Monday 23 November 2015

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo

I'm a convert!

I was sceptical and also a little snooty about the idea that someone could instruct me on how to tidy.

The queen of tidy and declutter with years and years of practice!

My dad was a bankie - we moved around a lot when I was growing up - we learnt to travel light to save on packing up.
But I'm only a queen with a little 'q' - I'm not a fanatic. Stuff can build up; I've also learnt to live with a certain amount of messiness over time.
However my default position is clean and tidy.

So what on earth could Marie Kondo in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying possibly tell me that I didn't already know about clean and tidy?

In some ways not a lot.
Her philosophy of keeping only the things that bring you joy (or that you specifically need) is how I already decide what to keep and what to toss (although my words over the years have been 'bliss' and 'beauty').

However, the secret to Kondo's success lies in her system.
Her KonMari method is simple, easy to follow and do, logical and it works.

I started folding my clothes to her method simply by following the brief one page of instructions in the book.

It worked exactly as she said it would.
There is a 'sweet spot' that tells you when you've folded a piece just the right way. Handling each item of clothing does make it easier to decide which ones to keep and which ones to toss. I can now see all my jumpers and long-sleeved tops in one go and I have more space (to buy more!! yay!)

I googled the folding method this morning to see if I was doing it the right way. Google images is now full of people photographing their drawers full of KonMari folded clothes. We've all done it the same way. It works. It's easy.

The main thing though that I have got from the KonMari Method is about the art of letting go.

I already understand the zen-like pleasure of tidying and decluttering. Kondo has simply given me a specific set of principles to hang this feeling on.

I often struggle to throw out clothes I have never worn or only worn once. Kondo simply says:
'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....By acknowledging their contribution and letting them go with gratitude, you will be able to truly put the things you own, and your life, in order. In the end, all that will remain are the things that you really treasure.
For me, this was the final step I needed to make the throwing out decision even easier than I already found it.

The real test will be whether I can apply this method to all my photo albums!
But that it one of the last categories on Kondo's list to declutter as it is the hardest for all of us.

During our recent move I used the 'will I reread this book?' as my method for what to keep and what to give away. Kondo's method is even easier than that.
Forget about whether you think you'll read it again or whether you've mastered what's inside. Instead, take each book in your hand and decide whether it moves you or not. Keep only those books that will make you happy just to see them on your shelves, the ones that you really love....Books like this, which fall into one's personal Book Hall of Fame, are simple to identify.
To only keep the stuff that brings me joy is a really liberating thought.

Gone are those clothes that make me feel frumpy, that barely used lipstick colour that just doesn't suit me, that broken cup given to me by a friend who is no longer with us - I will always remember her; I don't need a broken cup to prompt me to do so.
Gone are those knick-knacky things that gave me pleasure once, but now just gather dust. The pleasure I got from them was in the past; not now.
It's time.

You can do it too.
Yes you can!


  1. We're meant to be "decluttering" our workplace at the moment for a big move and I can attest that there is no greater pleasure than throwing out other people's junk. I suspect my own may be a bigger problem. ;-)

    1. I know! I know! If only it was okay to throw out my hubby's stuff as well!

      Good luck with the work declutter :-)

  2. Anonymous23/11/15

    Well it's just amazing that I mentioned this yesterday and you published your review today :-) Clearly I need to read this book immediately and not wait until next year - maybe 2016 will start with a TBR list of 200 instead of 400! I'm usually ruthless when it comes to chucking stuff out but I do feel like things have got away from me lately. I got the book because of the clothes folding method - I don't have heaps of clothes but what I do have is crammed in a very small space and it drives me mental - I figure they need to be organised better or I get rid of more!

    1. I thought I had a pretty efficient and useful way of folding my clothes already, but the KonMari method really is better.

      You can see everything you own in one go and the folds minimise creasing even more than my current method (I used to be a roller, esp of tshirts).

      I'm just doing one section/drawer at a time so not completely following her method) but it is very satisfying.

      I think your TBR pile will look much slimmer after reading the book chapter.

  3. I need to post my review of this book. I'm not a saver, but still had plenty to get ride of. The fold and roll method of storing clothes in drawers doesn't work for me except for workout clothes. I like to press my tees and sweaters and hang on padded hangers - rolling wrinkles IMO

    1. I hate ironing, so have been experimenting with folding and rolling methods for years to minimise the creasing. This one is the far!

  4. I skim-read this book over the course of a night and, while I haven't embraced her whole system, like you I found that her idea of acknowledging what different items have contributed to your life really resonated with me. I've kept that in mind and it's helped me to weed out some things from my closet over the past months.

    1. I confess there was something about her writing style that I found quite off-putting at times (not sure if it was a translation issue or a personality clash!) But once I got into the nitty-gritty of her tossing and folding method I jumped on board.

  5. I think this book might have helpful tips for me. I procrastinate a lot about going thru bins and boxes of stuff & chucking them. I just tend to leave them where they are. So I need to face closets & stuff head on & not continually put it off for another day. hmm

    1. It is inspirational & helpful. I almost feel ready to tackle the photo albums!
      Good luck :-)

  6. I've heard really good things about this book and I'll definitely be picking it up after I move next year! I'm sure, as always, I'll want to reorganize and get rid of things as soon as I move :)

    1. My suggestion would be to pick it up BEFORE you move next year - it will help you work out what to keep and what to chuck. You can then start the folding method from day 1 in your new place.

      I have become a convert to her folding. I love being able to see all my t-shirts in one layer every time I open the drawer. They're also far more wrinkle free than my previous rolling method.
      I'm wondering if I will use my coming holiday break to tackle the linen press next :-)


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