The Book

978-1-60774-730-7The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. As soon as I got home I began reading.   Now, organizing is pretty much second nature for me, so I’ve never spent a lot of time learning how to do it. Sure, I’ve read magazine articles and watched morning and talk television, but there really hadn’t been anything new there.   Sort your items – keep, sell, toss/donate.  Get rid of clothing you haven’t worn in a year.  Turn your hangers a different direction to show what’s been worn.  Go room by room.  Buy cute bins, baskets, and tubs to neatly store all your clutter.  Pretty standard fare.  But what I discovered in Kondo’s book was completely different from anything I had ever read before.  For Kondo, it’s not just about organizing your items, but about decluttering and tidying every physical aspect of your home and work space so that it never has to be done again.  In so doing, you may notice transformations in the rest of your life as well.

I finished the book the next day.  I’m a fast reader anyway, but I was anxious to get started. I was energized and excited because Kondo’s method, the KonMari Method, was going to be exactly what I needed to tackle this whole house decluttering project – and make it stick.  There are some key differences between KonMari and traditional methods of decluttering and organizing.  First, she does not advocate going room-by-room; rather, you work by category (clothing, books, papers, etc.), and only one category at a time.  Next you discard.  Finally, you store things in their proper place.  Obviously I am simplifying here because if you are really interested in the how-to of this, you need to read the book. But I do believe that her approach is probably the best way to declutter, organize, and take control of your home and your life.

So excited was I by the changes and progress I was making, that I was dragging my friends into my bedroom to show them my dresser drawers!  They smiled and nodded as I showed them the proper way to fold (also covered in the book).  But they really don’t share my level of enthusiasm.  Fortunately, there are other folks out there like me, and I found a great group on Facebook to join.  It’s a place to ask questions, find encouragement, and share successes.  Kondo recently published a companion book, Spark Joy, an illustrated guide book, with more detail and answers to questions that arose from the first book.  I own it as well.  So just know that if you start this journey, you will have no shortage of support.

I hope you’ll join me as I recount for you my KonMari journey.  There is a line in The Life-Changing Magic…”The moment you start you reset your life”.  She is absolutely right.

 

How it Began

In June of 2015, I retired from a thirty-year career in education. Immediately, everyone wanted to know what I was going to do with my time.  I wasn’t one-hundred percent certain of anything, but I knew there were plenty of projects waiting for me around the house. You know, all those things that you start but can’t finish because the weekend, break, or summer vacation isn’t long enough.  Being a teacher though, my first order of business was simply to enjoy my summer vacation as I always had; that meant a trip to the bookstore.

I picked up an adult coloring book that I thought would be perfect for cold winter days in front of the fire (still in pristine condition, by the way), and a couple of perfect summer reads set in the beach towns of the the Northeast. As I was heading to the check-out counter, the title of a rather small book caught my eye – the life changing magic of tidying up. I scanned a few pages and was immediately hooked.  This book was coming home with me.