The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up
By Marie Kondo. 5/5. Amazon.
Lessons from this one (and from this Netflix’s piece) helped us to throw out ~15 bags of clutter right before our kiddo was born. I had to mentally skip the metaphysical BS though. Remarkable piece.
# How to declutter?
According to the author it should be enough to do it once in a lifetime, but my experience is that it’s good to do it every now and then (like during the moving out, after a kid is born etc.).
Declutter the whole house at once. Occasional tidying up won’t change your relationship with possessions and the clutter will find its way back into your life.
Go through your possessions by category - items belonging to one category may lie in different locations. Put them in one place (e.g. on bed) to see how much of them you have.
Grab every item and decide if you want to keep it. Focus on its purpose, why you have it and if it brings you joy. If it doesn’t serve any purpose and you don’t need it anymore, remove it from your life immediately.
Don’t listen to music or watch Netflix in the meantime etc. Focus on cleaning up not only the space but also the mental space the items take in your life.
Do it in this order:
- clothes (you may split them into subcategories like jackets, t-shirts if you want)
- komono (others)
- things of emotional value and memorabilia
Keeping this order also makes decluttering easier, allows to gain the momentum and teaches how to make the decisions for later.
Leave only the clothes you wear. Don’t keep the items to use them at home when no-one looks. You look.
Fold the foldables whenever possible (eg. trousers), hang the clothes that look better hanged (eg. shirts).
Keep the clothes of the same category in the same place. Also, try to keep them from heavier to lighter (in terms of the material and color).
Whenever it’s possible, don’t divide clothes by seasons - the simpler categorisation, the better. You ain’t taxonomist.
Make all the clothes accessible to you at any given moment. Don’t keep them in the backs of your closet, it will wrinkle them. And you won’t enjoy them oftenly.
Keep the lighter colors in front of the drawer.
Don’t open them during decluttering. If you think you will read a particular book at some point, you probably won’t. The same applies to already read books. Keep only your personal bests.
You don’t need the papers that are not actionable right now, or you don’t have to keep them for external reasons (e.g. tax stuff). Keep the papers in one place, a cabinet, drawer or a binder.
If there is something you’d like to keep, but it doesn’t have to be in physical form for legal reasons, scan it and keep it in the cloud.
Don’t keep items just because. If they don’t bring you joy or don’t serve any purpose, just let them go away.
If you don’t like something you got, throw it away. The reason for someone to get you something is for you to accept it. It’s a way of sharing love. Sometimes you won’t enjoy the gift and that’s ok.
# Electronics and cables
Keep as many cables as you need and nothing more. You don’t need cables for that old 2MP camera from 2001.
Don’t keep the broken electronics at home. Probably you won’t be able to fix them on your own, and if you didn’t already, you won’t ask anyone to do that for you either.
For most of your belongings you don’t need to keep the boxes that they come in. Only in rare occasions lack of the box would affect the price if you’d want to sell the item.
Coins should be in the wallet or the savings jar. The shopping bags (well, every kind of bags) can sit in one of them. Necessary kitchen appliances should be hidden in the drawers. Etc, etc.
Just keep in mind who you are right now, not who you were back then, or who was part of your life in the past. This will tell you what you want to remove.
# How to store things?
Once you’re done with eliminating, think of where to put the things that you want in your life.
Find a home for every item you have. By the home of an item the author means the its place. If this rule is violated, the house will be cluttered in no time.
The simpler the storage system, the better. Having a sophisticated solution needs maintenance. Also, the more you need to think of where to put an item, the higher chance of putting it anywhere.
Experts in organizing things are hoarders.
Keep the same items close. Ideally vertically, not stacked. Items at the bottom of the stack are more difficult to get, they disappear from your sight.
# How to buy stuff
Ask yourself if buying the particular item will bring you the joy. If you can - buy the used items but in a decent condition.
Throw away boxes, remove label tags. Treat your new things as yours.
# Day to day decluttering
Spend few minutes every day to put the items where they belong. Simple as that. You won’t have to think about clutter anymore.