The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo; published 2014 by Ten Speed Press
Can you imagine living in a place where, everywhere you turn, you are surrounded by things that bring you joy? I can. I do.
In the last year or so, I’ve been working on simplifying my life. I realized that I was stressed way more than I needed to be—as Mark Manson would say, I was giving too many f***s about things that didn’t matter. I was giving too much of my life for other people, always trying to make someone else happy, and I wasn’t making progress on any personal goals. I wanted to be authentic, but I had no idea how to do it. When I started dating Josh, he kicked this “simplify my life” process into high gear. Now, when I’m at work, I’m at work. But when I’m at home, I live for myself and pursue things that I’m passionate about.
So when my friend Mayan, the PDX Minimalist, told me about The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, she said two key words that caught my attention: free and joy.
This book sounds deceptively simple—that’s why I’ve avoided it for so long. It’s just about how to tidy your house? No thanks, I’m already pretty clean. I’m not a pack rat; actually, more often I throw things away and then end up regretting it later. I thought a book on tidying more wouldn’t be very helpful. But when Mayan said that she feels free now, released from the burden of having too much stuff, and that it has given her so much joy, I was curious, if a little skeptical.
The Konmari method was developed by Marie Kondo, and is a simple process of de-cluttering your life: You literally hold everything in your hand and decide, does this bring me joy? If it doesn’t, get rid of it. If it does, keep it. But there’s more than that. Kondo recommends doing everything in a certain order, starting with the things that will be easier to decide if they bring you joy or not (probably clothes), and ending with more personal, sentimental items like pictures and your teddy bears from childhood. She also gives great advice for folding and storing weird-shaped things all over the house.
You’ll find answers to all of your questions, like “Where do I store my skis? What if I live in a 400-square-foot apartment? What if my spouse isn’t on board with getting rid of things we don’t need?” Paul Minors provides a great summary of the book if you’d like more detail. But really, you should just read it!
I realized that I had been keeping the wrong things and throwing out the wrong things. There were so many pieces of clothing I had because I felt guilty about getting rid of them. So much jewelry I didn’t like and never wore. Most days I would try on at least three shirt + skirt outfits before finally deciding on a dress—or I would just pick something and feel like I was settling. Does this sound like you?
But going through the Konmari method has transformed my wardrobe. Even though I now have fewer clothes, I actually feel like I have more options. I told my sister about this truly “life-changing magic” and she listened to the audiobook in a single afternoon. We decided to go through our closets together for moral support.
Instead of just writing about it here, I thought it’d be more fun to give you a quick tour of my new closet. (Please forgive the jumpy editing—I figured y’all did not need a 10-minute tour!)