Japanese cleaning consultant, Marie Kondo, is world-famous thanks to her bestseller book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” that has been published in more than 30 countries. Kondo claims that it’s better to have one giant clean-up instead of attempting to organize things on a daily basis.
According to Kondo, efficient tidying up includes two steps:
1) Discarding useless stuff; and,
2) Finding a place to store things that you actually need.
Don’t even think of a place to put the items you need before you get rid of all the junk. Decluttering should always come first!
Step 1. Discarding useless stuff:
- Throw away all the clutter with one sweep
It’s usually easier to part with stuff that is not functional anymore (for example, if it is broken, old or outmoded). On the other hand, there are a lot of things that you don’t need. Kondo advises against discarding ’’things you haven’t used for the whole year’’ or ’’putting this stuff in a box so that you can think of it later’’. Those methods don’t work. What’s the best way to decide what to keep and what to throw away? Try holding every item in your hands and then ask yourself: ’’Does this give me joy?’’ If it does, keep it. If it doesn’t, let it go.
- Category-by-category system
Instead of a room-by-room approach (’’today I’ll clean the kitchen and tomorrow I’ll do the living room’’) try using the category-by-category system (’’today I’ll do my clothes, tomorrow I’ll get on to books’’). Before trying to decide what to keep and what to discard, collect all of the items of one category in one place. ’’It’s crucial to collect everything in one place because it will show you exactly how much stuff you own. Most people are shocked to see a pile of things that often appears twice as big as they thought it would be’’ explains Marie.
Start the cleaning process with items that are easier to dispose of like clothes, books, documents, ’’miscellanea’’ (CD, DVD, makeup, accessories, home appliances, writing utensils, house supplies, etc.) Only when you’re done with miscellanea, should you deal with ’’sentimental’’ items and memorable gifts.
- Don’t let your relatives interfere
Kondo advises against showing your parents and other family members the things you are about to throw away: ’’There is nothing bad in tidying up. However, it’s very stressful for parents to see what their kids are discarding. The size of a junk pile might seem alarming to your parents and it can make them think that their children won’t be able to survive with what is left after such a clean-up.’’
- Don’t make useless clothes your leisure wear
Instead of throwing away items you never wear, do you keep those things to wear ’’at home’’? Don’t do this! You will not ’’relax’’ wearing those at home. Time spent at home is a precious part of our lives. It shouldn’t be valued less because no one is looking. So starting today you should break this habit of ’’degrading’’ apparel you are not exactly in love with by relegating them into home attire. Donate them!
- Parting with useless souvenirs
Are you unable to throw away presents that were bought for you by those near and dear to your heart? Too sentimental? We’ve all been there. ’’The main purpose of a present is to be received. Presents are not ’’things’’, they are means of communicating our feelings’’, says Kando. If you look at your task from this point of view, you won’t have to feel remorse for throwing away someone’s gift. Just thank that person for the happiness that present brought to you.
Step 2. Wise storing
- How to store your stuff wisely
All of the items from one category should be stored in one place, very close to each other.
As soon as your sort your stuff correctly, you’ll have the perfect amount of items to fit into an available space. If your goal is to always have free space, then you need to keep all of your belongings handy in a way that would allow you to see all of them at a glance.
- The main secret is vertical storing
The revolutionary discovery of Marie Kondo is storing things upright, not in piles. This principle is applicable not only to books, documents and papers but also to clothes. It’s essential to learn how to fold your clothes correctly, in a simple, smooth rectangle. Then you can always roll them and put them upright into a drawer, same way they do with towels in IKEA catalogues. This storage system provides the most comprehensive view, allowing you to easily see items and grab one if needed without disturbing the others. Kondo recommends that you hang things on rails, starting from left to right. It’s helpful as well to arrange them in color from dark to light.
- The best storing device is a shoe-box
- Tidy house = tidy life
Marie Kondo says that putting a house in order helps you to put your affairs and your past in order as well. After you deal with your “material” stuff, your goals and aspirations become clearer and you can finally discard the unessential in life.
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