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By Platinum Team July 7, 2015

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

This post is part of our Life at Home series. Each month, we explore different thinking, techniques or tools related to the concept of a home and what it means to live well in ours. You know that feeling AFTER you finish organizing your closet? Amazing, right? The resulting sense of mental white space is a priceless reward. Except… Who are we kidding? You paid quite a price for it. With discipline, you dedicated yourself to the loathsome process of confronting your chaotic closet. And as you did so, you kept battling images of lounging by the pool. Somehow any and all images of leisurely weekend activities kept drifting through your mind. But, there you were… trapped in your closet, of all places. Does it have to be such undesirable drudgery? What if there was a different way of approaching that task of putting your home in order? That’s what The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up is about. Within her book, Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo presents the distinct process she uses to help clients simplify and organize their homes. We should make clear — Kondo is not promising a good ol’ time. But, she reframes the onerous task in quite a refreshingly meaningful light. A few things we took away from the read:

-Focus on what you want to keep versus what you want to get rid of. Fixing your energy and attention on what to “get rid of” casts the whole activity in a negative light. Instead, it’s best to place your emphasis on what you are choosing to keep. Doing so puts you in a more positive mindset from the get-go.

-Ask “does it spark joy?” To figure out what you want to keep, Kondo offers this filter question. She insists that you take each item in hand as you ask this question and pay attention to your reaction in both your mind and body. Yes, it may seem too out there for some folks, but following her advice was just right for us. Don’t be surprised if emotions come to the surface. Letting go of things that are no longer serving you can be tough, but there’s also a lot of reward in truly seeing those things that do, in fact, “spark joy” for you.

– Working by category, take EVERY item you own and put it on your floor. Yes, we hate to even bring this up. At first, it makes a massive mess, but she’s right — it helps. For example, all of your clothes come off the closet rod into a big pile. You are then able to take each item in hand, see it in full light and determine whether it sparks joy. This prevents you from overlooking items or lazily leaving items in the closet that truly ought to be discarded.

This just scratches the surface of Kondo’s distinct approach to simplifying and organizing your home. With years of experience in tidying, Kondo has many more insights to offer on the topic. If you’re looking to get your home (and/or life) in order, this read may be for you. And, since we’re all for supporting local businesses, we recommend checking in with Changing Hands, Bookmans, your library branch or other favorite local spots to get a copy.]]>