Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up By Marie Kondo
Jumping on the Marie Kondo Bandwagon
Six Basic Rules of Tidying
Eliminate the “Un-Joy”
Once you’ve eliminated clothes you don’t wear, you can move onto the other areas of your home, and Kondo suggests books next. I rarely reread a book, except for a few special titles that I will always keep with me. Kondo believes: “Once read, a book has already been ‘experienced.’ Even if you don’t remember the content completely, you have already internalized it,” (125). So I suggest that unless it is an absolute favorite that you treasure having in your home, pass on a book once you’ve read it. Give it to a friend who you think might enjoy it or sell it at a used bookstore for some extra cash or credit.
Next up in the tidying order is paper, which Kondo believes you can part with completely. I suggest instead sorting papers into items you need to keep long term vs. things you need on hand currently. Long term papers are items such as birth certificates, diplomas, legal documents, etc. that you need to keep inevitably, but rarely need to access. Those are best stored in a clearly labeled box in a safe place, but out of your daily reach. Then make an action box for current papers that come in, and deal with them weekly. Try to digitize everything else: bills, credit card statements, correspondence, etc. Just make sure you back up your computer regularly.
Organizing your miscellaneous items, what Kondo calls Komono, focuses on all the other details in your home such as decorative items, sports gear, hobby supplies, etc. As you go through this category, try to make your space generally more joyful by eliminating visual clutter as well as the clutter in your drawers and closets. Remove labels and text anywhere you can, only have a few favorite decorative items and pieces of art displayed, and keep your surfaces clear. This will help to make the tidying process go beyond your storage areas to make your whole home feel like a haven.
The final category is sentimental items, which are perhaps the hardest to part with. Warning: Do not get lured into watching home movies and laughing over photos for hours while you are supposed to be tidying. Keep your focus, and only keep items that you will enjoy looking at again and again. By the time you have gotten to this category, you have practiced making easier decisions, and you can use that skill you have been developing here on the harder decisions. Trust yourself that you know what is special to keep, and let yourself part with the things that you are holding onto for reasons such as guilt or obligation. Don’t keep something because it was a gift, unless you love it. Don’t keep something that belonged to a family member or friend unless it brings you joyful memories of them when you see it or use it.
Throughout your tidying process if you find yourself afraid of getting rid of too many things, that’s a normal feeling, but it is unlikely to happen. Also, as Kondo reminds us, we can always replace an item if we really need it: “Of course, if I need something badly, I will buy another, but having come this far, I can no longer buy something just to make do. Instead, I consider the design, the feel, the convenience, and every other factor important to me extremely carefully until I find one that I really love. And that means that the one I choose is the very best, something that I will cherish all my life” (20). For more information about being a cautious consumer, check out my blog post here.