March 14, 2016

Living in a house rather than an apartment rocks for so many reasons. One of my very favorites is that here, compared to our one-window-rental-cave, we experience the seasons more fully. While still deep in winter, I read (and dislike myself for reading) Marie Kondo’s The Magic Art of Tidying Up. Where do I begin? I can start with saying it was compelling. The heart of her thoughts on tidying is that the single and central question for deciding to keep something is does it spark joy? 

Since using her method to go through some of our own belongings I more than once ran into the problem of not totally knowing what that means. A way to rephrase it more helpfully was do I love this? The motive for decluttering is to imagine having a house that only had things you love.

And then there are the moments when she is out of her mind. Like when she greets every home she declutters by kneeling in the center of the house and telling it her home address and introducing herself. Also, you should not ball your socks because it is mean.

So, disregarding all the pantheism, I liked the book and it inspired me to purge. She has very good commentary on why we do not need certain things we always thought we did (i.e: instruction manuals). My best take aways were:

  1. Focus on what you want to keep, not what you want to get rid of
  2. What if your house only had things you loved?
  3. Purge then organize. Do not organize as you go.
  4. Take everything off from the shelf, hanger, or out of its bin and touch every item when deciding if to keep it
  5. How fear of the future (will I need this one day?) and fear of the past (sentimentality) hinder decluttering

David and I have used her methods on both of our wardrobes and loved the feeling. We found there were lots of things we were keeping out of guilt because we spent money on it or had not used it enough to merit throwing it away. But, to just admit “I do not like this!” and throw it away felt lovely. There were many things we were keeping that did not (oh boy, I am going to say it) spark joy and it was freeing to get rid of them.

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  • “When you stand in front of a closet that has been reorganized so that the clothes rise to the right, you will feel your heart beat faster and the cells in your body buzz with energy.”

    I’m in the middle of this book right now, convinced it should be a pamphlet and also that some of these feelings aren’t universal, even if the advice is good.

    The on,y time the cells in my body buzz with energy is when I’ve had 3 cups of coffee before 9am.

    • Rachel Schultz

      If that actually happens then you should ONE HUNDRED PERCENT GO TO THE E.R.

  • Hannah S

    Oh I’m glad to see a mini review on the book! I haven’t purchased it because in skimming I couldn’t tell if it was too…weird? or not. But I might pick it up! I am 25 weeks pregnant and the urge to purge is starting to set in–maybe this would make it more productive lol!

    • Rachel Schultz

      I checked it out from the library because I did not want it enough to buy : )

  • Mary Margaret

    My gosh, I thought the same thing when I was reading this book – but our dresser drawers look so much nicer, even if I’m still balling my socks.

    • Rachel Schultz

      Haha, I tried rolling them, but that did not last long!

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