Recently I moved into a new apartment. Determined to start fresh, I picked up a copy of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese Art ofDecluttering and Organizing. It has made a huge difference in my life. This slim volume by Marie Kondo is part instruction manual, part self-help book.
It sounds embarrassingly new age and whimsical but the whole book is built around the idea that you need to get rid of everything in your household that does not spark joy. How do you know if something sparks joy? Kondo insists that you have to pick the item up and actually hold it in your hands. Your body’s reaction will tell you if the item sparks joy. Kondo says her method is effective because you are following your gut reaction and not trying to rationalize whether or not to keep something. If you stop to think about it, you will almost always find some reason to keep the item. You haven’t worn that shirt in six months and it has a stain on it. It is tempting to believe that you might still wear that shirt to lounge around the house. Marie Kondo says to get rid of it.
Her technique involves collecting all the items in the same category (like clothes or books) and dumping them on the floor in one pile. By seeing all your clothes in one heap, you get an accurate idea of how much you really have and are not wearing. This is a little weird but Marie Kondo also says you should thank the items that you are getting rid of for their service. At the very least, that ugly sweater you got from your grandma taught you what your style isn’t.
Beyond throwing out things that don’t spark joy, Kondo offers many other tips that make the book worth reading. I recommend checking it out. I personally got rid of over ten garbage bags of stuff from my one bedroom apartment.
Be warned: Tidying up your household leads to tidying up the rest of your life. The less cluttered your home is the more clarity you have in the rest of your life.