The Lifechanging Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo was the most influential book I read in 2015.
Marie asks you to set a ‘vision’ for your process of tidying. Here is mine (shared mostly for me and my record:)
- Zero house work to do – when I arrive home or on the weekends.
- Inviting living space of quality, meaning-filled items.
- Foster intellectual-based or quality interactions with others, including the dogs and cat.
- Place for relaxing, for peace, for being present; a place of calm.
- Chairs, books, plants, carpets; ease to just be.
Marie asks you to answer ‘why’ you want to tidy your home and life? Some of this is similar to the vision:
- Zero work to always be doing.
- Free from pulling and procrastination that tidying creates and fulfills.
- Always ready to have people ‘in’ or invite folks over.
- Enjoy company of others because proud of surrounding environment.
- Enjoy interaction with spouse and pets because clutter and pressure of mess is not present.
- Can relax because there is not a house to clean or tidy.
These are the best takes always from the book. Most of them are focused on preparing to tidy.
- Consider the ‘things’ you truly cherish. The things that bring you joy. Those that speak to your heart.
- I held onto things thinking that I was wasteful getting rid of them.
- Make decisions by category, not ever by room. Put everything in that category in the same place on the floor.
- You choose what to KEEP vs. what to THROW. This is a difficult one to remember.
- Handle each and every item. Does it give you a thrill of pleasure when you hold it? If no, then you do not keep.
- There is a sequence of big categories – 1. Clothes, 2. Books, 3. Papers, 4. Miscellany, and 5. Mementos.
- There is a sequence to sub-categories: Clothes – a) tops, b) bottoms, c) hanging (with the goal of reducing these to only dresses and suits!), d) socks, e) underwear; Books – a) general, b) practical, c) visual, d) magazines; Misc – a) bags, b) accessories, c) specific function items and d) shoes last.
- Papers – there should be none or minimal need for papers; create a spot where they MUST be dealt with, one spot only; create a small vertical file for – a) currently in use, b) limited need, c) must be kept.
- Greet your house. This seemed a little hokey to me at first but it creates a connection to your ‘things’ and forces acknowledgement of your connection and lack of to your home. If you are not connected, then there is a problem? So now I am all for making the inanimate, antimate!
Parts of the book were a bit radical in expectations and points. However, I can appreciate that Marie has come from a lifetime of working with people in this realm of living life. So didn’t let that distract my ability to improve my own tendency, mostly learned, to be a saver and a nook user.
The ingrained scripts of ‘you might need that someday’ or the feelings of emotions to things that I don’t really necessarily love but feel like I should, we’re all challenged by this process. We got rid of bags of clothes, boxes of books and many more boxes of other things. I don’t miss any of them.
I do feel this is multiple phase process. I think it is good to give yourself permission to go back through your things and do this again. To practice being tidy.
This has changed the way I think about other aspects of my life – not just my things but my decisions, my investment and use of time. There is a clear link to purpose and passion for living life. There is reconciliation of your past – the ways that your parents influenced you or that having certain things but maybe not others that you do now influences you. There is also the anxiety about the future and how decisions are made about purchases.
My husband read this book right after I did. I appreciate his reminders of accountability and his support for decision-making that doesn’t harness us in things that make us messy. And at times, I do the same for him.
What we surround ourselves with is at one time noted as a need or a desire or a comfort. When those things become a barrier to comfort, it is a good exercise to ‘liberate’ them to a new home and space. Consider where you get rid of things mindfully and then consider how they affect your quality of life, giving and space by holding onto them.