I consider myself a neat person. My house is generally uncluttered, my desk at work is clean, and I make a trip to Goodwill to clean out the closet a few times a year. But… the workout clothes that I use every day get shoved into the same messy drawer pile when they are clean. And I’ve definitely got a couple of kitchen drawers that barely shut any more because they are so stuffed. And, the basement… let’s not go there.
But, alas, it was time to go there. After hearing great things about the book from friends, I decided to pick up The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.
Marie Kondo is a “professional cleaning consultant” and, to be honest, she paints a picture of herself that's more than a little OCD. “After discovering The Art of Discarding when I was fifteen, I focused on how to get rid of things, and my research efforts escalated. I was always looking for new places to practice, be it my siblings’ rooms or the communal storage lockers at school. My head was full of tidying tips, and I had complete, misguided confidence that I could tidy any place.” Whoah, fifteen year old. Simmer down!
Or how about this gem? “However, the moment you start focusing on how to choose what to throw away you have actually veered significantly off course. In this state it is extremely risky to continue tidying.” Extreme Tidying!!
But, despite some possible crazy on the part of the author and some odd turns of phrase (blame it on the translation?), I found the book an extremely helpful quick read. I spent about 4 hours on Saturday and another 6 on Sunday and it was incredibly cathartic. I vow never to go back to messy drawers again!
Here are the basic tenets:
+ Rapid, dramatic organizing events completed methodically and lovingly in 6 months or less. This should not be a 10 year battle against clutter in which you find yourself doing one drawer a month.
+ Tidying is actually a happy process in which anything that does not make you feel joy when you touch it will be sent on its way.
+ Rather than approaching decluttering room by room, you approach things by category. Start with clothes, then books, then papers, then miscellany, and finally mementos.
+ Instead of focusing on the ways to get rid of things, focus only on the things that spark sufficient joy.
She also offers up helpful suggestions for how to organize drawers (no stacking) and closets (longest items on the left, shorter items on the right).
I breezed through the book in a couple of hours and immediately put it to work. Once you get into purge mode, it’s hard to stop… and I would’ve kept going all night, had my husband not put a stop to it.
+ Got rid of SO MANY old clothes that I will never wear. Even if it was originally expensive, or someone gifted it to me, or at time very fashionable, I was ruthless in following the “does it spark joy” rule.
+ My drawers look amazing and I am promising myself I will keep them that way
+ Bathroom cabinets are free of old product I will never use and feel so much happier when I open them
+ Kitchen drawers are similarly breezy. Old gadgets we never use? Gone. Takeout menus? Gone. Weird bits and bobs with no purpose? Gone.
+ 4 years of old papers and statements freed up so much room in my desk that it now sits clutter free
I put the book to use immediately and am beyond happy with the results. Got a weekend coming up with no social engagements? Clear your calendar for a little bout of magical tidying!