The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Part 1: Introduction

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The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing


I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating: You can’t live a life that is congruent with your values if you are surrounded by clutter. I truly believe that simple living begins with your environment. A cluttered home = a cluttered mind. Clearing the clutter allows you to see your life more clearly, and live in a way that you are not a slave to your house. Having only the things you use and love opens up an abundance of opportunity and gives you a clear sense of direction in your life. I also believe in the principles of feng shui, in that in order for new opportunities to come into your life, you need to create space for them. If all your space is filled with objects, there is no room for joyful things to enter your life – whether physical things, or experiences.

I’ve just started reading this awesome little book, called “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing”. The premise is that you go through your entire house, and keep only the items that “spark joy”. The biggest difference with Marie Kondo’s approach, is that rather than go through your house room-by-room, which is what most organizing experts tell you to do, she tells you to delutter by category. She walks you through each category, telling you step by step exactly how to approach it. You find ALL the items from that category and put them in a big pile. This may seem unnecessary, but the point of it is to get a strong sense of just HOW MUCH you have from that category. ie) You would take ALL the clothing out of your closet and dresser and anywhere else it might be lurking in your house and add it to the pile. If this seems overwhelming, you CAN do it by sub-category (ie – all tops first), but you do lose some of the effect by doing it this way. You then pick up each individual item and hold it in your hands and see if it “sparks joy”. At first this feels a little odd, but it is a very effective way to go through the process, and in most cases you will know immediately if the item sparks joy or not. If it does, it goes in the keep pile, if not, it goes in the discard pile. This method is not about minimalism – it is about only surrounding yourself with things you love. Imagine how it would feel to open a closet or a drawer and see ONLY items you love in there. Imagine how much less decision-making there would be if you could grab ANYTHING, even with your eyes closed, and know it fits you well and you love how it makes you feel when you wear it. That’s how your whole house will feel by the time you’re done with this process!

The beauty of decluttering by category, is that once you are done with a category, you are really done that category. No finding more clothes lurking in other places later, because you took the time to gather them ALL up first. Clothing is the first category, and let me tell you, it is very motivating to keep going once you have that done. You realize how fantastic it feels, and you want your whole home to feel that way! Moving through your home category by category, literally no item in your home will be untouched. You will have phsically made contact with every item you own – not only will you know exactly what you have by the time you are done, but by connecting with each object and either choosing to keep or release it, you will have a newfound appreciation for your belongings.

Marie also emphasizes that it’s important to follow the categories in order. There is a reason that clothing is first, and sentimental is last. Decluttering is like a muscle, the more you work it, the better you get at it. So by starting with the easier categories, you learn to let go of things, and by the time you get to the sentimental category, you have become very good at learning what you can let go of, and what items truly spark joy. You can’t honour the posessions you love if they are buried under objects you don’t.

Although I have been working on minimizing our posessions for a long time, it gets exhausting to be in constant declutter mode. I feel like my house is never truly “done”.  Kondo assures us that if you follow her method, then you will only have to do it once, and after that it’s just a matter of putting things back where they belong.

Now I admit there are some quirky parts in the book – things like thanking your posessions before releasing them. I’ve already been used to doing things like this, as I am a believer in the power of gratitude, but for some of you it might feel a little strange. I believe that gratitude is the door to abundance, and by thanking the objects for serving their purpose in our life, it makes it easier to release them and create space for more abundance.

I look forward to the feeling of freedom that will come with knowing that every item in my home is something that I love. Knowing that every nook and cranny is fully decluttered. I look forward to being able to spend more time with my children, because I won’t constantly feel like we need to tidy up the house.

I would love if you would join me in this adventure! It’s important to read the book if you want to join in, in order to only have to do this once, you really need to understand Kondo’s method. It’s more than a book about decluttering – it’s really an entirely different way of looking at your possessions. It’s a small book, and it won’t take you long to get through it!

If you feel like your house is bursting at the seams, or if you always feel slightly uneasy in your home, because it seems there is always something that needs to be done, or even if, like me, your home is mostly decluttered, but you feel like something just isn’t quite “clicking”, then this book is for you.

Post a reply in the comments if you’re planning to join me! I’ll post regular updates as I progress through the book. I can’t wait to see the “life-changing magic”!


Read Part 2 here.

Read Part 3 here.

Read Part 4 here.

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase the book through these links, I will receive a small amount of compensation to help support my blogging work. Your price does not change. I only recommend books that I use and love. 🙂



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  1. I’m awaiting my copy of the book. I can’t wait to get started! Looking forward to following your journey

    1. Yay, that’s awesome! We are plowing through – clothes and books are done, and moving onto paper today! I’m going to post an update on the first two categories. 🙂

    1. I completely agree, Nicole! We are plowing through as quickly as possible so that we can get back to the stuff that matters – playing and being creative! I can’t wait until our home feels light. 🙂 It is feeling so much better already just having done clothes, books and papers. Today we are starting office/homeschool supplies. Have you seen my clothing post yet? 🙂

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