Recently, I was filled with an urge to de-clutter.
At my local library ‘the life-changing magic of tidying up’ by Marie Condo was prominently displayed on a wall shelf. I had heard about this book; so I bought it home. I didn’t realise that the Universe was telling me ‘You have started de-cluttering. Now I want you to do it properly.’
Marie has only two ‘Magic of Tidying Up’ rules.
And she insists that you do them in this order –
* Keep only those things that spark joy and speak to your heart.
* Decide where to keep them.
She goes on to explain why she believes that some commonly held de-cluttering principles don’t work as a permanent solution. Then she goes on to explain how to apply her basic rules.
Marie’s key point is that you are ‘choosing what to keep not what to discard’. This really makes a difference because you are not getting rid of excess. You are deciding what to keep that is joyful to you.
Her main ‘Magic of Tidying Up’ differences are –
She insists that you ‘do it all at once’ because when you tidy up in one shot rather than little by little, you dramatically change your mindset. You will see instant results and it will empower you to keep your space in order ever after.
She insists that you ‘tidy up by category, not by room’ because we often store the same category of items in different places. So sort by clothes today, books tomorrow; not by main bedroom today, spare bedroom tomorrow. She does give you a category order to work on.
Once you have finished, you then can appreciate your belongings and display them with pride.
The Magic of Tidying Up – What Worked for Me
I really found it life-changing as it gave me the impetus to finally discard all that stuff I had been dilly-dallying over discarding. And only keeping those things that give me joy made it easy to discard all those things that might come in handy one day.
I also found that tidying by sub-categories of clothes let me see that my casual clothes are my ‘clothing clutter weakness’. It’s easy to hide lots of clothes when you store them horizontally and behind and under each other.
Tidying by category of books revealed to me that I love books and store them everywhere. I also realised that I don’t need to keep one book by a loved author to remind me of that person. At my funeral my family will say ‘Margaret loved reading.’ They will not list the authors I loved. So all I have kept are about 10 books that I re-read and re-read because they give my joy and a special lift when I need it. Later, I found more books hidden elsewhere. I instantly discarded them. If I didn’t remember where they were, they weren’t giving me current joy.
Tidying by category also showed me what was really important to me – what gives me joy and what I want to do more of. Marie predicted that that would happen. The Universe responded quickly to me becoming clear about what I want my future to look like.
The Magic of Tidying Up – What Didn’t Work for Me
The main one was my mistake. Not a good idea to do it when you have physical and emotional turmoil in your life. I got stressed over a few things that were happening. I couldn’t do it all in one day. My Advice – do it when you are emotionally calm.
I didn’t follow her order. I started with throwing out excess storage bags because they were really bugging me. Big mistake! I needed them for packing up books and other discards. When I really needed them, they were under too much rubbish in the bin to retrieve.
While she covers tidying up, she does not discuss disposal. If you have a charity place close by, that’s great. Otherwise – find your disposal place before you start. And check that they will take everything because you are offering not giving. My charity shop of choice did not want my books. They told me to go elsewhere. I still have them.
I am going to follow her system and will come back to finishing the job very soon.
Let me leave you with Marie’s last words –
‘Tidying is not the purpose of life.
Life truly begins after you have put your house in order.’
Buy this little hardback A5-sized book at Book Depository.
If you live in Brisbane, there are 17 copies available at various Brisbane libraries – 18 when I return my borrowed copy.
Click the graphic below for one of my very simple de-cluttering techniques.