The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying: A simple, effective way to banish clutter forever - by Marie Kondo

7 minute read

ISBN: 978-0091955106, READ: 2017-02-14, RATING: 8/10

All my life I thought tidying my space in my house and office a waste of time and an energy-sucking dull job. But Marie Kondo changed that! She has studied this topic so thoroughly that she’s made a unique occupation out of it: removing house clutter. This approach to having an organized surrounding resembles a lot like David Allen’s Getting Things Done. Both of these books are about organizing your life. Both might be a turn-off during the first read. But then both are indispensable if you want to live a happy and successful life that you control. Don’t buy it? Watch Marie’s talk at Google.

Read this article by Amy Hoy who introduced me to this book.

See Amazon Page for details and reviews.

My Highlights

I can tell you right now that no matter how hard I try to organise another’s space, no matter how perfect a storage system I devise, I can never put someone else’s house in order in the true sense of the term. Why? Because a person’s awareness of and perspective on his or her own lifestyle are far more important than any skill at sorting, storing or whatever. Order is dependent on the extremely personal values of how a person wants to live.

From the moment you start tidying, you will be compelled to reset your life. As a result, your life will start to change. That’s why the task of putting your house in order should be done quickly. It allows you to confront the issues that are really important. Tidying is just a tool, not the final destination. The true goal should be to establish the lifestyle you want most once your house has been put in order.

To achieve a sudden change like this, you need to use the most efficient method of tidying

To summarise, the secret of success is to tidy in one shot, as quickly and completely as possible, and to start by discarding.

Because we should be choosing what we want to keep, not what we want to get rid of.

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, throw it out. This is not only the simplest but also 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 in tidying.

Gathering every item in one place is essential to this process because it gives you an accurate grasp of how much you have.

The best sequence is this: clothes first, then books, papers, miscellaneous items (komono) and, lastly, sentimental items and keepsakes.

To quietly work away at disposing of your own excess is actually the best way of dealing with a family that doesn’t tidy. As if drawn into your wake, they will begin weeding out unnecessary belongings and tidying without you having to utter a single complaint. It may sound incredible, but when someone starts tidying it sets off a chain reaction.

you feel annoyed with your family for being untidy, I urge you to check your own space, especially your storage.

If, for example, you have some clothes that you bought but never wear, examine them one at a time. Where did you buy that particular outfit and why? If you bought it because you thought it looked cool in the shop, then it has fulfilled the function of giving you a thrill when you bought it. Then why did you never wear it? Was it because you realised that it didn’t suit you when you tried it on at home? If so, and if you no longer buy clothes of the same style or colour, then it has fulfilled another important function – it has taught you what doesn’t suit you. In fact, that particular article of clothing has already completed its role in your life, and you are free to say, ‘Thank you for giving me joy when I bought you,’ or ‘Thank you for teaching me what doesn’t suit me,’ and let it go.

To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose.

The same goes for pyjamas. If you are a woman, wear something feminine or elegant as nightwear. The worst thing you can do is to wear a sloppy sweat suit. I occasionally meet people who dress like this all the time, whether waking or sleeping. If sweat pants are your everyday attire, you’ll end up looking like you belong in them, which is not very attractive. What you wear in the house does impact on your self-image.

They fall into the daily routine of picking something out of the pile to wear while the mound continues to grow,

Once you have mastered this technique you will actually enjoy doing it every day, and will find it a handy skill for the rest of your life. In fact, to go through life without knowing how to fold is a huge loss.

My standard is this: hang any clothes that look like they would be happier hung up, such as those made with soft materials

pointed to the balled-up socks: ‘Look at them carefully. This should be a time for them to rest. Do you really think they can get any rest like that?’

The reason every item must have a designated place is because the existence of an item without a home multiplies the chances that your space will become cluttered again.

The essence of effective storage is this: designate a spot for every last thing you own.

When it comes to storage, vertical is best.

Many people keep them right beside the stove because they want them close to hand for convenience sake. If you are one of these, then I hope you will rescue them right now. For one thing, a counter is for preparing food, not for storing things. Counter space beside the stove, in particular, is exposed to splatters of food and oil, and the seasonings kept here are usually sticky with grease. Rows of bottles in this area also make it much harder to keep clean and the kitchen area will always be covered in a film of oil. Kitchen shelves and cupboards are usually designed to store seasonings and spices so put them away where they belong.

If we treated all things we use in our daily life, whether it is our computer, our handbag or our pens and pencils, with the same care that athletes give to their equipment, we could greatly increase the number of dependable ‘supporters’ in our lives. The act of possessing is a very natural part of our daily life, not something reserved for some special match or contest.

Do you greet your house? THE FIRST THING I do when I visit a client’s home is to greet their house. I kneel formally on the floor in the centre of the house and address the house in my mind. After giving a brief self introduction, including my name, address and occupation, I ask for help in creating a space where the family can enjoy a happier life. Then I bow. It is a silent ritual that only takes about two minutes.

To test my theory, try putting your house in order from the perspective of what would make it happy. You will be surprised at how smoothly the decision-making process goes.

I had never seen how she treated these items nor did I know anything about the circumstances surrounding their purchase. All I did was observe carefully the clothes hanging in her wardrobe. When you examine things closely, you can begin to discern whether or not those things bring their owner joy. When a woman is in love, the change in her is apparent to everyone around her. The love she receives from her man, the confidence that love gives her and her desire to make the effort to look beautiful for him all give her energy. Her skin glows, her eyes shine and she becomes even more beautiful. In the same way, things that are loved by their owner and treated with care are vibrant and radiate an aura of wanting to be of more service to their owner. Things that are cherished shine. This is why I can tell at a glance whether something truly sparks joy. The genuine emotion of joy resides in the body and in the possessions of the owner and therefore it can’t be concealed.