By now you’ve surely heard of the best-selling book by Japanese author Marie Kondo called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
I read this book over a month ago and have been consumed with thought (and not so much action just yet) about Kondo’s theory (she calls it the KonMari Method). Since finishing the book I have thrown out bags and bags of my belongings in an attempt to obtain a state of organization that has always been just outside my reach. However, because I live with other people, I’m still trying to figure out how I can
throw away all their belongings without them knowing get them all on board the Tidy Train with me.
I told my daughter Bree (who is now 23 years old and can’t be bothered with tidiness) how captivated I am by Kondo’s theory and how I secretly desire to throw out all my possessions and become a minimalist. She looked at me in horror and said, “that sounds AWFUL. I can’t think of anything worse.”
Contrary to what Bree thinks, the KonMari Method sounds more than amazing to me. I’m sure this is entirely because I am the sole-tidier in a home with three other family members who are (in no particular order, and without naming names to protect the guilty):
1) A paper hoarder. Every single receipt and piece of mail is “important” to this family member. Piles of paper build up around the areas where this family member presides. Bedside? Stacks of paper. Bathroom counter? Wadded up receipts, folded receipts, faded receipts. Kitchen counter? Piles and piles of mail and menus and receipts and yeah. I’m sure you get the paper picture I’m trying to paint for you.
2) A craft supply hoarder. This particular family member is very creative and crafty and they are always working on some new and exciting art/cooking/sewing/sculpting/DIY project. All these projects require many “things”: string, flour, tape, hot glue, glitter, salt, clay, wire, beads, ribbon…. and as much as I try to organize and purge this person’s collection of craft supplies they will always scream at me “NO! I need that! Don’t throw it away!” Even if it’s a broken button that clearly has served its purpose in life and is begging to be thrown in the trash.
3) A clothing/handbag/shoe/sunglasses/jewelry/beauty product hoarder. I mean, this family member is very beautiful and stylish but that doesn’t negate the sheer VOLUME of personal belongings this person hoards. I’m certain an entire nation could be clothed with this particular family member’s stash.
So far, I have been moving slowly in my home to remove everything that does not bring me joy (the main message of the KonMari Method is to be rid of anything that does not do just that) and is cluttering up my space and mind with its presence. Taking your time with the KonMari Method is precisely what Kondo says not to do, as she feels it takes away from the impact of incorporating the method at once. She says, “A dramatic reorganization of the home causes correspondingly dramatic changes in lifestyle and perspective.” Understandable, but I figure a slow-moving Tidying Magic is better than a no-moving Tidying Magic. Don’t judge.
I started with my own closet and workspace and set out to purge everything I possibly could. This included several dresses in my closet that still had tags on them (one silk dress in particular I had bought for my cousin’s wedding in 2010 and never wore). I will just tell you right now that it is very difficult to throw away brand new (or like new) belongings but I stuck to my guns. No matter how perfect the condition, if it no longer served its purpose and no longer sparked joy in me, I tossed it.
I walked out of my closet feeling quite accomplished. It felt really good to just let things go that don’t matter to me. I’m quite certain I won’t miss those long button up sweatshirts that are a little too tight but would look super cute over my workout pants if I were ten pounds lighter. Bye! And I know I won’t miss the 15 race shirts I finally threw out (what took me so long?!). I crossed those finish lines and have the Instagram pics to prove it. Good riddance, race shirts!
The hardest part for me is getting rid of backup supplies and paper products. I mean, I like to be prepared, you know? Paper towels to last six months? I got you. Sleeping over and you forgot your toothbrush? No worries, I have A STASH. Let’s not even discuss the deodorant situation.
Part of Kondo’s theory is that you don’t need a bunch of backup supplies cluttering up space in your home. As much as having a backstock of deodorant brings me a certain peace of mind, clearing out all the excess in my life brings me PEACE OF EXISTENCE. It’s life-changing, people.
I’m still working on finding a way to live peacefully amongst my family member’s STUFF, but I do think The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up is a great read for anyone who wants to experience the life transforming change that clutter-free space and order brings.
Feel the magic, friends.