I have an unhealthy relationship with housework. Sometimes it is my greatest pleasure, while other times it is my worst nightmare. Despite my reputation for sequined lunacy, deep down, I am very orderly person. Nothing makes me more happy than walking into an environment where I know where everything is. That doesn’t mean it needs to be perfect or minimal, it just needs to be in order. I’ll bet a lot of messy people are like this — we love the feeling of an orderly space but we don’t always know how to get there. Well, my friends. This book might just be the answer.
Have you heard about this book? Images of Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing started popping up all over my Instagram just after Christmas with the term “holy balls” attached in alarming frequency. Of course, I bought it immediately. Just like I bought the 30 other home keeping and organizing books on my bookshelf. I’m like that friend everyone has who compulsively buys cookbooks but rarely cooks outside the microwave. It just makes me feel better.
Well folks, that hype? It’s real. This little Japanese woman Marie Kondo is no slouch. The book is a long-term strategy, not a quick fix, but only 30 pages in you are going to start itching to clear out your cupboards. AND. Get this: she vehemently discourages you from going out and buying organizing supplies or hanging hanger things. Ever. All she gets you to do is examine the quality of every object in your surroundings and ask yourself one question; “Does it bring you joy?”
So simple, right? Doesn’t sound like much. But, honestly, after this book you’ll understand. When you pick up an object and ask yourself that question, if you cannot feel it in your gut, it’s time to move on. Thank the object for its time and service to you, then put it in a box to donate so that it can be of joy to someone else. Set the bird free!
Warning: If you buy this book, and you are serious about it, I suggest you clear yourself a weekend or at least a single day. Maybe a Saturday. Maybe read the first couple chapters of the book Friday night, then start work early Saturday. Her methodology will walk you through books, then clothes, and so on. She’s very particular about that. I’m making this sound easy but really it’s an in-depth boot camp. Even as a single-person-household, there is no way I could do my whole place in a single weekend, so I can only imagine how long it would take someone with a whole house. This is one elephant you have to eat one bite at a time. The good news is, once that elephant is good and gone, Marie promises zero upkeep. You just have to do the whole house properly one time and in the process your mindset for acquisition (ahem, hashtag: hoarders) will change drastically.
Confession: I ignore the rules and went about it backwards and started with my junk drawer with plans to do one small project a day, as that’s what most professional organizers will tell you to do. My mistake, but also my win. A normal clean out would mean getting rid of maybe 30% of the contents in that junk drawer. This time I got rid of 90%. Maybe more.
It felt incredible.
After the junk drawer I moved on to other areas. I have probably taken 15 bags of stuff to Goodwill, and don’t even ask what ended up in the recycling bin. Problem is, I fell off the wagon the last couple of weeks, which, Mary said would likely happen if I didn’t follow her *exact* method the first time (which I didn’t). So now I’m forcing myself to let things pile up, read it fresh from cover-to-cover and start again, this time, I’m doing it properly.