the life-changing magic of tidying up- the japanese art of decluttering and organizing.

This book is written by Japenese decluttering guru, Marie Kondo.  Marie is a decluttering expert and has helped thousands of people in transforming their lives. She calls her method the “KonMari Method”. This method of decluttering is so effective, she currently has a 3 month waiting list in which she physically goes to people’s houses to assist them in decluttering. In my opinion, this book is so effective at getting her point across of how to declutter, I wouldn’t even need Marie (sorry Marie!) In addition to the long wait for her services, none of Marie’s clients have lapsed into decluttering ever. This is powerful!

I think a lot of us to some degree have cluttering issues. I certainly have and let me tell you as I was reading this book, I became slightly obsessive over decluttering my condo. I would stay up until the wee hours of the morning just throwing stuff out.  I love things. I love keeping things, I love receiving things and I find it hard to throw stuff out. My husband absolutely hates clutter and sees how different of a person I am now that I have read this book. Any time we are trying to figure out where a certain item should go whether its new or old my husband now says to me “Well…what would Marie do??” or “What would Marie say to this?” I love it. Marie is now an imaginary character in my home.

Here are some chapters and subtitles of what you can expect if you pick up this book (note: I have only included the first 2 chapters):

Chapter 1: Why can’t I keep my house in order?

  • You can’t tidy if you’ve never learned how
  • Tidy a little a day and you’ll be tidying forever
  • The moment you start you reset your life
  • Storage experts are hoarders –(LOL)
  • Sort by category, not by location

Chapter 2: Finish discarding first

  • Start by discarding, all at once, intensely and completely
  • Selection criterion: does it spark joy?
  • One category at a time
  • Starting with mementos spells certain failure
  • Don’t let your family see
  • If your mad at your family, your room may be the cause
  • What you don’t need, your family doesn’t either
  • What to do when you cant throw something away

What I got from this book: The only way this method will work is if you do it her way and she has good resasons supporting this to which I strongly agree. I myself have tidied my place only to keep tidying the same areas over and over and it becomes a never ending stressful cycle of “my home is never clean” The issue is that I have too much stuff. You can organize all you want but you will still have the same volume of items. Things need to be thrown out. I know this can be hard for some people but as you read the book, you will become more comfortable doing so as Marie puts things into perspective. Each item that you decide “sparks joy” as Marie says, has to have a home. When items don’t have homes, they end up in piles. These piles become disasters and this is how clutter is born.

A couple of my favourite quotes from the book:

“I have only two rules: store all items of the same type in the same place and don’t scatter storage space.” P.138

When you are choosing what to keep, ask your heart; when you are choosing where to store something, ask your house” p.144

The lives of those who tidy thoroughly and completely in a single shot, are without exception dramatically altered” p.178

letting go is even more important than adding” p.177

But when we really delve into the reasons for why we can’t let something go, there are only two: an attachment to the past or a fear for the future” p.181

In essence, tidying ought to be the act of restoring balance among people, their posessions, and the house they live in.” p.190

It’s a very strange phenomenon, but when we reduce what we own and essentially “detox” our house, it has a detox effect on our bodies as well”. p.193  **towards the end of the book, Marie discusses the effect decluttering has had on her clients. People have lost weight, found jobs, found new passions in life. Just amazing.**

And these are only just a few. There are so many more that were great.

This book completely changed the way I think about every single thing in my life.  I think twice about buying something new. I think twice about what the purpose of each item I own is to me in my life, and best of all, I am now enjoying experiences more than materialistic things. Marie’s words of wisdom have put my life into perspective and they will for you too, I promise. Even if you are not a self-help book type of person, I promise you will love this book, you’ll never look back and you will thank me and Marie later.

One thing I’ll never get rid of…my collection of cookbooks. Sorry Marie, they spark too much joy.

**I purchased this book from Amazon.ca for $15. All opinions are my own.

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