The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up Review

Tidying Up | The Silver Pen

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up Review

This year we are moving into a smaller house.  We are “right-sizing” as we are calling it. We currently live in a home that is larger than we need. Now, this is a real blessing, I know.  A first-world problem, if you will.  Though it has been an incredibly difficult decision (because I loooooove our home), it is the right thing to do.

Part of right-sizing includes de-cluttering, cleaning out. Enter “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” written by Marie Kondo, a Japanese personal tidying expert (she doesn’t like to call herself an “organizer”).  She caught my attention a) because her book is everywhere and b) with her radical approach and phenomenal success rate. She claims that her relapse rate among clients she’s personally helped is zero. Literally zero.  

Ms. Kondo’s decluttering theories are unique, and can be reduced to two basic tenets: Discard everything that does not “spark joy,” after thanking the objects that are getting the heave-ho for their service (LOVE this!); and do not buy organizing equipment — your home already has all the storage you need.

Before you recoil, keep going.  The title of this book is SPOT-ON!  If you read and apply her principles, your life WILL be changed. Seriously. I am learning it first-hand!

To understand her method, forget everything you think you know about decluttering. This method is extreme, but it really. does. work. Here are some basics of her approach:

  1. Discard first, store later. Kondo believes that you can’t organize clutter. The first step is to get rid of everything you don’t need.
  2. Tidy a little a day and you’ll be tidying forever. This was a biggie for me. I am a serial tidier. However, Ms. Kondo says that “tidying is a special event. Don’t do it every day.” If you do the job right, once and completely, you won’t have to do it again. Love that!
  3. Storage experts are hoarders. “Putting things away creates the illusion that the clutter problem has been solved.” But organized clutter is still clutter. This was another area in which I was slightly delusional.
  4. Sort by category, not location. “Tidying up by location is a fatal mistake.” Sort by category instead, in the following order: clothes, books, papers, miscellany, and then things with sentimental value.
  5. Ask yourself: “Does this spark joy?” If it does, keep it. If it doesn’t, get rid of it. Now, important documents are not included, but there are fewer of these than you’d think.
  6.  Never pile things. Vertical storage is the key. Stacking has two problems: you can stack much more than you can store vertically (not a plus if you’re aiming for clutter-free), and stacking is hard on the things at the bottom.
  7. Learn how to fold. Kondo is adamant about proper folding technique, which enables you to store things standing up rather than laid flat. She advocates to fold everything into a long rectangle, then fold that in upon itself to make a smaller rectangle, and then roll that up into a tube, like a sushi roll. Set these upright in your drawers. I had a hard time visualizing her technique from the book but this video helped. This method is amazing for people like me who are particularly visual because you can see everything at a glance, much more effectively than you can if your clothes are hanging or vertically stacked. And last but not least  (something I thought particularly unique and wonderful),  Ms. Kondo urges: Thank your stuff, it’s been working hard for you.

Marie Kondo | The Silver Pen

 Marie Kondo. Isn’t she adorable?

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  1. Luis Fernando Lopez Zamudio says

    Dear Marie, I am working in a oil platform in the sea. I find your book in the library of this place an i’m realy exiting. I am reading a taking notes about your book. I talk with my wife and a hope go my home and work with she in the magic of tidying.

  2. E.B. says

    Oh, this post is exactly what I needed, thank you! Getting ready for a “right-sizing” move, major decluttering going on. And love the idea of spark joy and giving thanks, makes for good vibes.

  3. Joanie Aldrich says

    Hollye dear
    How brilliant ! This post came just at the right time ,,, am in the midst of packing things for the move to Pebble … I also ask myself, now honestly would you really ever wear this again .. If the answer if no
    There are so many worthwhile ways to share these old treasures with friends or charities … If they are haute couture, you can take them to a resale store, vintage is all the rage ! Anxious to hear about your new home … I see all your ideas on Pinterest … Can’t wait to hear about the porch !!
    Hearts love,

      • Joanie Aldrich says

        Yes we will be there full time … The remodel is almost finished after 3 years ! I have so many wonderful sources if you need any ideas for your new home. The home in Pebble is a Paul Williams colonial revival … White brick, slate roof, dark charcoal shutters and what I call my black patent leather front door !!! Found this fantastic metal called Ryenzink … For the flashings rain gutters and metal awings … It is a putter color copper that is so chic … Well I could ho on and on … I will still have a connection to LA and stay at the California Club when I come to Town. Can’t wait to hear about your new home project … I love reading your daily musings
        And think you are such a special lady. Hearts Love to you and your family xxxooo