A few months ago I noticed the book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying: A Simple, Effective Way to Banish Clutter Forever by Marie Kondo* appearing regularly in magazines wish lists, book reviews and throughout the bloggersphere. This plain covered book seemed to promise the end of clutter and I was intrigued more for my friend’s Christmas present then for me. My friend P is like me, an everything in its place person, fastidiously clean, organised and always trying to improve his house’s storage capabilities! Rather then having a panic around birthdays and Christmas time I regularly update a list on my phone with items I have seen for friends and relatives. Putting together P’s birthday gift I came across Marie’s book and purchased it.
Currently I am in the process of moving to my own one bedroom apartment from a three bed flat share that I furnished which means decluttering and sorting is top of my mind. I didn’t intend to read Marie’s book but when it arrived from Amazon I flicked through it and was instantly captured by her approach to ‘tidying’. My ‘downsizing’ or ‘resizing’ has made me rethink the way that I live, the possessions I have and how they impact on my wider life choices like the ability to say yes to holidays with friends or sign up for a new dance class. Reading this article about writer Helen Philips approach to living in a one bedroom flat with a husband and two children really opened my eyes. Cheekily I have read Marie’s book before gifting it to P! I’m not too concerned about him reading this post and finding out as he has told me in the past that he too reads books before giving them to the intended recipient!
Like most people my approach to handling clutter in my home is by following self help tips from lifestyle magazines such as getting rid of two clothing items for every new item purchased. Marie debunks this idea and a number of other tips with a simple thought ‘does this item bring you joy?’. The idea is that as you clear your house by pulling everything out, considering if it brings you joy then keeping it or discarding it. Quite an overwhelming task Marie has a proven order in which to achieve this without causing too many tears or resulting in you giving up.
It might seem a bit strange to read an entire book about tidying but I found it interesting to hear about Marie’s detailed reasons for the process and her clients successes. She often describes the clients hurdles, like one lady who had a brown jacket not really worn because she really wanted it in black or the client with the record of the number of bags of unloved items she got rid off! Marie is from Japan where space is at a premium and as with most of the western world her clients have over consumed running out of room. Marie looks around a room and sees clutter overstimulating our brains and causing unhappiness where we ignore the items that no longer bring us happiness. Her easy to read and encouraging words will have you wanting to clear your house. Marie even has solutions for getting the family onboard and talks you through how to respond if you realise you threw something away that you actually needed.
I really enjoyed reading this book and I can’t wait to give it to my friend P. I’ve cleared out a number of items from my flat before I move, tagged plenty for ebay sales and donations for charity. It felt great and I encourage you to purchase Marie’s book and get your house in order.
What is the most mess you have had in your house? Is stuff taking over your life?
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