I have to admit that I’ve never been a big fan of magicians and their magic tricks (sorry to any magician’s who might be reading this). It’s just not my thing. I wonder why? Can I not allow myself to forget the practical and realistic and believe that what I’m seeing is truly magic and not just a skilled trick of the hand?!
I do, however believe in magic of a different kind.
This past summer I read a book that would make me believe in a new kind of magic, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”
by Marie Kondo. I have to admit that my initial attraction to the book was brought on by my love for order and tidiness in my home and life, however, this book offers SO much more than this. The clue to this should have been in the book’s title but before I delved in, I just assumed that it meant that once your house is in order, you magically feel proud and satisfied!
This is where I was wrong.
The book begins by explaining the author’s history of a life-long passion for organizing. Having grown up in Japan, where space is limited, keeping order in the house was essential. From a young age Marie Kondo tried every method of tidying only to find that sooner or later, things became cluttered again. She struggled with the why
of this for many years. Her passion to answer this question, led her to develop her own method, which she named “the Konmari Method”.
Let the magic begin.
One distinct difference to the Konmari method is that you tidy by category and not by room. For example, when dealing with your clothing you must gather all your clothing together in one spot. This means everything in your daily closet everything from the coat closet, the guest room closet (don’t pretend you don’t do this!) and out of season storage. This way you can see and deal with it all in one fell swoop! The next revolutionary step is to ask the million-dollar question…
Does this spark joy?
Rather than asking have I worn this in the last year, or does this fit well, the Konmari method asks you to touch each piece and ask “Does this spark joy?” asking out loud is even better! OK, I know it sounds a little funny at first, but trust me, you do get a feeling, and the more you touch things and the more you ask the question, the easier the answer comes to you.
Just this question alone has changed how I approach everything in my house and everything I have brought into my house since. This has extended to when I’m shopping. I ask myself this question and I hold everything I buy, from a set of measuring spoons to a pair of shoes, to a higher standard before making a decision as to whether they are coming home with me.
Thank you for your service.
If an item is headed to the “Discard” pile, you don’t just toss it on there, but first you must thank it. This could be “thank you for all the wear I’ve had out of you”, “thank you for making me look so good at parties”, “thank you for teaching me what doesn’t suit me” (for all those things worn once or with tags still on). You get the idea.
I got so excited about this whole method and powered through every category in my house. I donated bags upon bags to the local hospital thrift shop every week. When I was having a crazy productive day, I’d be there twice in one day! Many things also found their way into the trash and recycling and with every bag and trunk load that left the building the house breathed a little lighter. My husband never quite knew what he was coming home to every day and just kept saying, “I hope I’m not next!” :) That Randall!
There is a recommended order that you approach this whole process, (of course there is) beginning with clothing, books, papers, komono (miscellaneous e.g. makeup, kitchen items, spare change), sentimental items and photos. She starts you out with the easier categories and works up to the more difficult ones, by which time you’ve become a pro at asking the all important question.
Where does the magic come in?
Well, it’s not in the finished result of orderly drawers with space to spare and cleaner surfaces with less to dust. The true magic comes from looking at things in a deeper way, dealing with things you may have been avoiding and the emotions around them, and ultimately in letting go of things.
So often our “things” have many memories and emotions caught up in them. Some of these memories are good and some are sad or difficult. For me the hardest categories were papers (due to stacks of medical files), boxes of my mother’s belongings (who passed away 9 years ago), and let’s not forget the BIG bag of bras :) Well, Marie Kondo’s method helped me open up files and boxes and bags that had been “behind closed doors”, not necessarily cluttering my house but most definitely cluttering my mind. We often hold onto these items because of an attachment to our past, or a fear of the future.
Silence is golden.
These things no longer shout at me from inside a box or cupboard. I came face-to-face with them all and I touched them and read them, saved some, and parted with some and even turned some into my photography project “Cups of Prevention”
! Who would have ever thought?! Not me! So yes, it was a magical, life-changing, freeing experience and I am now a true believer in…
The life-changing magic of tidying up!
Do you have things that shout at you from behind closed doors? Are you ready to embark on a life-changing journey of “tidying up”? Or maybe you have some fabulous tips to share with all of us – we’d love to hear. Please share below.