A Review: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo

 

A review of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

Just a little update on my hoard for ya.

Things were going o.k. for awhile - and then we started remodeling our house. And then my Mom died. And then we moved. Remodeling, death, and moving - that's like the TRIFECTA of unwanted stuff raining down into your space. The only thing worse than a bunch of stuff you need to sort through and get rid of is a bunch of stuff that is covered with 200 year-old plaster dust. Seriously.

My intention for the move to Colorado was to bring only the items that I loved. I would donate or sell everything I didn't want in my beautiful new apartment so that I could focus on mountain hikes and eating out at expensive restaurants. And then...I reached the point during packing that pretty much everyone does. The point where you say, "F*ck it. It all goes on the truck. I'll deal with it when I get there."

And that's pretty much where I'm at right now. Dealing with the aftermath of that mentality. Now, on the positive side? The mover made a comment that at 3,000 pounds, we were "light" for two married people. Maybe.

But when I heard good things about Marie Kondo's book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I downloaded that book right away. So this is also a book review. Not just a hoard review.

Kondo's toughest assignment is to sort by category, asking each item if it brings you joy. Like, she wants you to lay out every piece of clothing you own on the floor so that you can see what you own. And when you can see every piece of clothing you own in front of you, you have to question your relationship with it. If it doesn't bring you joy, it goes in the garbage or gets donated. If it gets sent away, you need to send it away with gratitude. There's more to this process than I can capture here, but I won't spoil it for you. You need to read the book.

And you need to quit dissing your socks. No, really. Kondo says,

"Have you ever had the experience where you thought what you were doing was a good thing but later learned that it hurt someone? At the time, you were totally unconcerned, oblivious to the other person's feelings. This is somewhat similar to the way many of us treat our socks."

Your sucks HURT emotionally when you roll them into balls. According to Marie Kondo.

It's funny to read, in its way, but what she's really talking about is our relationship to what we own and what that relationship means in the context of our lives. It's the meaning of the stuff that makes it so complicated. How many pictures of my mother do I need to save? What does it say if I discard a gift that someone chose for me? The answers to these questions are in this book. Or at least a helpful process for moving toward those answers. And there's a great chapter on the seductive nature of organization products and how to break up with them.

Probably my most immediate takeaway from Kondo's book is the section on sorting papers. There's a small list of things you need to keep - in my case, tax paperwork as I'm self-employed - but everything else? Kondo says pitch it. Chuck it. Throw it away. An instant cure for the stack of appliance manuals I had on my table. I thought the buyer of our Virginia house should have them, but I never quite got them in the mail to the realtor's office. Yesterday, I picked them all up and threw them in the garbage. Google it, dude.

I'm thinking seriously about dropping my grandma's dishes at the thrift store. For real, this time.

Good book. I recommend it. And I recommend it with a bottle of Apathy Anti-Bad-Mood Spray - to refresh your mind and your space while you sort.

--Heidi

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Gretchen Rubin's Happiness Projects: Happier at Home in 21 Days or Less?

It's hard to disturb Kiki and White Kitty just to make the bed.

 

I've never read a book by Gretchen Rubin and yet...I love everything she has to say. She is a master at sharing helpful content on the Internet. You really must visit her website or subscribe to her monthly emails.

I started making my bed each day after Gretchen Rubin advised that making your bed was [oddly] linked to happiness. I did make my bed, but only if it didn't disturb the kitties snuggled up in the blankets.

So, following Rubin's advice, I started making the bed religiously. In spite of the kitties. And making the bed often extended into a quick tidy of the bedroom in general. (Which, by the way, involves a quick spray of Apathy aromatherapy spray to clean the air.) And when I come in to a calm, clean bedroom at the end of the day...I find I AM happier. Oddly enough.

Gretchen Rubin has a new series of "21 Day Projects" to help you find more happiness at home. There's one on de-cluttering; one to help you stop yelling at your kids; one to improve your relationship; and the one I'm going to try - "Getting to Know Yourself Better." Seems so relevant as I process the artifacts of my past lives and try to figure out what happens next. Each program is $4.99 - but the relationship series is free.

If you sign up for one, let me know. Maybe we can digest and share our findings by email?

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Museum of Broken Relationships? IN MY HOUSE.

Museum of Broken Relationships in Croatia

 

If only I'd known about the Museum of Broken Relationships when I started this whole decluttering thing. Perhaps we -- me and the Museum of Broken Relationships, that is -- could have worked out some kind of arrangement. An arrangement that included the installation of a giant, trans-Atlantic, pneumatic tube where I could shove all the crap I collected during my last relationship.Or maybe we could just borrow the tube Michael Kors uses to pump all his clothing straight from the factory to TJ Maxx. Either way...in my imagination...my crap emerges from the other side of the tube as a meaningful story rather than the hand-wringing, misery inducing tale that it has become.

Because let's face it. I don't need a magic tube. I've got a Museum of Broken Relationships RIGHT HERE IN MY HOUSE, baby. There's a shirt in the bottom drawer of my dresser that reminds me of a horrible argument every time I see it. I have to get rid of it. Even though it cost me $250.

And the photos. What am I supposed to do with the photos? Especially from the relationships that evolved into peaceful friendships. You know. The I don't hate you/I enjoyed our vacation/but we're both happily married to other people/so what am I supposed to do with all those holiday snaps? That.

It's been all about Passive-Aggressive Anti Bad Mood Sprays this week. Trust me. But I'm nearly there. One more room and I'm finished. In the meantime,here's a three minute story from NPR about the Museum of Broken Relationships for you to listen to when you have a moment.

What did you do with your Ex's stuff?

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