I often hear people refer to themselves in a joking way as “OCD” when it comes to cleaning and having a tidy home. They can’t handle a cluttered messy house or anything out of place. Even a crooked window curtain will drive them nuts. I can honestly say that I don’t have that problem. I almost wish I did because then my house might actually be clean and tidy at all times. In reality my theory is that our homes are for living and relaxing and there are much more fun and important things to worry about that making sure all the towels in the closet are folded and lined up perfectly and that the counter tops are spotless. For some people tidying and cleaning come natural but for people like me it’s a constant struggle to get control over the mountains of laundry and dishes.
I heard about Marie Kondo’s book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying from a few different blogs online. Marie is the world’s number 1 expert on cleaning and organizing. She is Japanese and has devoted her entire life from the time she was a small child to tidying. As a child, Marie would stay inside the classroom during lunch to organize her desk and spent hours and hours organizing every nook and cranny in her family’s home. After years of helping people learn to tidy up their lives the solution she developed to help to anyone with a clutter problem is quite simple. Take each object in your hands and ask yourself “Does this spark joy?” If the answer is no then you must get rid of the object. While this may seem extreme I actually found it works quite well. Her method has you starting with your clothing, then books and magazines, papers, then miscellaneous items and finally mementos like old photos and cards.
I went through my house in order of the categories and got rid of SO MUCH STUFF. It’s really amazing how much we hold onto that we don’t particularly like but we save it because we feel guilty that we spent money on it or have the illusion that someday we will read those books or start that craft project. Well, as Marie says in the book “someday” will never come so if it doesn’t spark joy then get rid of it!
Although I find her method to be quite effective I do have a couple criticisms. If you live with a partner or children who love to collect things you can’t just throw out their stuff because It doesn’t spark joy for you. So even though you may perfect the act of tidying and riding yourself of anything that doesn’t spark joy, you may still have a moderately cluttered home.
My second criticism is that there are always going to be items in the home that will never spark joy. Like toilet paper for example. When I look at my roll of toilet paper and hold it in my hands it will never bring me joy. Perhaps this means I am not using the right brand of T.P. but I doubt it. I will probably never find a brand of toilet paper that brings me happiness at the mere sight of it but I still have to keep the giant Costco case of bum wipe stored in bathroom closet anyways. So be it.
The Life Changing Magic of Tidying is definitely a must read for anyone who wants to get a grip on their hording tendencies, I truly can’t recommend this book enough. I promise you upon completion of reading this book the urge to purge will be strong and you will be motivated to start donating and dumping things out. A final tip: Purchase the ebook or kindle version so you have one less item of clutter in your home.