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4 Lessons from the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Do you long for a clutter-free home?

You and me both! This longing is behind the success of a little book that makes big promises.

Looking to declutter your home? The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up is THE book to help you declutter. Come and read my top 4 lessons and learn about this book that everyone's talking about.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo, has been taking the organizing world by storm. (Disclosure: Affiliate links are present.) The author is a Japanese woman who’s spent her life in pursuit of the perfect organizing and decluttering (she uses the word “tidying”) methods. She calls her collective techniques “KonMari.”

After you read this book, you might actually find yourself forever changed.

Looking to declutter your home? The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up is THE book to help you declutter. Come and read my top 4 lessons and learn about this book that everyone's talking about.

The basic KonMari principles are:

1. Keep only things that spark joy in your life.

That lovely blue platter in my glass hutch? Tons of joy there! The old vintage piano? Absolutely! The mess of binders stashed in a bin? Not so much. They need to be tidied.

Looking to declutter your home? The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up is THE book to help you declutter. Come and read my top 4 lessons and learn about this book that everyone's talking about.
This piano easily sparks joy for me – no need to declutter this baby!

2. Declutter only one type of item at a time and not by location in your home.

For instance, declutter and organize ALL your books at once. It’s tempting to tidy room by room, but Kondo cautions that this is a mistake. If you don’t tidy ALL your clothing at the same time, you’ll forever be tidying clothing.

3. Realize that “someday” never comes.

It’s very easy to use the excuse that you “might’ (one of the 3 most dangerous words for decluttering) need an item someday. But in the meantime, you’re holding on to all those someday things at a cost. You may be better off letting them go.

4. As you declutter, pick up every item individually.

You’ll know which things you want to keep and which really don’t spark joy for you. This happened to me quite naturally as I decluttered my closet.

5. Don’t KonMari other people’s possessions.

This includes children, spouses and other family members. Likely you’ll have plenty of your own things to tidy. Plus, your successes may inspire family members to follow suit.

6. Treat the things that remain with respect.

The author goes so far as to thank her possessions for their service to her. Even if you don’t subscribe to this Japanese custom, you can still be mindful in how you manage your belongings. Do this by making sure they’re well taken care of and that you have a place for everything you own.

Want some decluttering inspiration?

Instagram is overflowing with before and after photos of peoples’ KonMari projects. This tidying – it’s addictive, people, and it’s making a huge difference in people’s homes. After all, who could argue with the goal to keep only the things that spark joy in your life?

Looking to declutter your home? The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up is THE book to help you declutter. Come and read my top 4 lessons and learn about this book that everyone's talking about.

I’m still at the beginning of my own KonMari journey.

Clearly I’ve got a lot to declutter. Ahem. But I’m having fun and making progress. That’s a good thing, right?

As I’ve been tidying, I’ve learned some important lessons. Why is it that as you get older, you only feel like there’s so much more to learn? Sigh.

Here are 4 things I learned from the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

1. Things that once sparked joy may now be things I don’t need. What to do in these cases? Marie Kondo recommends thanking these objects for their service and passing them on. While I’m not thanking inanimate objects, it has really helped me to realize that once something has served it’s purpose, I can be grateful and still pass it on. Here are some tips for decluttering sentimental items.

2. Having a place for everything is a Really Big Deal! Every clutter hotspot in my home is really due to things piling up that don’t have a good place to be stored.

3. I disagree with her advice on folding clothing. I just don’t care about my socks that much to lovingly fold them and deposit them in a drawer. This is one of the homemaking “rules” that I frequently break.

4. Marie states that you can tidy once and be done. This is enormously motivating when you’re reading the book – if I can just get through this tidying, I’ll NEVER have to do it again! Unfortunately, it hasn’t been the case for me. Maybe we just have too many people and too many things. Or maybe it’s having kids who aren’t on the same page. Or maybe I just haven’t devoted enough time to do it “properly.” Maybe because I’m not a single Japanese woman living in a tiny apartment. Regardless, for now my tidying is an on-going activity.

Looking to declutter your home? The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up is THE book to help you declutter. Come and read my top 4 lessons and learn about this book that everyone's talking about.
These shelves need some serious tidying.

What to declutter next?

My kitchen has just been reorganized and my wardrobe is completely updated. I think that means it’s time to address the home office, paperwork and bookshelves (picture above). I’ll let post an update soon to let you know how it goes.

You can get The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up at Amazon. I recommend the Kindle version so as to not create more clutter.

In the meantime, I want to know: do you have one area of your house or your life that is free of clutter?

Leave me a comment or tag me on Instagram (@earlybirdmom). I’d love to see your results.

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17 thoughts on “4 Lessons from the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”

  1. I read this book back in the spring while pregnant…not a great idea! The combination of my nesting instincts and inspiration from this book took our home on a whirlwind decluttering spree.

    I agree that some of her ideas are a little far fetched for the average person. I’m doing good if I get socks matched, let alone lovingly fold them! And what mother on the face of the planet empties her purse every time she comes home!? If I can keep the sippy cups and receipts at bay, I consider it a win for the day!

    Great post! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  2. I too am acting upon the advice from this book. I just have one room to go! It feels great. In the new year I will start to go through our photos and create albums and then sort through Jack’s baby items and his homeschooling projects. These are all very sentimental so I have left them to last. Thank you for the encouragement Sarah. 🙂

    Reply
  3. I was on the hold list for this book for months. I just got it and am excited to jump in! However, I’m also a little nervous. I am not sure that I have the time during the holidays to do some serious, extensive tidying. Hopefully a little bit will help!

    Reply
  4. I have a small second living area that is free of clutter. I call it my music room and it’s my sanctuary – just my piano, a small cabinet for my music and a lounge suite. I deliberately have no coffee table – that would be just another surface to clean! It means I can walk in at any time and just relax, not having to spot something that needs to be cleared away.

    Reply
  5. I’ve seen this book. Recently I threw away half of my closet of clothes. So liberating! Now everything I have fits and looks good on me. Thanks for linking up to Merry Monday! Pinned! Have a great week!
    Kim

    Reply
  6. I’ve seen this book around and heard people raving about it–people that I know won’t actually tidy anything. While I’m sure there’s some great advice in there, I think it’s refreshing to hear that you do disagree with some of the tips. Thanks so much for sharing. (That piano is beautiful, btw)

    Reply
  7. Tidying up never happens in a home where each one of them has different definitions for it. If you ask which room is clutter free in our home, it is our living room that too only when friends or guests come. It gets cleaned within ten minutes with all of the unwanted stuffs piled up somewhere in the house which needs to be cleaned later 😉 Usual hubby does the first part and I do the later part 😛 Thank you for sharing with us at #HomeMattersParty . We would love to have you again next week.

    Reply
  8. It works. I did it this past summer. The hardest part was dealing with the sentimental items from my daughters when they were young (drawings, cards, notes, crafts, etc.); but when you put all of them in one room, you can choose which ones are your very favorites. I limited myself to one filebox from each daughter and I packed it well; but now I can go in and pull out the “J” box or the “L” box and take a trip down memory lane and then put the box back in its place.

    I’m sold on the Marie Kondo process.

    Reply

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Welcome. I’m Sarah!

 
Sarah

I’m the creator of Decluttering School (formerly known as Early Bird Mom), lover of organized spaces, encourager to women and mom to four boys. Click here to read more!

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