The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

The KonMari method of tidying/organizing blew up across the internet. I was hearing about the book and the method everywhere. It seemed like the people reviewing it were giving away the biggest secret, so I didn’t really see a point in reading it myself. Until my sister started reading it and revolutionized her closet and her home office. It isn’t that my sister was a messy person, before. They had about the same level of clutter in their house as my husband and I do. But the way she talked about cleaning out her closet of the clothes that didn’t bring her joy, and the pictures of her office when she’d started purging and cleaning and crafting it into a new, bright, comfortable space… It was enough to convince me, and I checked out the book on Overdrive.

It took me a little while to get through, partly because I was taking care of a newborn, but also partly because there isn’t much through-story to make it a page-turner. The sections are short enough that they aren’t tedious, but it’s still easy to put it down in between chapters.

The chapter on folding? I probably could have done without. It’s an interesting concept, but honestly, I don’t need a special way to fold clothes when I’ve managed to purge so many that I can see everything in my drawer easily.

That’s the big draw of this book, I think. The purging of stuff is laid out in a simple plan, with very strict rules, and man do they make sense. Only keep that which brings you joy. Nostalgia doesn’t even count as “joy” all the time, so you end up getting rid of a lot of things that “remind you of” something but that aren’t seeing any use. There was a lot of cheeky, corny stuff in the book, including the concept of talking to your possessions. But some of it was great, like going through a stack of greeting cards from friends and family, thanking the card for the message it brought you, and then throwing it away. I’ve got two whole boxes of cards that I need to do that with, which have been weighing on my mind since I finished reading this book.

We didn’t do a huge purge in the KonMari style, mostly because we’d already done a big “before-the-baby-comes” purge. We made room for all the baby stuff which now makes my house feel cluttered again. But there are some small areas where I could stand to purge more—jewelry, for one thing. You buy a nice big jewelry box to keep everything organized and you just end up accumulating a ton of stuff you don’t ever wear. Likewise with a cool rotating earring tree. I wear maybe 5 or 6 pairs on the regular. Why do I need 20+?

I wouldn’t say it’s entirely necessary to go out and buy this book—I didn’t, after all. But there’s some handy information in it, and if you ever find yourself stuck in that loop of having too much stuff, donating a bunch of it, then accumulating more stuff that you then also donate…this book can help. My shopping habits are vastly different now. I think about whether something brings me actual joy BEFORE I purchase it, which cuts down on the general clutter in the house.

The best time of year for de-cluttering and deep cleaning is of course between Imbolg and Ostara. It’s time to wipe away winter’s cobwebs and usher the light back in. That coincided perfectly with when our little one was due, so we got a lot done. I can’t wait till she outgrows more of this stuff so that I can keep getting rid of it, too. Benefit to knowing you’re only going to have one kid: I don’t have to keep ANY of this stuff once she’s too big/old for it. I get to divy it up among my friends and coworkers who are having their firsts (a group which seems to grow bigger every day, because I guess we’re just at that age).

In short: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up can change your habits and your house, and if that’s what you’re looking for, definitely hit this one first before you start researching organization methods and all that other crap. Streamlined, simple. The book could probably be half its length and still get the exact same message across—but then, maybe she hasn’t learned to tidy her writing the way she tidies her home. 🙂

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2 thoughts on “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

  1. I liked the KonMari book too, and it helped me get rid of 1/3 of my clothes. When I moved, I got rid of a second 1/3, and now I’m working towards having a capsule wardrobe – also worth checking out.

    I hear you on the jewellery! I have necklaces from when I was a teen that are literally falling to pieces (all those suede thong pendant necklaces from the early 2000s!) and tons of orphaned earrings…

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