Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up or How to Make Your Sock Drawer Look Like Mine!

I’ve just finished reading a book, I have to write about. Even as I made notes and underlined and laughed while reading it, I thought, “I can’t wait to blog about this….”

I need to qualify all that I’m about to write by saying, this woman is nuts. But it’s a good nuts. Pretty much every chapter had me shaking my head and muttering, “What a lunatic,” but I said it with a smile on my face. I adore this woman and her ideas. I just wouldn’t ever want to live with her.

The book is The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing by Marie Kondo. Maybe you’ve heard of it? It’s been all over the news lately. It’s a small book that’s selling like hot cakes.

Most of us are enamored with the idea of organizing our stuff, but this book goes beyond that. It preaches that you get rid of huge amounts of your belongings – anything that doesn’t “spark joy.”

I loved this concept that we should only wear clothing that sparks joy for us and we should only keep things in our home that spark joy in our lives. Sure, there’s the stuff you need that maybe doesn’t spark a lot of joy – a spatula, the paper-towel holder, the sheets for the guest room bed – but it’s something to strive for. My teenage daughter has a ladle on her Amazon wishlist that is shaped like the Lochness monster. She loves it. It sparks joy. Maybe it will grace her kitchen someday. She also has a tea infuser that looks like a shark swimming around your cup as it makes your tea. My kid definitely gets the sparks joy concept.

I’ve been trying in recent years not to bring anything in to my house that I don’t really love. No furniture to serve a purpose – it needs to be something that makes me happy.

Our living room is large, there’s room in there for lots of furniture, but currently there is only a couch (it sparks a tiny flicker of joy only because my mom recovered it for me and I remember that fun weekend, but it’s filthy and it’s days are numbered, but it’s the only real seating left in the room, so there it is.), a coffee table (which does spark some joy because Nick refinished it and it’s functional, simple, and pretty), and the dog’s recliner (an ugly, worn out, hand-me-down recliner that our incredibly untrainable dog sleeps on most nights – we hold on to it so that she won’t get on the other furniture.). I know we need some seating, but I’ve yet to find anything I can afford that even remotely sparks joy.

We moved the screened porch furniture in for the winter, so for now there’s lots of seats, but as soon as it warms up that room will be barren again. No matter – I’m not buying anything until I find the furniture that speaks to me. Kondo backs me up on this and I love her for it.

When it comes to clothing, Kondo spends almost half the book on her system.
First, she says, repeatedly (and there is a lot of repetition in this book, so if you’re an impatient person it might irritate you), you must sort through your clothing in one go. You can’t do it a little here and a little there. This forced me to put off the challenge until this past weekend, when an unexpected snow and a change of heart for my college-visiting son, gifted me with a free day.

Basically, she instructs that you pull out ALL of your clothes – everything, even the “fat” clothes, the clothes you keep in the under-the-bed box “just in case,” the off-season stuff and the things you hung in your kids closet because you never wear it, but you couldn’t possibly get rid of it.

Once you have everything piled in one place, you pick up each item, one at a time and hold it in your hands and determine whether or not it sparks joy. It’s critical that you hold the item. It gives you a distinct feeling. Whatever doesn’t spark joy, goes. Kondo says many of her clients end up offing two thirds of their wardrobe.

Okay, confession. I understand what she’s doing. And I had every intention of doing it, but….I’m lazy. And I’m in a hurry. So I didn’t hold every piece of clothing, just some. I did manage to get rid of probably one third of my wardrobe. It was a start. I’ve decided that I’ll do it again at the end of summer.

The other big impetus of the book is storage. Kondo is a big proponent of “vertical” stacking. You can put nearly twice as much in each drawer if you stack vertically. Plus, you can see all your options without rifling through everything else. I struggled to understand this concept. How do you vertically stack a sock? Reading it, only made me skeptical, but once I tried it, I was a believer. Here’s my sock drawer (which is only half-full now but was previously spilling out – combination of purging the unsparking socks and vertically stacking).

(Did you ever imagine you’d see the inside of my sock drawer? Me neither.) How about my running clothes drawer?

Or my good t-shirts drawer?

Speaking of socks, I have to mention this other gem in the book. Kondo believes that we must treat our clothing with respect and kindness. To that end, it is not kind or respectful to ball up your socks. All my life I’ve always kept my socks in little bundles by folding one out over the other, like this-

But Kondo says that stresses the sock. It’s constantly stretched, which is wearing and exhausting for the sock. (I’m thinking it’s not the sock specifically, but probably the elastic in the sock…). She exhorts the reader, again and again, to treat their belongings with respect and kindness. Empty your purse every day – how would you like to be left “full” all the time?

My only real issue with this book is that Kondo constantly talks about throwing things away. Of course that grates my soul. Almost anything can be recycled. If you take her advice to heart and start purging your house of belongings, please, please, please don’t simply throw things away, no matter what she says. There are options beyond the Goodwill and the recycling bin. Consider listing things on Freecycle or Craigslist. I’ve given away the most random things you can imagine on Freecycle (plastic candy fish molds, a box of broken crayons, a DVD/VCR that only plays DVDs). There are people who will take your stuff, and sure, I realize they might be hoarders, but there’s also a chance that they’re not. Either way, it keeps your stufffrom clogging up the landfills. Facebook has also opened up avenues for giving unwanted things away. Do a search for a local yard sale page and you’ll find a multitude of outlets.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up has changed my attitude at least, if not my life. I’m even more careful about what I bring home. I’m slowly sorting through my belongings. I do want to have a house filled with only things that spark joy for me. Living with four other people means that sometimes I have to put up with items that don’t spark joy for me, but do for someone else. That’s part of communal living. Kondo doesn’t really address this fact, but I believe she’d understand.

Kondo has systems for everything – mementos, books, papers, even the kitchen sink. You may not agree with her recommendations, but it will make you think about why you keep the things you keep and how you store the things you have. Kondo goes so far as to say (per the title) that tidying up will change your life – it will give you confidence and help you figure out who you really are and what makes you happy. Tall order, but I have to say she’s on to something. What we surround ourselves with and how we care for them does say a lot about a person.



14 comments:

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  7. Hello my name is Kathy Smith and i want to testify about the powerful magical mirror that helped my life in positive ways and that blessed me. I have been hearing about this magical mirror for long and i have been searching for a way to get it but to no avail all my efforts seemed to be in vain but my cousin's friend told me how she ordered for the magical mirror from Dada Magical a powerful man from Africa and how she used it and how she became blessed. At first i thought it was a joke but i decided to order for it by contacting Magicalmirrorofgoodness@hotmail.com and i got it. To my greatest surprise, the mirror was even better than what i expected. The magical mirror is really a good one and it worked and it is still with me and it is still working. The magical mirror is HARMLESS and it is not scaring. it tells me what to do and what not to do, it reveals deep secret to me, it protect me and it tells me who is against me and who is my true friend. It suggest good ideas for me and it has made me rich too and in fact the magical mirror is a solution because is provide and can tell you solution to your problems. Am so excited and am so endowed and blessed to have the magical mirror with me. This magical mirror helps protect against evil. This is real and you can get it and see for your self so if you need the magical mirror don't hesitate to get it and you can get it by contacting Magicalmirrorofgoodness@hotmail.com

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    ReplyDelete
  10. Wow i never thought i will happy in my life ever again, i want you all to thank DR OGUDUGU of GREATOGUDUGU@GMAIL.COM, he is a father that takes care of his children the spell caster of our time, he has saved me from a very ugly situation that almost made my life miserable and i want you all to thank him for me,my husband and i have be married for so many years now with children and the relationship was being threatened by a small girl in his working place,she was almost destroying my home i met so many spell casters but to no avail until i met a friend who came from africa and she told me about DR OGUDUGU, and i decided to contact him and try him out as i was losing faith in all spell casters, but he told not to worry that now am in his temple everything will be alright he assured me 100% that his spell has no side effects and that it will work straight and save my home and my marriage and after he has performed the sacrifices and casted the spell, my husband came back to us with love and affection and he loved us more and more and he never looked back or none did his love for me waiver, if you are also experiencing this sort of your situation in your home, if your husband is drifting away, if you are experiencing a broken home or you have lost your husband to a young woman outside there then look no further help is here as GREATOGUDUGU@GMAIL.COM is ready to help you out okay for any of your problem is it financial needs, revenge spell, job spell, promotion spell what kind of spell do you need DR OGUDUGU is going to solve it for you okay i have promised him to always talk of his good works to the world in general and to any body who cares to listen, you can email him on his personal email on or GREATOGUDUGU@GMAIL.COM and he will attend to you as soon as possible okay once again his email is or GREATOGUDUGU@GMAIL.COM OR call +2348142250751 Thank you great father your daughter Precious Williams.

    ReplyDelete
  11. If you need any kind of help please do reach Dr Ogudugu on his website: www.greatdrogudugusolutiontemple.webs.com

    ReplyDelete
  12. How I Got My Ex Wife Back........... I am Jackson by name. Greetings to every one that is reading this testimony. I have been rejected by my wife after three(1) years of marriage just because another man had a spell on her and she left me and the kid to suffer. one day when i was reading through the web, i saw a post on how this spell caster on this address adodalovespelltemple@gmail.com , have help a man to get back his wife and i gave him a reply to his address and he told me that a man had a spell on my wife and he told me that he will help me and after 2 days that i will have my wife back. i believed him and today i am glad to let you all know that this spell caster have the power to bring lovers back. because i am now happy with my wife. Thanks for Dr. Adoda . His email: adodalovespelltemple@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hello I'm christ potter from Southport Liverpool, England, I'm
    giving a testimony about Dr.Sebi the great Herbalist,he has the cure
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    didn't believe him that much, I just wanted to give him a Trier, he
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    make a payment for the medicine.he prepared it (CURE) and sent it to me
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    went for check-up 2 weeks after finishing the medicine, I was tested HIV
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    no more. Contact him via: drsebispelltemple@gmail.com or whatsapp number +2348153863900


    You can add me on facebook: christ potter

    Or email me on: christpotterusa@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hello everyone, i am here to share my testimony on how i conceived my baby. by the help of a spell caster called Dr aza, i have been married to my husband for 12years without no issue.i had problems with my in-laws even my husband started to have new affairs aside our marriage. it was a very terrible thing to bear. i became a laughing stock among my pear, i prayed and fasted and nothing happened. i was now seen as always unhappy.i was even ready to pack out of my marital home and stay on my own because my husband was not given me any attention that i needed from him. i decided to focus on my job and try to live happy on my own. on this faithful day, i decided to check the internet for updates on healthy living and i came across a story of a woman called mercy, saying that Dr aza helped her with a spell that make her to conceive a baby. i decided to give him a try because this has been my greatest problem in life. today i am a proud mother with a son. words will not be enough to explained what this man did for me.i am a happy mother,i know there is someone in same condition and you feel there is no way. i urge you to contact him. This is the solution to every single mother around the globe. distance is not a barrier, he will surely make your dreams come trough. contact him today via email: azaspellcaster@gmail.com you can call him or whatsApp his number +2348107155060

    ReplyDelete