The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up




"To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those things that have outlived their purpose"


I first heard of this little book when Jodi mentioned it in a post. Being the decluttering junkie that I am, I immediately added my name to my local library reservation list for the book, resisted buying it several times and impatiently waited. It finally arrived in my hot little hands about a month or two ago, and I devoured it in a day. And then re-read it a couple of weeks later. Yes, I am a nerd like that sometimes ;) 

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up is a book by Marie Kondo, a Japanese 'cleaning consultant'. She's somewhat of a cult figure in the US and in Japan and a definite authority on her own 'KonMari' method of tidying up your house, and in turn, your life. A simple search on YouTube or Google will land you with a huge amount of info about her and her unique method of tidying, so if you are curious go check her out.

The book was great. Truly. Marie writes in such a way that you feel energised and inspired and excited about tidying your home. I wish I had read this book a couple of years ago at the start of my 'simple living' journey. I don't think you need to follow everything entirely to the letter for it to be effective either.


Some of my favourite points from throughout the book:

// Identify your goal - why do you want to 'tidy'? Understanding in no uncertain terms WHY you want to achieve a clutter free space and life is KEY to not rebounding and ending up back where you started. It also helps you throughout the decluttering process, to remain on track.

// Discard First, organise second. "Do not even think of putting your things away until you have finished the process of discarding"

// Consider each item and keep only what you LOVE, rather than thinking about what to discard - Does it spark joy? If not, it goes. (Unless it's something you have to keep regardless, like important paperwork). This has the power to reset your entire life. 

// Tidy in one event, rather than a little at a time - this works to change your mindset and means you are more likely to experience significant impacts that change your habits permanently, avoiding the slide back into clutter-town. This is counter to a significant amount of the advice on decluttering given by most other people, although Marie does go on to say that the 'event' may span a period of several months. To me, this just means that you dedicate to finishing the process and continually work at it, category by category until finished.

// Sort by category, not location. This means collecting all of a category of belongings from all around the house eg. clothes stored in bedrooms, cupboards, coat racks, off-season clothes stored in suitcases, everything - and dealing with it in its entirety all at once. Marie says that moving through the process by location, not category means you never get an overall picture of what you own and can never truly finish decluttering. 

// DO NOT start with sentimental items or mementos or photos. You will be bogged down, overwhelmed by emotional attachment and give up. Marie gives the exact order to tackle things in the book, and I think it's an excellent method.

// Sending stuff to your parents house is not decluttering. Handing over things you no longer want to family members because you think they would find them useful is also not decluttering.

// Designate a place for everything when you come to placing the items you are keeping in the home - and base this place not on where it is convenient to retrieve it from, but rather where it is easy to put away. We'll always go and get something when we need it, but if you make something difficult to put away, you'll be sure to leave it lying around instead.


My personal favourite insights from the book? Well, there are three. Firstly, you can bet that after reading the section about clothes storage and the correct way to fold various items of clothing at 9:30pm I got myself up out of bed and spent the next half an hour refolding my draws of clothes (Uh huh. Sad but true). I created an entire free draw just by folding differently. REVOLUTIONARY. 

Secondly, I love the way Marie speaks about objects and items and the home as entities with an essence and desire. It's a little bit woo-woo, but I get it. She advocates greeting your home when you walk in the door, and that when you choose to discard an item, you are actually making it happy because it won't be satisfied stuck in a box somewhere. Think of your objects as embodying a little piece of you, and you them - now, why would you choose to keep anything you didn't absolutely cherish?


Lastly, this says it all

"When we really delve into the reasons for why we can't let something go, there are only two: an attachment to the past or a fear of the future...Life becomes far easier once you know that things will still work out even if you are lacking something" 



Over to you - have you read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up? Did it change your life?