The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: Part 1

Well, Neighbors, Amanda is busy teaching rich and famous people how to love and train their children, so I’ll fill the blog this week with a fun series about magic! Ok, not magic exactly, but something like it.

Welcome to a three-part series on a book that has totally and completely changed my life. As you know, I love to read. I read a lot of books and many of them change my life in one way or another. But this book. This book has totally and completely changed the way I live revolutionized my entire life. I’m not being dramatic here, either. This book is actually magic.

22318578A few weeks ago, I wrote a note to myself in my journal/to do list/book of ideas that it was time for me to go through my many boxes of mementos. I knew that it was time to sort through my photos, my journals, the photos I salvaged from my dad’s house after he died and the many unnecessary letters, keepsakes and nick-nacks I have kept for years. A week after I wrote that note on my to-do list, this book became available to me at the library (I had requested it earlier). I’m a bit of a bandwagoner and although I’d read nothing about this book, I’d seen it many places and heard that it was good (that’s really all it takes for me to read a book…).

I read the book through in three days, closed the cover, started again and immediately ordered a copy for myself from Amazon. It had so much of an impact and I didn’t want to let it go until I’d seen the magic for myself. I’ve said to people since I read it, “It’s so good, it’s cultish.” As in, it’s totally black and white and you either do it or you don’t. Drink the Koolaid or don’t. Tidy up or don’t. Go to Jonestown or don’t.

Anyway, in Part 1, I am going to give you the very basics of the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up (also called Kon Mari method). You can read this information anywhere on the web (or read the book yourself, which I obviously recommend) but since I will be sharing the personal impact, I want you to have the basics of Kon Mari right here in black and white.

Here are Marie Kondo’s tips for tidying up:

  • Keep only the things that bring you joy
    • “Take each item in one hand and ask: “Does this spark joy?” If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it.”
  • Decide what to keep, not what to get rid ofSlide81
  • Sort by category, not by room
    • “When we disperse storage of a particular item throughout the house and tidy one place at a time, we can never grasp the overall volume and therefore can never finish.” i.e. paper clips, pencils, crayons….
  • Finish discarding first
    • “Do not even think of putting your things away until you have finished the process of discarding”
    • “But when we really delve into the reasons for why we can’t let something go, there are only two: an attachment to the past or a fear for the future.”
  • This is a one and done procedure; no more daily/weekly tidying
    • “If you tidy up in one shot, rather than little by little, you can dramatically change your mindset.”
    • “People can’t change their habits without first changing their way of thinking.”
  • File, don’t pile things
    • “When we pile our clothes one on top of the other, the clothes at the bottom are used less and less frequently.”


  • Storage is a booby trap
    • “Store all items of the same type in the same place and don’t scatter storage space”
  • The last category you should sort through is mementos
    • “By handling each sentimental item and deciding what to discard, you process your past“.Slide10

As you can tell by the last bullet point, this book is obviously a timely gift. I knew I needed to process my past as part of my journey, and since the magic has entered my life, I will soon be doing just that.

Regarding my own house… In Part 2, I will tell you what I have completed in the 14 days since I read this book. However, I will not show you photos of my old space. I was so eager to do this, I literally took no photos. I kept thinking I should take a “before” picture since I knew I would be blogging about this. But I never did, I was so excited to just get to it (by category of course!). If you want to see before and after photos, the internet is full of them. Just Google it or search Pinterest. There is no shortage of information or images on this topic.

If you want to know what my house looked like before, I’ll tell you this, I have always been an organized person. I’ve always tried my best to have a neat and orderly space, to put things away. I loved baskets, boxes and other clever storage things. No one who came in my house would say it was cluttered or messy. I’ve always loved throwing things away and keeping things in their rightful places and I never kept what I felt was unnecessary.  I did all the stuff we all try our best to do to not live in total chaos. So, if you want to see my house before Kon-Mari, maybe just look around your own house. It’s probably about the same. If you are doing your best, but can’t seem to keep up, then that was me.

Until next time, when I reveal the magic!

5 thoughts on “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: Part 1

  1. Pingback: Day 1: a post about the power of a fresh start | notes from the neighborhood

  2. Pingback: Top 10 Books of 2015 | notes from the neighborhood

  3. Pingback: Home Office Organization - Shabby Alpaca

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