I’m pretty judicious about buying paper books now that my bookshelves have reached capacity (more on how to handle that another time!), but I was very glad to receive a copy of Marie Kondo’s phenomenally successful book, “the life-changing magic of tidying up – The Japanese art of decluttering and organizing” as a gift from my mom this past Christmas.
This book has caught on around the world with such fervor that recently Marie was included in Time Magazine’s list of the top 100 influential people. Jamie Lee Curtis, an inspiring woman herself, wrote a rave review of the KonMari approach calling it a “how to heave-ho”.
With its compelling and diminutive Japanese style, the book already achieved sales of over two million copies by late last year. I recently read the book and reviewed each concept in detail. I celebrate the attention Marie has brought to the act of getting organized and offer you these thoughts.
1. Honour your things
While Marie might take it to an extreme level of appreciation in thanking her accessories for working so hard to keep her beautiful each and every day, the concept of treating our possessions with respect, and consequently caring for them appropriately is worth adopting. I’m not sure the sweater at the bottom of a pile feels crushed by the weight of items above it, but if the pile is so high that the item is never used, or it is so messy that pieces are never seen, what is the point of keeping the item? Practicing mindful gratitude towards our things improves our relationship with them, moving them from mere commodities to treasures. And that’s a beautiful thing.
2. Let go before you organize
On this point, Marie and I clearly align. It can be exciting to go shopping for an organizing system with the rush of researching (yes, some people love this part of the process) and acquiring a solution. In the rush of the rush so-to-speak, it’s quite possible that the solution misses the mark completely.
It’s better to go through the liberation (see my Four Step P.L.A.N. To Get Organized™) of things that aren’t serving your life now, and invest only in storage and organizing accessories that help you access, use and protect the items you need. If liberating feels challenging, you might need to go back one step to get really clear on your priorities.
3. Get vertical
Marie recommends folding her socks and other garments and storing them vertically. I’ve done this for years and fully recommend it for a couple of reasons. First, it keeps socks visible, one of my three criteria to make sure you can easily use what you own. In addition, the elastic will stay in better shape, and the socks will take up less space in your drawer. If you don’t believe it, just give it a try. On top of that it can be faster to fold than ball up your socks. Be sure to divide your drawers into rows that are narrow enough to support socks using shoe boxes or drawer organizers – whichever you prefer.
4. Dial down visual noise
As someone who is keenly aware of their environment, another practice I heartily agree with is the removal of packaging from products. Whenever I can, and it won’t affect the safe use of a product, I peel labels off containers or decant products into those which are simpler, prettier or easier to use.I have bought matching containers of hand soaps and creams to use in the kitchen and bathroom instead of purchasing new pumps which are often expensive and fragile, or too tall. I’ve filled many a clear shoe box or bin, and subsequently lined the front with scrapbook paper to make it less busy to look at. If you feel like your things are shouting at you, take a look around and see what you can visually turn down.
Stay tuned for Part 2 – The Cons!
In the meantime, what was your favorite takeaway from the book?