New year, new goals! One of mine is to live a life with less: less “stuff,” less stress and less wondering how to work this year. It may not seem like a natural fit, but tidying has actually been a great start to fulfilling this goal.
I finally finished The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing* by Marie Kondo. The author created the KonMari method of tidying, which has proven to be long-lasting and effective in tidying not just your home, but your life as well. Let me tell you the key points of her method, to show you why they are different than simply tidying the house, then I’ll share how it has helped me clarify my life.
As a bonus, be sure to grab my free worksheet at the end! If you, like me, have a million money-making ideas, this worksheet will help you prioritize them.
Kondo made her living as a professional organizer for others. You could not make a living this way if you were not good at your job. In the book, she says that she has never had a repeat customer. Sounds pretty effective to me – worth a shot!
Why do you want to tidy?
Go through the mental exercise of finding out why you want to tidy. Act like the annoying child that constantly asks, “Why?” several times in a row.
My thought process went like this:
- Why do I want to tidy? Because I have a lot of stuff.
- Why do I have a lot of stuff? Because I hate getting rid of things.
- Why do I hate getting rid of things? Because I am unsure if I will need or want it in the future.
- Why am I unsure? Because I do not know what I want to be when I grow up. (Half joking)
- Why do I not know? Because I have a million ideas but cannot bring myself to actually focus and commit to one.
My unease about my career has led to a clutter-filled home, perpetuating my stalling. If I can make decisions, based on joy, about everything around me, I can bring that mindset into my freelance career.
Does it bring joy?
The first thing you should know is that this method is not for the faint of heart. You need to be ready to minimize your home, your stuff. The premise is that you only keep the items that bring joy to your life.
When I told my husband this, he said, “Well what about the stuff you need but don’t love? Like medicine?” I had no answer at the time, but after going through the process, my answer is this: for the items that are a necessity, you have to consider if they are a joy to use and if they are instrumental to bringing joy to your life.
Tidy by category, not room
Contrary to every other time I “go through my things,” the KonMari method has you through your house by category, not room. If your clothes are in three places, then go through the clothes in all three places before moving onto another category.
There is a prescribed order for going through the categories. You should go from least emotional to most. Muddy’s Bake Shop has a great summary you can download with the recommended order.
Consciously create a home for every item
As you put your things back in place, say to yourself, “This is your home.” Take a mental picture of what is where before you move on. This will not only help you remember where you put things, but it will also encourage you to return items to their homes rather than let them pile up somewhere else (*ahem, for me it is the dining room table).
Reduce clothing space
I have a tendency to keep clothes that are just meh for me. I spent the money so I should wear it, right? No. Yes, I should do a better job of shopping in the first place, but I should not just hang on to clothes I do not love wearing. The sunk-cost fallacy should not keep away my joy. Now that I have purged the closet, I have a better mindset for purchasing clothing.
The next point related to clothing is that you should store them in a tidy, compact way. Fold almost every item tightly to reduce wasted space and easily see which items you have available to you. It does take more time when doing laundry, but the ability to see my clothes each morning makes my heart happy. I do still have button-down shirts, dresses and skirts hanging in my closet, but I have made it much easier for myself to leaf through my options. Here is an illustrated guide to the folding techniques.
Donate and trash all of the items you discard quickly to avoid bringing anything back in. No tidier’s remorse, folks.
The Benefits of the KonMari Method
I create less of a mess on a daily basis. Instead of piling my things on the dining room table automatically, I take a few more seconds to put my things in their proper places.
It is also embarrassing to admit that during the tidying of my garage, I found a bag that I missed when unpacking…18 months ago. Among other things, I found a bag full of pens and markers that I had been searching for after we moved in.
Ready to tidy your life? Put the two-day project on your calendar, gather supplies (trash bags, boxes, etc.) and get rid of all distractions.
Tidy Your Ideas
Okay, now it is your turn! Take a weekend to really tidy your home. Believe me, it feels great. And the best part is that daily tidying and decision-making is easier afterward. If you, like me, have a million business ideas, tidy them up with our free Excel worksheet. Just sign up and download yours. Good luck!
*This post contains an affiliate link for the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying. As a bookworm, I only recommend the books I love. I hope you like it, too!