I finished reading the life-changing magic of tidying up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing by Marie Kondo, and I can’t wait to put her ideas into action. Her book presents the idea of organizing as a way of ordering your life around what gives you joy. Too often, people become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of items they receive from others or buy for themselves. We keep them out of feelings of guilt or obligation towards ourselves or others. These feelings don’t change as we hold onto items; in fact, they can make us miserable. Kondo’s idea of keeping only what gives us joy now and thanking objects for serving us in the past is an excellent way to appreciate growth in our lives. We realize how much we have grown and are only left with what gives the present us joy. Her method of arranging also optimizes your ability to find things in your house (supposedly).
I already started doing and thinking about a few things in my home. However, she recommends discarding items in a specific order to keep the person from rebounding and recluttering their home. Her KonMari Method suggests discarding everything you don’t want in a specific section, organizing what is left, and keeping all similar objects in one place. That way, you always know what you have and if you are beginning to overstock on items again. Here are the categories and order in which she recommends decluttering:
- clothes that should be hung (jackets, coats, suits, etc.)
- bags (handbags, messenger bags, etc.)
- accessories (scarves, belts, hats, etc.)
- Clothes for specific events (swimsuits, kimonos, uniforms, etc.)
- Papers (receipts, stationary, etc.)
- Komono (miscellaneous items)
- Items with sentimental value
What I found odd about the book is she never mentions the issue of too much furniture. My mom’s family and my dad’s family have problems with hoarding, and one of the items people seem incapable of discarding is furniture. Instead, it is passed around the family until someone keeps it, if it ever leaves its original owner. While this can be a nice idea and a great way to recycle yet keep nice furniture “in the family,” I know we end up with too much furniture. My mom’s room alone has three armoires, one of which is mine, yet I haven’t really used it in years. I have yearbooks from almost every year I was in school, but I never look at them nor do I want them, but I’m afraid to get rid of them because my mom may ask why. Kondo offers suggestions for dealing with these sorts of issues, and I think most if not all of them are reasonable. For example, what do you do with your old checkbooks? I have a box of them, but I never look at them. They’re clutter and unnecessary. After I finish using it and balancing my statements, there is no point in keeping this extra paper in my home.
I’m classifying furniture as “komono” and working from there. My biggest issue will be if I can’t sell some of the more expensive items I don’t want or need anymore. I think those will be the hardest to give away. Wish me luck!