Lately I have totally surprised myself at how many books I have read on the subject of decluttering – basically four books in just under four weeks! For me that is almost unthinkable – I’ve never been known as a fast reader. I enjoyed them all so much I found it hard to go to sleep or work! Each of these books has brought decluttering to life in very different (but complimentary) ways.
However today I want to draw your attention to one book in particular (not necessarily a favourite – it just has a powerful theme). The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying is by Japanese author, Marie Kondo – who’s home I would love to visit, but not necessarily live in. Her methods are definitely successful, however, for me, the outcomes are a tad drastic. I’m not sure I would want to end up with just 30 books in my house. Nevertheless there is something about this book that has helped me to treat my possessions as ‘an emotional extension of self’. Some might say this could make it harder to let go of an item, but actually I think it’s easier to let something go that has served you well, but you have come to realise that the joy of owning it has diminished over time – therefore it can go. If an item “sparks joy in your whole body” then she recommends you keep it.
Still on the subject of books, I’m now able to look at a bookshelf quite differently – I could never just run my fingers along a bookshelf and select the books I no longer need. Marie Kondo pulls ALL books off the shelf, allowing them to “breath a sigh of relief”. She then picks each book up separately, strokes it and talks to it. If the book gives her immediate joy just by holding it, then the chances are she will keep it. Anything else, she personally thanks it for giving her pleasure at the time of reading, and lets the book know that she will be letting it go to someone else who will also gain pleasure from reading the words on it’s beautiful pages. However I haven’t yet talked to my books – but they certainly do talk to me when I am deciding whether to keep or let go. Getting them all off the shelves at once also allows you to clean the shelves as you go and check the books for damage – or worse still, “wildlife infestation”!
When it comes to Marie’s wardrobe, I imagine it is ‘arranged’ as beautifully as the displays in a stunning designer shop in Hong Kong. Her ideal method of clothes storage is VERTICAL wherever possible – she feels sorry for clothes trapped at the bottom of a pile! She espouses the art of ‘folding’ clothing – T-shirt origami if you like! Once again she brings EVERYTHING out of the cupboard, in fact all of your clothing in the house, car, garage, laundry or the cupboard under the stairs. You will probably find yourself standing knee deep in clothes in your bedroom – and then, same as the books, pick up each item individually so as to “commune” with it. Then the folding comes into it’s own – she has proved that you can actually fold T-shirts, jumpers, jeans, in such a way as to be able to place them in a drawer vertically! Rolling is the another way to put small items away – underpants, stockings, socks – and placed side by side in the drawer, maybe with drawer dividers to keep them in place. Wow – what a departure from most people’s idea of tidy. But there’s a catch – ANY clothing found in the house after the sorting, folding and tidying, must be THROWN OUT – if you overlooked it initially, it doesn’t mean enough to you to retain it!
Marie’s “motto” is that you should only ever have to tidy your home, office (life) ONCE. That is really powerful – and something to ponder when you begin your journey to a clutter-free life. NOW is the time to start. After your decision to keep or let go, find the right place to keep each item, and always return it to that place after you have used it. Deciding how you want to lead the rest of your life will help you choose what to keep and how you organise your possessions. ONCE IS ENOUGH – imagine that! I have also just watched a You Tube talk with Marie Kondo which was really helpful – I thoroughly recommend it. Please feel free to comment on this post – its quite a severe departure from most declutter methods, but the benefits are endless. I would really love to hear what you think. Happy folding!