This month my book club read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. It’s been awhile since I’ve had something so completely fit into exactly what I needed in my life at such an exact time. I’ve feel like I’ve been spinning my tires for a long time now trying to organize my home and keep it that way and this.just.clicked. This blog post is a great overview of the method in a nutshell.
The reasons it worked so well for me:
- I love doing things completely. I like to commit and finish and this book is really big on not tidying for the rest of your life.
- After a long summer I really needed to organize and feel like my house is in order. This is a great time of year to read this and do this with my new found free time of having kids in school!
- She recommends working in categories. Initially I didn’t see why that was such a big deal but after beginning to tidy it made complete sense. In the past I’ve done things by location. I’d start with my closet and then do the coat closet, the linen closet, etc. By doing that I could safely move things from closet to closet-leaving the one I just worked on clean until I did the next and needed to move a few things into it. By gathering ALL of my clothing (coats/winter gear/etc) into ONE location and sorting EVERYTHING all at once I was able to more easily eliminate what I didn’t need and return a minimal amount back to their locations. This was very effective with books and paper too!
- The concept of joy is really important to me and that is the basis for everything in her book. She asks the question again and again “Does this bring you joy?” If it doesn’t, it doesn’t belong.
“Too many people live surrounded by things they don’t need “just because.” I urge you to take stock of your komono (miscellaneous items) and save only, and I mean only, those that bring you joy.”
We took 2 car loads to a thrift store. Of just clothes. I’ve been there 7 times during my tidying-all with full loads!! I am unfortunately really, really bad at doing “before” pictures. I get far to excited about what I’m doing and too driven to get things done to stop and take a picture (and seriously, sometimes I’m halfway through with things before I realize what a giant project I’ve taken on and wouldn’t “before pictures” have been nice?)
Some treasures were found during my tidying. My parents happened to come down in the middle of it and brought everything with them from my childhood bedroom (unannounced). I may have had a small come-apart watching them dump boxes into my already destroyed bedroom BUT in the book it discourages leaving things at your parents house SOOOOO…it was probably good that we just got it all taken care of at once.
Soooo…after a lot of loads to the thrift shop and the dump we finally were left with what we really, really cared about. I finally made room for my husbands collection of Conan the Barbarian books that he COULD NOT part with. They’ve lived in a diaper box in the bottom of our closet for as long as I can remember and I’m really happy to see them on a shelf. As ridiculous as I thought they were, they now serve as a reminder of him specifically on our office shelves and I really like that.
I am especially excited about how many of the closets have come together. I had already laid the ground work for our art closet being organized…but we still had TOO much stuff in there to keep it that way. After determining what was essential and well used/liked I got rid of much of the rest and I’m left with a closet that my children can handle keeping tidy.
“Clutter is caused by a failure to return things to where they belong. Therefore, storage should reduce the effort needed to put things away, not the effort needed to get them out. When we use something, we have a clear purpose for getting it out. Unless for some reason it is incredibly hard work, we usually don’t mind the effort involved. Clutter has only two possible causes: to much effort is requred to put things away or it is unclear where things belong.”
Interestingly enough the Montessori Method really encourages organizing like items together and avoiding things like large toy boxes. Their methods of organization are very similar to the suggestions Marie Kondo has. Once I eliminated my large toy box from my family room, I found my family room to stay cleaner, less shoes were lost and more toys were played with and put away properly! Instead of throwing EVERYTHING into one big bin, my girls know that each category goes in their separate tupperware. I eliminated the big bin a few months ago and sorting/purging/reorganizing has already helped get us that last little bit over the hill to staying organized.
“The reason every item must have a designated place is because the existence of an item without a home multiplies the chance that your space will become cluttered again. Let’s say, for example, that you have a shelf with nothing on it. What happens if someone leaves an object that has no designated spot on the shelf? That one item will become your downfall. Within no time that space, which had maintained a sense of order, will be covered with objects, as if someone had yelled, “Gather round, everybody!”
Can I just tell you how much I love the peace and tranquility my closet now brings me? There is nothing on the floor. The shelves are nearly empty up top-meaning that everything that is there is easily accessible. I know that every piece of clothing in there is something I want to wear and like to wear. Instead of 6 big stacked tupperware bins holding all of our t-shirts and pants (always a MESS because everything was on top of each other) we have a lovely dresser with clothes folded vertically (it takes NO MORE TIME that folding your clothes any other way! Why not??) It is bliss.
What things have you done to help organize your home? Share with me!! We’re still in the thick of working on the garage…so any info there would be super appreciated!