I have wanted to speak about this book for so long! You may have realised that if you read my January Favourites where this book gets it’s first mention! I’m not even sure if I will be able to cram in everything I have to say into one blog post. This process has been so deep for me, that I am making new observations each day even several months later. I knew I needed time to really digest the information and the process the book takes you through but I feel like now, right at we are entering spring cleaning season is probably the best time to share my experiences! As you may have guessed from today’s title, I am discussing The Life Changing Magic of Tidying. I had known about this book for quite some time yet it had never really caught my eye. I suppose I already thought of myself as a tidy person, I would routinely have clearcuts of my possessions and I liked to keep my room fairly minimal. (I’m an all-neutrals decor sort of person, and I don’t even like to hang things on the walls) I actually ended up reading The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck first, I think I had originally bought it to see me through a long train journey. I then became determined to get my hands on the original inspiration!
I won’t go too deep into the methods taught in this book or even the reasons why Marie so strongly believes that everyone should learn to tidy. I think if this is something that you’re interested in then it’s really worth reading the book and hearing her perspective for yourself. I will however give you a quick breakdown. For those of you who don’t know, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying is a book by Japanese tidying expert Marie Kondo on her signature technique of tidying, the KonMari method. Yes you heard that right, this woman spends her days visiting her clients houses teaching them how to put their things in order, once and for all. Her two main focus’s on keeping the ultimate state of balance in the home? First discarding that which does not bring you joy and secondly; finding somewhere to keep each and every item in the house.
“This incredibly easy method will not just transform your space, it will change you too. You will feel more confident, become more successful and be motivated to create the life you want.”
– Marie Kondo
I mean, who doesn’t want that? I’m aware that sounds like a pretty large claim for a book about tidying. Does it live up to its promise? I can’t speak on behalf of everyone who has ever read this but I can share how it has been for me!
The Process of Tidying
I read the book and was so full of excitement to get started. I prepared exactly how Marie said, I visualised how I wanted my room to look, I made lists of what to do first and how to do it, I cleared my schedule, I got the bin bags ready and I was filled with a strange rush of excitement. (I say strange because I don’t usually equate “tidying” to “exciting) Initial optimism aside, this process was not easy. At first I was getting through things pretty quickly and felt so satisfied anytime I tossed something on the “no” pile. That night I stared into my bare wardrobe and I had a panicked feeling of “oh dear god what have I done?” (similar to the mild type of horrified feeling you usually get when staring into the mirror after you’ve let a hairdresser talk you in chopping a huge chunk of your hair off) After that first night, things slowed down. As I moved onto the more sentimental categories it become more and more difficult to discard. I was taking longer to work through things and it seemed like the piles were growing as I was discovering more stuff of mine, tucked away in forgotten corners of the house. The finish line seemed to be fading away into the distance. It was taking weeks longer than I initially thought. Plus I was still having to live with the bags of discarded items. I had decided what I didn’t want but was yet to have a proper sort through them to decide what was going to friends, what was going to charity shops and what needed to be thrown away. Marie also says it’s best not to show your family the extent of what you’re parting with so I was sleeping with around 6 full bin bags of clothes stacked around my already small room which kind of sent me into a weird headspace. Probably because it reminded me of the Junk Lady scene in Labyrinth which has always freaked me out. (Inserted below, for your viewing pleasure.)
The End Result
“Your real life begins after putting your house in order”
– Marie Kondo
The feeling when this process was finished (I say “finished” loosely, as it is always a work in progress) was one that I will never forget. Like I said, it is still a process even now. As I rearrange my room, order new pieces of decor and get rid of the last few items (things like selling my old electronics) I look at my sentimental items and know that I could still stand to lose some more, I look at my shelves full of old journals and wonder if I should just burn them as opposed to using them as material for a strange yet hopefully endearing one-woman play on my childhood that my brain keeps enthusiastically insisting I’ll create. I dream up the ideal storage solutions every time I look at my makeshift ones but ultimately I am content with what I have right now. It may sound like a large claim but they way I live my life has shifted, improved and upgraded in ways that I cannot explain! My room now feels inspiring, I am surrounded with beautiful things. Clearing out my wardrobe has left me to be more free with how I dress. I can now roll out my yoga matt and actually practise in my bedroom and at night; I sit back in my white bedding, leaning back on the peach cushions I hadn’t taken out of their wrapping for a year, I look round my peaceful room as I write in my diary and I think to myself how beautiful this all is and how uplifted I feel.
The Effects Overall
Getting into the habit of assessing what is no longer useful in your life helps you to make some very important personal decisions. I decided that a night that I loved running had to go, it was time. I said no to some great opportunities that weren’t going to pay me, I become more protective of my time and energy, I stopped trying to people please, I had enough time to actually get quiet and listen to my body to the point where I realised there was something up, prompting me to get a blood test and learn I had two different nutrient deficiencies. I focused on what was important and got greater clarity with my career. I was able to learn more and retain new pieces of information, after letting go of a heap of thoughts/worries that no longer needed my attention. How could clearing out your room possibly be so significant? There is really nothing I can say that would effectively explain it but for me, I can agree that this process has been indeed, life-changing. At the start of the process I genuinely thought I didn’t need this as I am “always” tidying. But this is different. This is one thorough way of putting your things and your life in order, once and for all. If you are even remotely interested in this process and concept then I strongly recommend you buy this book.
“Although not large, the space I live in is graced with only the things that speak to my heart. My lifestyle brings me joy. Wouldn’t you like to live this way too?”
– Marie Kondo
I hope you’ve enjoyed my take on this book that has became a downright sensation! If you’ve read any other books on minimalism/decluttering I’d love to hear your suggestions! Next on the list is The Financial Diet by Chelsea Fagan. I’d also like to remind you that this blog is looking to feature a guest each month! Bear in mind that the aim of this platform is to celebrate creative living in all it’s many aspects, so if you’re an artist, a lifestyle enthusiast or you’re living somewhat outside of the box then I’d love to hear from you! For full details and to submit your pitch, please drop me a message via the form on the “contact” page. I’d like to turn this into a collaborative platform and involve more people from the communities that shape me. Here’s to an exciting few weeks!