I’ve always struggled with my living space being so cluttered. Is it dirty or is stuff just everywhere? Am I a hoarder? Why am I stressed out?

On one of my most recent Netflix binges, I stumbled across the show “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” and was immediately interested. I did a little research on Marie and learned about how well-versed her studies into the field are (and yes, it’s considered a field, and I hope you will consider it one too after reading this).

Marie’s method is both simple and complex in the best way possible. I watched the whole Netflix series and read her book, “The life-changing magic of tidying,” and let me tell you, I now look at the living space and tidying completely different.

She starts her book with the acknowledgement that sometimes it can be hard to tidy and that you need to have a more positive frame of mind as well as proper training for how to declutter and tidy. Changing your mindset and being grateful for the stuff you have and that sparks joy for you is the lesson overall that Marie teaches. By doing this, you learn about what you need and appreciate in life, allowing you to stay tidy and neat.

There are five main lessons she teaches:

  • clothing
  • books
  • paper
  • komono (miscellaneous items)
  • sentimental items

Marie shares why you need to follow the process in this order. It allows the decluttering process to get easier and easier as you go along.

  1. Clothing

The first thing she has her clients do is take out every piece of clothing you have and put it in a pile on the bed. Here you allow yourself to see how many clothes you have and can overall make the process more realistic. Marie then says to pick up each item of clothing and hold it in your hands. If the item sparks joy for you, keep it. If not, get rid of it. Whenever you get rid of an item, however, you thank it. Thank it for protecting your body, for making you feel good at one point in time, or for existing. If you struggle with some items, set them aside and give them a little more thought, but ultimately, if the answer is not yes, then it’s no.

Other lessons within the lesson is how to fold and store clothes. She has several easy ways to fold things into neat rectangles that are to be placed in drawers vertically so you can see everything.

2. Books

Books are looked at fairly similar to clothing. Put all the books you own in a pile in the floor, hold each one, keep the ones that spark joy for you, and thank the ones that no longer do and get rid of them. From there, separate them out by categories: General, Practical (textbooks, reference guides), Visual (photography) and Magazines. By doing this, it helps keep everything of the same type together.

3. Paper

Marie’s number one saying for paper: throw it all away if it’s not currently in use, needed for a limited time, or must be kept indefinitely. Other than that, throw it away; it’s taking up too much space. Now, Marie discusses in her book that their may be types of papers you might have collections of, and the most important one for students is study materials. When I read her philosophy, basically if you have the materials so that you won’t forget it, you just need to take the course again because you don’t fully understand the material. If you actually learned the material, the paper wouldn’t matter to you because you can put that knowledge into practice (I know right, Marie Kondo is coming for my life).

Once done with the decluttering process, Marie suggests organizing it into two categories: papers to be saved and papers that need to be dealt with.

4. Komono

Here is the majority of the possessions we own. Here are the few items listed to go through next.

  • CDs, DVDs
  • skincare products
  • makeup
  • accessories
  • valuables (passport, credit cards)
  • electrical equipment
  • household equipment (stationary)
  • household supplies (medicine)
  • kitchen goods/food
  • other (hobby supplies)

The process is the same for the komono. If it doesn’t spark joy, thank it and get rid of it. Marie also lists things that we keep “just because.” These things include gifts, mobile phone packages, random cords, spare buttons, appliance boxes, cosmetic samples, broken TVs, extra bedding not in use, and free novelty goods. Remember, if it doesn’t spark joy, thank it and get rid of it.

5. Sentimental items

Marie dubs this lesson as the hardest lesson because of the emotional attachment we have to those things. The things we love and can’t part with, we can store in a place that sparks joy to us. Marie suggests a decorative box for the things and to store it in a place so that you can allow it to bring you joy.

Once you are able to trust the process, Marie ensures that the tidying method will change your life along with the way your living space exists.

I am really excited to actually do the process in my own living space. Stay tuned for an update on my Konmari tidying journey.

If you get the chance, read Marie’s book and watch the Netflix show. She is amazing and magical in every sense of the word.

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