying up, ask yourself: Does it spark any joy in my life? Instead of choosing what we want to get rid of, we should instead be choosing what we want to keep. She says: “Take each item in one’s hand and ask: Does this spark joy? If it does, keep it. If not, throw it away.”
5. There’s A Specific Order To Organizing
Don’t start with mementos (i.e. old pictures or letters) but instead start with items that will be easier to make a ‘toss or keep’ decision on.
She says the best sequence is: clothes first, then books, then papers, komono (miscellaneous) and lastly, mementos.
She goes into specific cleaning orders for each category and how to organize them in the novel. A large chunk of it is a step-by-step guide for organizing, emphasizing what to do with everything from socks fro electrical cords.
Do I think this system would actually work? Yes, as long as you’re willing to put in the time and effort. Her methods are harder than I thought they would be, as they require a solid commitment and not just a casual day of spring cleaning.
However, they may be worth it, since she’s guaranteeing that using her methods will allow for tidiness in the house and in your personal life. I’m not sure about you, but after reading her novel and the positive testimonials it has received, her thoughts are definitely intriguing.
To summarize: “In essence, tidying ought to be the act of restoring balance among people, their possessions, and the house they live in.”
Purchase The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up here.