Monday, August 31, 2015

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up



What a cozy word that is. When you think of home, what images first come to mind? Is it your favorite chair where you like to sip your coffee every morning? Is it that perennial garden that never ceases to amaze with its beauty? Is it your family packed around a dinner table boisterously rehashing the day? 

No matter what home means to us personally (big or small, lavish or simple) it speaks of a special place where our heart can be at rest. 

Lately I’ve been wanting to get back to enjoying the simple things. Maybe it’s the fading of another summer that brings these feelings. It makes me want to make the most of every season and moment, to enjoy campfires and good food with family, take the dog for more walks, feel content with what I have. 

Recently, a friend lent me the book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. I began reading, somewhat grudgingly, I admit, because: 

A. I didn’t feel that the topic applied to me (I’m a pretty tidy person).
B. I’d just done a major purge/cleaning of my home.
C. I don’t have much time to read. 

But after the first few pages, I was hooked! 

There is so much from the book I would love to share with you, but you’ll just have to read it for yourself. What struck me most about Kondo’s methods are two very practical things: why we tidy and how we tidy. 

Why we tidy...  

I’m pretty sure if you’re reading this blog, you’re a lover of all things home & decorating. At some point you must have heard home decorating tips like: “Let your rooms breathe” and “Open up the space by eliminating the clutter.” Allowing your rooms to breathe will make you feel more at peace and rest in your home and also accentuate those parts of your home that you really love. If you find yourself cleaning often, but getting nowhere, or feeling anxious in your cluttered space, it may be time to tidy.

Keep only the things that spark joy. 

I love this simple technique! 

Stop trying to decide whether to throw or keep things according to: sentiment, guilt, fear or a may-need-someday bases. Kondo says, “I came to the conclusion that the best way to choose what to keep and what to throw away is to take each item in one’s hand and ask: ‘Does this spark joy?’ If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it. This is not only the simplest, but the most accurate yardstick by which to judge…Deciding what to keep on the basis of what sparks joy in your heart is the most important step to tidying.”

Tidy by category not by room. 

Kondo strongly suggest we tidy by category not by room. To approach tidying by room is fatal. Why? "Because most people don’t bother to store similar items in the same place. In the majority of households, items that fall into the same category are stored in two or more places scattered around the house,” Kondo says. For example: clothes that are stored in a bedroom closet and a coat closet. You will have to repeat the same process of choosing to keep or discard clothes in multiple cleanings. Kondo suggest gathering all of your clothes into one area. Then pick up each item and see if it sparks joy. “Those and only those are the ones your should keep.” 

Don’t start with mementos!

In the tidying process start with the easiest category (such as clothes and books) and save the mementos for last (such as cards, pictures, trophies, Great Aunt Ethel's dishes) these will be harder to make decisions on, and thus may discourage you early on. So be kind to yourself and your tidying process. 

One dramatic tidying to reset your life. 

Kondo suggests that if we make our tidying a dramatic one, you'll never have to do it again. You'll love how free it feels to be rid of "stuff" and won't want to revert back to your old ways of collecting things that don't spark joy. 

It helped me and it can help you! 

Since tidying my home, I have felt much more at rest. In my living room, I'm surrounded only by the artwork and furniture that I love. 

We all want to experience more joy and be surrounded by the people and things that bring our hearts joy. Much of this starts with creating time. Once you complete your tidying process it will create more time for you to enjoy what your heart loves most! 

Have you read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up? If so, what did you think? Comment below! We'd love to hear about your experience.

Stay tuned this week for a BONUS BLOG post on Wednesday!

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