I feel like in the last few months, my house has reached a tipping point: I hate almost everything in it. There’s too much stuff and I can’t take the clutter anymore. I have made a pact: 50% of it needs to go. We don’t use it, we barely look at it, and I am so much happier when there is less of it.
I’ve undertaken a few efforts to get things under control. First, I sold a bunch of stuff at our local mother of multiples’ consignment sale. As my son gets older, I can cycle out the stuff we have kept from when my daughters were little. Booster seats, infant toys, snap-and-go stroller – all now making someone else’s baby happy. Second, I’ve cleaned out my own closets and gotten rid of probably 2/3 of my clothes. I weeded out stuff that didn’t fit, that didn’t look right, that was out of style. or that I just couldn’t figure out how to wear. Of course, I’ve replaced some of it, but there is less hanging in there and I can see it all now. And I’ve started a project to redo my daughters’ room. I haven’t started the cleanout in there yet, but it’s coming soon.
But there is so much more to do. (The books! My god, the books.)
So I was in the perfect frame of mind to read Marie Kondo’s bestseller, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Kondo is a professional organizer in Japan, and she has a whole system – the KonMari Method – to help clients declutter for good. She sees decluttering not as something you do regularly, but as a way of life that will transform how you use your space and treat your belongings.
Here are some of her guidelines:
- Surround yourself with things that bring you joy. If you are keeping things for any other reason, get rid of them.
- Don’t de-clutter a little bit at a time. Instead group all similar items together and go through all of them at once.
- Focus in what you want to keep, not what you want to get rid of.
- Don’t store things in fancy containers. You’ll never see what you have. Cardboard shoeboxes make the best storage units.
- The more paper you get rid of, the more efficient you’ll be, because you won’t spend time looking for what you need.
- Store purses inside of other purses.
- Don’t use belongings to keep you stuck in the past. Appreciate the memories and move on.
There’s a lot more to the The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, but those are the things that jump to mind as I think back on it. Pretty useful.
Kondo sometimes veers off into directions that didn’t resonate with me. I don’t think I need to thank my clothes at the end of the day for being lovely. I don’t believe in taking everything out of my purse when I get home from work, only to put it all back in the next day. I found her treatment of books to be totally unrealistic – she says to put them in a bookshelf in the closet and she expressed amazement at a client who had fifty books in her TBR pile. (Ha!)
I suspect that if you’re the type of person who would get something out of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, you’ve already decided that you want to read it. If you’re not the type of person who would get something out of it, you’ve stopped reading already.
Off to declutter the dining room table.