The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – Marie Kondo – a Gift for Mom and for You

 

There are three approaches we can take towards our possessions: face them now, face them sometime, or avoid them until the day we die.  ( p. 184)

The third approach is a grim reality which readers may relate to. I have a basement of storage boxes, electronics, and oddities from deceased parents, not to mention the towering expanse of my own stuff from our last four moves.

My shelves are full, my drawers are overflowing, my cabinets are stuffed.  I’m surrounded by piles of bills, books, periodicals, school work, art.

Tidy book

International best seller and organizing/cleaning phenomenon         Link to Book

So if you’re short on ideas for Mother’s Day, here’s a gift that kills two birds with one stone. Tidying could change her life and yours.

The magic is real. I’ll explain, but let me share a few things first.

To make an analogy using the KonMari method (a pseudo anagram of the author’s name), I would say I’m discarding the contents of my own cluttered mind and, at the same time, sharing the good things and value they had in my life. I put up a chalkboard in my kitchen to share ideas.

 

Tidy Book Notes on Board

 

The book sat on my shelf these past eight months until friends began talking about it, as well as what they were doing. But beware, it pulls you in.

Just 200 pages, it is written in a conversational style with key ideas in bold for emphasis and easy review. Obsessed with organization since she was five years old, Kondo has discovered certain truths about the process as well as herself.

KEY POINTS

  • Can’t change habits without changing your thinking
  • Imagine a clutter free space. You should not live in a storage shed.
  • Effective tidying involves 2 key actions.
    1. Discarding (which must happen first)
    2. Where to store stuff

If you go around your house thinking about what to discard, you’re already thinking wrong.  “The moment you start focusing on how to choose what to throw away, you have actually veered significantly off course.”  Kondo instructs clients and readers that the best approach is to decide what you should keep.

  • “Because we should be choosing what we want to keep, not what we want to get rid of.”
  • Take each item in your hands and ask: “Does this spark joy?” If it does, keep it.  If not, dispose of it.

I tried it out. I toted away three truck loads of stuff just from the garage and basement. The cleaning ladies were shocked, “That’s the cleanest garage I’ve ever seen.” And we like being in the garage now. I can see the floor. I can also use my workbench and tools, and I finished some small jobs around the house.

THE MAGIC – Does tidying increase good fortune?

The author mentions Feng shui and the artful arrangement of items which create order and beauty, such as folding clothing by rolling it and standing it on end to match the drawer height. Everything can be seen in one glance and it can be arranged in gradations of color.  That may seem a bit much,  but she would say I’m wrong.  Tidying correctly is getting it all done at once: one time in your life and never again.

It’s a very strange phenomenon, but when we reduce what we own and essentially “detox” our house, it has a detox effect on our bodies as well.

The process, when done right, is transformative. With a  three month client wait list and decades of experience, Kondo has amassed a wealth of data and learned many things.

Your living space affects your body. Your home is a sanctuary. When you identify what is truly precious and surround yourself with the things which spark joy, you find balance in your life.

 

 

May 6, 2016

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About the Author

Mylinh Shattan is a writer who has lived on three continents, served in the Army, worked in corporate America, and taught in college. She loves adventures, in the world and in the mind. Literature is relevant and learning is a lifelong pursuit, so you might as well have a bit of fun along the way.

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