I like organization and being able to find everything. It was easy when we moved often. I have found living in one place more then three years means we tend to collect junk. We’ve been in Wisconsin fifteen years the longest I have ever lived in one place. Ohhh- wheee, have we collected! Our aspiration is to retire to a Winnebago, or move about to series of small places. That means we need to shed 80%+ of our stuff. That is why I picked up The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kona.
A few thoughts on the actual writing before my thoughts on her concepts. The book is very repetitive. At times I felt this was a sales pitch for her personal services. Which it is in a way, but more to sell you on the concepts than having her come to my house. Also the phrasing in places was awkward this I put down to translation from Japanese to English. Overall I felt it needed a good harsh American editor, Jean (my mentor & awesome editor) where are you when the world needs you?
As for the concepts I found them awesome and helpful. Though once used them I thought ‘Well, DUH, this is so basic so simple and works so well why didn’t I see it?’ They are this:
- Tackle all items in one category all at once
- Hold each item contemplate how it makes you feel. If it brings you joy keep if not ditch.
- Right then and there decide how to ditch – toss, recycle, donate, whatever.
- Complete all in that one category in one go. Be sure to get all items from any where in the home to the sort location.
- Any items you run across after you have completed the category is an automatic discard. If it wasn’t important enough to even remember for consideration odds are you haven’t used it recently nor does it bring enough joy to be remembered.
I started with my clothes with the intentions that all seasons would fit into my closet and dresser. I collected from the office closet and cabinet over the closet, from the basement closets, from the front closets. Then I started considering each item. I worried at first about space but held to the criteria. I found things I’d forgotten and loved. Some how I settled for the handy things I didn’t like as much for the good stuff pushed back. In the end I had one bag of garbage and seven bags to donate. The surprising thing is my clothes for all seasons fit perfectly in the space I’d chosen. Oh, and using her folding & storage technique it’s all at my fingertips. Again why did I stack in drawers where you can’t see whats underneath? Turning the stack on the side I can see it all and with good folding more fits this way. Now for me it’s on to the next category – books and papers.
A few thoughts on some things in the book that didn’t apply to me. I don’t think things have feelings or need rest. I do think being thankful for them is important to improve my life view but I don’t think I need to thank them.
Second her avocation of tossing paperwork makes me think Japan must not have income tax audits. While I admit I need to purge paperwork some of the items she advocates tossing (pay stubs, receipts, etc.) should be kept when supports your income tax filing.
Also she isn’t into genealogy she has no concept how thrilling it was to find a photo of a lost homestead, or the copy of my grandfather’s security clearance (we didn’t know he’d taught high school or worked for the red cross), or to see the face of my 4th great grandparent for the first time or see my grandaunt who died as a young woman as a happy child. Don’t toss photos label them, tuck away old letters. My Uncle’s from Iwo Jima the day before he died there mentions how good the American flag looked on the ridge. He never knew of the iconic picture that now has extra special family meaning.
Overall she has a great method for scaling back, clearing clutter. It is a great feeling to know the whole category is done. It is life changing in that I think about what I get, will this make me happier than what I discard to make room for it, what would that be? The bonus is that all I have I enjoy. No more thinking well it’s clean I’ll wear it but eh don’t like it.
If you need to clean out then this is a good book for you. All the things she repeatedly tells you you’ll feel when done, how your perspective brightens is true. She really didn’t have to repeat it so much. If you want a list of categories from the KonMari method you can find several of them on Pinterest to get you started. Now the clothes hoarder in the family not even counting his uniforms is Mike, be sure to call him Imelda for all the shoes he has if you see him. Oh and if you try the KonMari method let me know how it goes.