By now you’ve probably heard of the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, right? It’s basically a guide to decluttering written by Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo. I was seeing it again and again in my Instagram feed and heard it mentioned in a few of my favorite podcasts. The more I heard, the more it sounded like people loved it and truly found it life-changing or they just didn’t get it and couldn’t get through.
I became obsessed with knowing which camp I fell into.
At first, I had a sort of love-hate relationship with the book. The kind where sometimes you’re all nods and warm fuzzy “hell yeahs!” and the next you’re envisioning yourself throwing your Nook directly at your window because watching the glass shatter would bring you so much more joy than reading one more sentence (Kondo’s whole method of decluttering centers around holding something in your hands and deciding whether or not it brings you joy).
But then it started to sink in a little. To sort of melt into the folds of my brain and really make me think. This book isn’t just about cleaning. It’s about life. It’s about consciously choosing joy every single time you make a decision. That’s where the whole “life-changing magic” comes in.
As much as I can’t imagine myself wandering around my house thanking my belongings for serving me or folding my socks differently in hopes that it will make them happier, there is something to be taken away from each of these things—and from the book as a whole.
1) Choose joy. Always. There is no reason to hold on to things (or people or situations) that make you miserable. If it doesn’t make you happy, just get rid of it.
2) Practice gratitude. While I don’t think you need to sit there and thank your dish towel for being of such great service to you this morning, I do think there is something to be said for sitting down and consciously thinking of things in your life that you’re thankful for. An increase in warm, fuzzy feelings can only lead to happiness and isn’t that what we’re all looking for?
3) Messiness clutters your mind. It’s an easy statement to brush off with a roll of your eyes, but it’s so true. How often have you started cleaning like a lunatic when life is stressful? And how often have you let out a nice, deep sigh of relief once you’ve tackled a mess? Even if cleaning isn’t something that you enjoy, a tidy space with everything filed away in its proper spot, clears up space in your mind.
While I had a few moments of hardcore WTF?! and was slightly annoyed by its repetitiveness, this book definitely inspired me to start clearing out things that I never use. I’ve already donated a few bags of clothes and am trying to slowly tackle one room at a time. I truly agree that being surrounded by things you have no use for or that you’re holding on to because you feel some strange obligation does nothing but weigh you down. And I for one would like to remove the unnecessary weight.