The life-changing magic of tidying up

Summary of “the life-changing magic of tidying up”:

Marie Kondo writes the “KonMari” method. The book ends up being as much about her mistakes in learning how to tidy as it is about how to tidy. The book conveys a certain positive energy that makes me want to recommend it, but the author also brings that energy in reaction to a kind of previous stress which accompanied tidying, which she does not seem to have completely dropped–if you are mysteriously anxious and feel you MUST discard everything after reading her book, this may be why.

The primary point she makes is meant to cure it: Decide what to keep and what to discard by physically touching each item, and asking if it brings you joy.

The rest of the method:

  • Positivity. Everything in your house loves and wants to help you. If it is time to send off some of the items on their next adventure, this is no reason to be sad or anxious. You had a great time meeting, and they and you were both happy.
  • Tidy all at once (at least by category, but preferably in a multi-day binge).
  • Physically gather the category in once place, touching everything and asking if it brings you joy.
  • Find out what you’ll keep and discard before putting things away or organizing.
  • Organizing: ??? [I didn’t get any big takeaways here].

Marie Kondo’s best advice is realizations from her past mistakes–the sort of methods which seems reasonable to try, but end up being wrong for subtle reasons. They are:

  • Tidy by category, not place. Otherwise, you won’t realize everything you have.
  • “Storage” is storing things neatly, and lets you have more and more things. This is different than tidying, which is about bringing things in harmony, and having only things you love. Becoming better at “storage” can make you unhappy.

She also has encountered her clients making mistakes. For each category of things (clothes, books, etc) there are many reasons clients may not want to throw something out. Most of the book is meant to illustrate why these things are useless, and why throwing them out is okay and will make you happier.

The fun part is that many clients were more confident and more in touch with what they valued and who they wanted once they had only possessions they loved.

Bolded text in the book

  • Start by discarding. Then organize your space, thoroughly, completely, in one go.
  • A dramatic reorganization of the home causes coorespondingly dramatic changes in lifestyle and perspective. It is life transforming.
  • when you put your house in order, you put your affairs and your past in order, too
  • They are surrounded only by the things they love
  • the magic of tidying
  • People cannot change their habits without first changing their way of thinking
  • If you tidy up in one shot, rather than little by little, you can dramatically change your mind-set.
  • If you use the right method and concentrate your efforts on eliminating clutter thoroughly and completely with a short span of time, you’ll see instant results that will empower you to keep your space in order ever after.
  • Tidying is just a tool, not a final destination. [The true goal should be to establish the lifestyle you want most once your house has been put in order]
  • A booby trap lies within the term “storage”.
  • Putting things away creates the illusion that the clutter problem has been solved.
  • Tidying up location by location is a fatal mistake.
  • Effective tidying involves only two essential actions: discarding and deciding where to store things. Of the two, discarding must come first.
  • Tidying is a special event. Don’t do it every day.
  • Your goal is clearly in sight. The moment you have put everything in its place, you have crossed the finish line.
  • Tidy in the right order.
  • Do not even think of putting your things away until you have finished the process of discarding.
  • Think in concrete terms so that you can vividly picture what it would be like to live in a clutter-free space.
  • However, the moment you start focusing on how to choose what to throw away, you have actually veered significantly off course.
  • We should be choosing what we want to keep, not what we want to get rid of.
  • take each item in one’s hand and ask: “Does this spark joy?” If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it.
  • Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest.
    always think in terms of category, not place
  • People have trouble discarding things that they could still use (functional value), that contain helpful information (informational value), and that have sentimetnal value). When these things are hard to obtain or replace (rarity), they become even harder to part with.
  • The best sequence is this: clothes first, then books, papers, komono (miscellany), and lastly, mementos.
  • it’s extremely stressful for parents to see what their children discard
  • To quietly work away at disposing of your own excess is actually the best way of dealing with a family that doesn’t tidy. The urge to point out someone else’s failure to tidy is usually a sign that you are neglecting to take care of your own space.
  • To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose.
  • What things will bring you joy if you keep them a part of your life?
  • The most important points to remember are these: Make sure you gather every piece of clothing in the house and be sure to handle each one.
  • By neatly folding your clothes, you can solve almost every problem related to storage.
  • The key is to store things standing up rather than laid flat.
  • The goal is to fold each piece of clothing into a simple, smooth rectangle.
  • Every piece of clothing has its own “sweet spot” where it feels just right
  • Arrange your clothes so they rise to the right.
  • By category, coats would be on the far left, followed by dresses, jackets, pants, skirts, and blouses.
  • Never, ever tie up your stockings. Never, ever ball up your socks.
  • The trick is not to overcategorize. Divide your clothes roughly into “cotton-like” and “wool-like” materials when you put them in the drawer.
  • If you are planning to buy storage units in the near future, I recommend that you get a set of drawers instead.
  • The criterion is, of course, whether or not it gives you a thrill of pleasure when you touch it.
  • In the end, you are going to read very few of your books again.
  • The moment you first encounter a particular book is the right time to read it.
  • [Papers] I recommend you dispose of anything that does not fall into one of three categories: currently in use, needed for a limited period of time, or must be kept indefinitely.
  • [Papers that need to be dealt with] Make sure that you keep all such papers in one spot only. Never let them spread to other parts of the house.
  • [On lecture/seminar papers] It’s paradoxical, but I believe precisely because we hang on to such materials, we fail to put what we learn into practice.
  • Too many people live surrounded by things they don’t need “just because”.
  • Presents are not “things” but a means for conveying someone’s feelings.
  • Mysterious cords will always remain just that–a mystery.
  • Despite the fact that coins are perfectly good cash, they are treated with far less respect than paper money.
  • No matter how wonderful things used to be, we cannot live in the past. The joy and excitement we feel here and now are more important.
  • People never retrieve the boxes they send “home”. Once sent, they will never again be opened.
  • By handling each sentimental item and deciding what to discard, you process your past.
  • As you reduce your belongings through the process of tidying, you will come to a point where you suddenly know how much is just right for you.
  • The fact that you possess a surplus of things that you can’t bring yourself to discard doesn’t mean you are taking good care of them. In fact, it is quite the opposite.
  • Believe what your heart tells you when you ask, “Does this spark joy?”
  • The point in deciding specific places to keep things is to designate a spot for every thing.
  • Once you learn to choose your belongings properly, you will be left only with the amount that fits perfectly in the space you currently own.
  • pursue ultimate simplicity in storage
  • I have only two rules: store all items of the same type in the same place and don’t scatter storage space.
  • If you live with your family, first clearly define separate storage spaces for each family member.
  • Everyone needs a sanctuary
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • When you are choosing what to keep, ask your heart; when you are choosing where to store something, ask your house.
  • stacking is very hard on the things at the bottom
  • 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.
  • The key is to put the same type of bags together.
  • One theme underlying my method of tidying is transforming the home into a sacred place, a power spot filled with pure energy.
  • Transform your closet into your own private space, one that gives you a thrill of pleasure.
  • Stockings take up 25 percent less room once they are out of the package and folded up.
  • By eliminating excess visual information that doesn’t inspire joy, you can make your space much more peaceful and comfortable.
  • [homework assignment to clients] appreciate their belongings [by actually expressing appreciation to them]
  • At their core, the things we really like do not change over time. Putting your house in order is a great way to discover what they are.
  • letting go is even more important than adding
  • The lives of those who tidy thoroughly and completely, in a single shot, are without exception dramatically altered.
  • one of the magical effects of tidying is confidence in your decision-making capacity
  • But 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.
  • The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.
  • The sum total of all the garbage so far would exceed twenty-eight thousand bags, and the number of items discarded must be over one million.
  • The fact that they do not need to search is actually an invaluable stress reliever..
  • Life becomes far easier once you know that things will still work out even if you are lacking something.
  • I believe that tidying is a celebration, a special send-off for those things that will be departing from the house, and therefore I dress accordingly.
  • In essence, tidying ought to be the act of restoring balance among people, their possessions, and the house they live in.
  • Make your parting a ceremony to launch them on a new journey.
  • It’s a very strange phenomenon, but when we reduce what we own and essentially “detox” our house, it has a detox effect on our bodies as well.
  • If you can say without a doubt, “I really life this!” no matter what anyone else says, and if you like yourself for having it, then ignore what other people think.
  • As for you, pour your time and passion into what brings you the most joy, your mission in life.
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