The Life Changing Magic of Tidying

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying

Marie Kondo’s International Sensation – The Life Changing Magic of Tidying has sold over 5 million copies. Why has a book about tidying been so popular? It’s because Marie’s method – the KonMari method, is all about sparking joy in your life, and don’t we all want that?

Her method starts with discarding. You sort your possessions, keeping only those items that make you happy. As Marie says in the book – as you sort each item, ask yourself “Does this spark joy?”


Many of us have way too many possessions. We might live surrounded by clutter, or have a wardrobe rammed full with clothes. It’s unlikely that each of these things truly makes us happy, and a lot of the time we hang on to things simply because we can’t face the job of tidying.


A study carried out at the University of California measured stress hormone levels in 30 couples. Women who described their home environment as chaotic or messy had higher levels of cortisol, when measured at various points throughout the day. Interestingly, men seemed to be less affected by a messy, cluttered home.


Research has also revealed that a cleaner home could lead to healthier food choices. A study published in Psychological Science journal revealed that those who worked in a neat, tidy space for 10 minutes were twice as likely to choose an apple over a chocolate bar than those working in a messy, chaotic office.


Studies also show that we sleep better if we go to bed in a clean and uncluttered environment.


Deciding What to Keep

Deciding what to keep on the basis of what sparks joy in your heart is the most important step in tidying. However, the KonMari method involves sorting your possessions in a specific order.


You start with clothes. The important thing is that you are not to tidy room by room; rather you gather every item of clothing you own from every area of your house and put it all in one place.


This serves the purpose of letting you truly assess how much clothing you own. You can then make a better assessment of what you are going to keep. If you have children or a partner, you would sort all of your clothing at the same time. Dealing with just one category within a single time frame speeds up the tidying process.


The order of items you sort is also the key to successfully implementing the KonMari method.


You must tidy in this order:


  1. Clothes – these must be sorted first as they are the easiest to make a decision about
  2. Books
  3. Papers/Paperwork
  4. Miscellaneous items
  5. Sentimental items and keepsakes – these are the hardest to throw away and must be sorted last


Designate a Place for Each Thing

After you have decided which items to keep and which to discard based on keeping only those things that truly make you happy, Marie Kondo suggests you will have reduced your possessions to a third or even a quarter of what you started out with.


You then decide where you are going to keep the possessions you have left, making sure that every item has a place. That’s it.


Simple But Powerful

The method is actually very simple – so what makes it so powerful? Why has Marie Kondo sold over 5 million copies of her book?


I believe it’s because decluttering and living only with those things that make us happy is a way of living more mindfully. Letting go of the grips of the past and the pull of the imagined future allows us to live more in the present moment.


When we delve into the reason we can’t get rid of something which we don’t need it will always come down to one of two things – an attachment to the past or anxiety about the future. Hanging on to things we don’t need and that don’t really make us happy limits our ability to live in the present moment.


If we acknowledge our attachment to the past and our fears for the future by honestly looking at our possessions, we will be able to more clearly see what is really important to us.


Appreciate Your Belongings

Our possessions very accurately reflect the history of the decisions we have made in life. Tidying is a way of taking stock, and showing us what we really love. Feel grateful to be surrounded by those things you love, by items that are special and precious and that bring you happiness.


Through treasuring the things you love and letting go of the things you don’t, you’ll not only create a beautiful home, but also find the confidence and motivation to live the life you wish for and make space for future success.


The aim of decluttering is not to purge your belongings and live in minimalist nothingness. Minimalism is not for everyone. But the KonMari method will help you find the right amount of things for you.


It will mean you enjoy the objects you’ve chosen to live with and to continue to choose only things you love. It’s a way of feeling more happiness and joy within your home. And that’s where the life changing magic of tidying lies.


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