It is so rewarding to Muffy and me to see our customers become inspired! Of course, we like to take some credit for that, but this week two of our customers were inspired by a popular new book with a different approach to organizing.
Those of you who are familiar with our style of organizing know that we like to empty a space, sort through the contents and then decide what to keep, what belongs elsewhere, and what doesn’t belong at all. A new book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kono presents a different approach that has transformed the lives of many.
Ms. Kondo suggests that “tidying is just a tool, not the final destination. The true goal should be to establish the lifestyle you want most once your house has been put in order…. by successfully concluding this once-in-a-lifetime task, you will gain the lifestyle you aspire to and enjoy a clean and orderly space of your choosing.”
By selecting one category at a time she advises to keep only items that fall into one of three categories:
- currently in use
- needed for a limited period of time
- must be kept indefinitely
Having trouble deciding? Then consider her overall theme: Does the item bring you joy? Going through each of the recommended categories may seem somewhat overwhelming, but it will allow you to see what you really own.
The first project is clothes. Take all the clothes from everywhere in your home and put them into a pile. This means everything! Take out all of the clothes in your closets, drawers, hanging on the treadmill, in the mending pile, etc. Be sure to include all of your coats, hats, gloves, and shoes. Handle each piece and decide what you want to keep. Is it currently in use? If so, then it will be kept. Do you need it for a limited period of time—-for example, is it needed for a different season? OK to keep. What about items that must be kept indefinitely—a cocktail dress that you can still fit into? Also OK to keep. While going through each item, Kondo suggests keep only those items that will bring you joy. I may like a particular blouse, but if I try it on and do not feel good (and joyful) wearing it, then it is being donated.
The next category is books. So many of us like to keep shelves full of books that we have either read or intend to read some day. The same technique applies: put all of your books in one place and begin the process again. And utilize the same criteria. Are you currently reading the book? Is it a book that you need while investigating something like your next vacation or gardening plans? Is it something that you want to keep indefinitely like a photo book you made from a special vacation? Again the overall theme is: Does it bring you joy? I have a lot of art books that I inherited, and like to keep for inspiration in the various creative outlets that I pursue. However, I find that I dust them more often than I look at them. Perhaps if there were fewer of them on my shelves, they would actually be viewed, so I will keep only those select few that I really enjoy.
Miscellany seems to cover (almost) everything else in your home: items in the kitchen, bathrooms, craft areas, CDs, etc that do not fit into the previous two categories. By now you should have the system down pat, and can move forward about deciding on objects that “I might need someday!” These first three categories are the easiest and you are probably inspired by seeing all of the major changes in your closets, cupboards, drawers and shelves.
Now it is time for the most difficult category: mementos. Ms Kondo suggests that “by handling each sentimental item and deciding what to discard, you process your past. If you just stow these things away in a drawer or cardboard box, before you realize it, your past will become a weight that holds you back and keeps you from living in the here and now. To put your things in order means to put your past in order, too. It’s like resetting your life and settling your accounts so that you can take the next step forward.” I have one closet that holds my memorabilia—I refer to it as “my anxiety closet,” because each time I open the door I have anxiety——because it is the most disorganized area of my home. It always seems to be the last thing on my to-do list as I see all the layers of things I need to do, and then just walk away. I jokingly say that this will be my retirement project. When I do go through it, I think I will now have a different perspective. Do the items bring me joy? Am I holding on to items to give to my daughters someday? Will they even want these items? Or will they be stored in a box in their homes and rarely viewed again?
While organizing for others I find many, many organizing books, and I believe that the time spent reading these books (if they were even read at all) would have been better spent doing the actual organizing. That said, upon reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up I believed the KonMari method could provide that motivation that so many seek. This past week proved it! Our customers did not follow the KonMari method to the letter, but kept the mantra of Does the item bring you joy? as they moved through their homes. But beyond that, seeing the joy on our customers faces has inspired me to face some of the stuff that has been weighing me down. There is already a large pile for donation…..
I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on this book,