In her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo shares practical tips on getting you organized for good. Here are some of her top points.
Before moving from one city to another, I decided to pick up Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. The book explains “the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing,’ and has evidently been a top seller for many years. After reading through book and completely organizing my life before my big move, I can see why it’s so popular. Kondo’s advice is incredibly practical not only when it comes to getting yourself organized, but in how to respect the items that you own.
Getting yourself organized probably sounds like the best way to start a new year (especially with these 43 super simple organizing tips), so to get you inspired, here are a few top tips from Kondo’s popular book.
Do it all at once
“Tidy a little a day and you’ll be tidying forever.” – Marie Kondo
Don’t let tidying be a yearly routine! Kondo recommends that you do it once and get it over with for good. Do it all at once. Don’t delay. It’s kind of like pulling a Band-Aid. Handle it quickly and it’ll soon be done for good.
Tidy by item, not location
“The root of the problem lies in the fact that people often store the same type of item in more than one place. When we tidy each place separately, we fail to see that we’re repeating the same work in many locations and become locked in a vicious cycle of tidying.” – Marie Kondo
When going through all of your stuff, Kondo recommends organizing everything all together. If you organize by location, you may not realize that you have separate places for batteries, candles, appliances, pens and much more. Handling all of your items at once allows you to categorize properly, instead of making duplicate categories in different locations within your home.
Only keep items that “spark joy”
“I came to the conclusion that the best way to choose what to keep and what to throw away is to take each item in one’s hand and ask: ‘Does this spark joy?’ If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it.” – Marie Kondo
This is Kondo’s main way of getting her clients organized for good. She believes that everything in your household should be something that sparks joy, not something that feels like a heavy burden. One of the main points she makes towards the end of her book is to ignore what other people think and just enjoy the stuff that you enjoy. You shouldn’t have to keep something because someone is making you feel like you should. Keep it if it really is something that makes you happy.
“We should be choosing what we want to keep, not what we want to get rid of,” writes Kondo. “By eliminating excess visual information that doesn’t inspire joy, you can make your space much more peaceful and comfortable.”
Wait to buy storage units
“Rather than buying something to make do for now, wait until you have completed the entire process and then take your time looking for storage items that you really like.”
Kondo recommends you to wait when buying extra storage units. The first act of tidying up is actually going through all of your stuff first—not shoving it all in a new storage unit. This allows you to understand every single item that you own and where it’s located.
Once you have gone through all of your items, Kondo recommends a set of drawers instead of storage bins or storage cases. These storage cases may seem helpful, but they are also great places to create new piles, which means having to dig through piles and moving storage bins in order to get what you need (which, let’s be honest, you’ll soon forget you have anyways). Having a set of drawers gives you easy access to your items.
Need more storage tips? Here are 75 best storage tips for your home.
Make sure everything is in sight
“If you are aiming for an uncluttered room, it is much more important to arrange your storage so that you can tell at a glance where everything is than to worry about the details of who does what, where, and when.” – Marie Kondo
Out of sight, out of mind, right? Kondo believes that, too. Making sure your items are in sight no only “sparks joy” because they’re items you love, but also help you to fully evaluate what you own. And, of course, know where everything is.
One of the methods Kondo recommends is to pile things vertically, especially clothes. When we pile our clothes one on top of the other, the clothes at the bottom are used less and less frequently, Kondo writes in her book. “I recommend storing vertically anything that can be stood up…just by doing that you will become more aware of the volume of things in that pile.”
Every item should have a place
“Everything needs a sanctuary.”
If everything has a place, there’s no reason for you to lose something, right? That seems to be the idea behind Kondo’s method. Now that you have everything categorized, it’s time to give every item a proper home.
“Storage, after all, is the sacred act of choosing a home for my belongings,” writes Kondo.
Leave the memories for last
“When we really delve into the reasons for why we can;t let something go, there are only two: an attachment to the past, or a fear for the future.” – Marie Kondo
In the book, Kondo highly recommends leaving anything of sentimental value to handle last. When you’re on a role with organizing and discarding items, the last thing you want is for your memories to slow you down. When you finally go through those sentimental items, you’ll be motivated to continue organizing practically.
She also writes about how we need the ability to thank an item for what it is, and discard it after. There’s no point in holding on to something unless it will spark joy. Be honest, how many items do you have in your home that truly spark joy? Or are these “sentimental” items feel like a burden because they take up so much space?
“The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life,” writes Kondo.
Look at that sentimental item and decide if it really sparks joy in your life by keeping it. If it doesn’t, thank it for what memories it has brought you and discard it properly.
Still not sure what to get rid of? It’s probably time to let go of these 30 things before you’re 30.
Always put items back
“Clutter is caused by a failure to return things to where they belong. Therefore, storage should reduce the effort needed to put things away, not the effort needed to get them out.” – Marie Kondo
This is something I continue to work on, but it’s incredibly important. In her book, Kondo continues to make the point that a clean space is a clean mind, and that there is a magic that improves your life once your tidy. When my place is in disarray, I find myself feeling haggard. And yet, this feeling immediately goes away once everything is tidy.
Now that each of your items have a space to live, make sure to put them back! Keeping that space tidy will “spark joy” and be the “magic” that will help you feel at peace and comfortable within your home.
Treat your items with respect
“Even if we remain unaware of it, our belongings really work hard for us, carrying out their respective roles each day to support our lives.”
When reading through this book, one of the key takeaways is how I continue to mistreat the items that I own. Kondo believes that every item should be respected and treated as someone with a spirit or a life of its own. By giving it a place to rest, it gives that item time to breathe.
Now you may not believe the same things as Kondo, but I noticed that applying this principle in my daily life helped the longevity of my items—particularly my bags. I have a few nice purses that I use on a daily basis between commuting to work, traveling, and even weekend excursions. Kondo recommends emptying out your bag and giving every single item in the bag (as well as the bag) a place to rest. When I started applying this principle, I noticed how my bags continued to look nice and not worn, even after many years of using them.
You’’e all organized for the new year, so here are tricks to staying organized for good.
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