I’m someone who a high tolerance for dust bunnies and messes.  But I’ve read a lot of books and articles on the importance of keeping a home and workspace clean and clutter free.  Among other reasons why I’m wanting to get more organized; studies have shown a serene space can actually improve your well-being and make you more productive.  I’ve made bits of progress along the way but now I feel more motivated than ever.  It’s all because of a book I recently read called "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” by Marie Kondo.

The author says we simply have too much stuff and being surrounded by it is stressing us out!  She advocates a full-day purge and reorganization that, if done correctly, will limit the amount of tidying we’ll have to do in the future.  She wants us all to get to a stage of putting things back in easy to reach places so that our homes and offices are just naturally always tidy.  If we get into these good habits of returning things to where they belong we’ll have an easy time keeping our spaces beautiful.  And we’ll feel better as a result; clearer, more peaceful, and more productive.

Here’s what I loved about the book:  it’s an easy read.  It feels like the author is a smart friend talking directly to you.  She has a bit of a tough love style which can be helpful when, like me, you have a whole drawer full of user manuals you never look at because a) you no longer have the thing (old VCR, old answering machine, etc.) or b) you prefer to find the manuals online.  She tells us to just get rid of all those paper manuals.  Don't think twice.  Just dump them.

I love how practical her advice is.  And how encouraging she is.  She says if you don’t need it anymore, thank it for its service and discard it, guilt-free.  She says its best to purge by category, not by room.  For example if you have shirts and sweaters in your main closet, and some in a guest room closet, and some tops in an “off season” bin, collect them all and put them on the floor all at one time.  She then says you should lift each piece up, one at a time, and see how it feels to you.  If it makes you happy, keep it.  If it doesn't, toss it.

What I didn’t love about the book:  it’s all a bit “out there” when she talks about how bras have souls and how we are abusing our tights and pantyhose by tying them up and keeping them in a corner of a drawer.  It's a bit strange to think about our clothes as having feelings.  But if you can overlook what seems a bit far-fetched, you can really get some great advice.

Her recommendation is that we follow the KonMari method in this order:  clothing, books, papers, miscellany, and sentimental items.   She wants us to purge with blinders on, not allowing ourselves to get caught up in reminiscing.  When going through memorabilia, don’t stop to look at each photo.  Don’t read each letter.  That can happen another day after you purge what you need to get rid of, and organize the rest so it brings you joy and inspires you every day.

Tomorrow, I'll write about my first attempt at using Kondo's method of decluttering.