in the home

On Tidying Up

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo


Clothes strewn all over the floor.

A pile of paychecks that may or may not have been electronically deposited.

Coffee mugs with coffee in them. Everywhere.

Clothes–clean and dirty–stuffed in the hamper.

Books precariously stacked on every surface. More books on floor than on bookshelf.

Clothes spilling out of my dresser drawers. Can’t even tell if they’re clean.

A strange array of bobby pins, cat toys, and magazines in my bed.

I am a messy person. I’m naturally untidy and 100% okay with being untidy. I also have a lot of stuff. This has always resulted in a space that is in constant combustion. Too much stuff + no desire to keep it tidy equals a ridiculous mess. And I usually didn’t care about it at all. When I did tidy, I’d clean like a wild fire, throwing stuff away just to deal with it quickly. Whatever remained was fruitlessly “organized.” A week later, I’d be back at square one: trying to clean my messy space and no idea how to get it under control.

My sister is an incredibly tidy person. Leave it to her to introduce me to the KonMari method of organization, the system discussed in the amazingly popular book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. She read the book and instantly applied several of the principles to her own space. Not long after, she started sidling up to me, book in hand, reading a pointed passage aloud:

“Have you ever tidied madly, only to find that all too soon, your home or work place is cluttered again?” (Read to me after shaking me awake one morning.)

“…the secret of success is to tidy in one shot, as quickly and completely as possible, and to start by discarding.” (Read to me through the bathroom door. At least she didn’t just barge in.)

“…put all your clothes in one heap, take them in your hand, one by one, and ask yourself quietly, “Does this spark joy?” Your tidying festival has begun.” (Read to me as I rushed out the door to work one morning, miffed because I couldn’t find my favorite shirt.)

I did not want to have a tidying festival. At least that’s what I would say. But on the inside, I was intrigued. (Little sisters know that big sisters are full of wisdom, but we will never let on. Until now.)

Long story short, I read the book. I applied the principles. And while I’m still messy at heart, the KonMari method made it so that I have less junk to put away. This alone has helped keep my space infinitely tidier. And that’s something I’m learning to appreciate. Here’s three takeaways that stuck with me.

Purge by category. This is a key concept. Instead of haphazardly purging a little here and little there all over the house, you gather all items in a particular category (like all books) and go from there. This forces you to truly come to terms with how much of a certain thing you have, and helps you decide exactly what to keep.

Focus on what remains. When purging belongings, I often find myself fixating on what I’m getting rid of. Swiftly getting rid of so much stuff I didn’t truly love shed a new kind of light on what belongings I did keep. Now instead of tripping over several tote bags every day, I have one that I actually treasure.

Cultivate joy. According to Marie, the only criteria a belonging must meet in order to remain is that it must spark joy. This concept is so creative and gave me the freedom to let things GO. Every item I own now brings me joy. Nothing weighs me down.

So…do you want to have a tidying festival? You know you do!


One thought on “On Tidying Up

  1. Pingback: Field Guide To: Approaching Your First Capsule Wardrobe | the field guide

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