The most life changing book I have ever read

About half a month ago my wife showed me a talk on google videos.  It was by Marie Kondo you can watch it here.  That talk was about her method of tidying up the house and how it can change your life. After watching her video I ordered her book The life-changing magic of tidying up. I strongly recommend reading it. It’s only around 250 pages and is very easy to read.

the life-changing magic of tidying up

Her method is simple;

First, decide on what your ideal lifestyle is. When she says this she means specific day to day items. For example I want to do morning exercises everyday. You then have to ask why repeatedly until you get to the very crux of your ideal. Basically why you think that would be an aspect of your ideal lifestyle. It can’t be vague. For example I want a glamorous lifestyle is too big picture. You’ll have to break it down into smaller bits.

Next, get all the clothes you own in the house, every single item and put it on the floor. The idea is that it stuns your brain to see just how much stuff you have. Pick up every item one by one once it’s on the floor and ask yourself if this sparks joy in your life. If it doesn’t have the spark of joy throw it out. If you want you can subcategorise this so that you’re dealing with only shirts, then only pants, etc. I just did it all at once.

You then do this same process for every category of item going in this order; clothes, books, documents, misc, memorabilia. For books she suggests don’t keep a book just because you haven’t read it. There’s a good chance that you only bought that book to teach you that it isn’t to your tastes. The decision for books is the same as the clothes, does it spark joy? If you have books that you need for school or work that don’t spark joy she says to talk to the book about why the book is important and why you need it until it does spark joy. Be careful though, don’t just talk all your belongings into being joyful for you. The decision is meant to come from your instinct not from your reasoning.  You can reason anything into usefulness. This will work against you though.

For documents she says you only need two categories; need to do now and need for life. The first one is documents you need to do right now. The second is documents you need for life such as birth certificates, diplomas and so on. Throw everything else away. If you really think you may need it but aren’t sure you can always scan it into your computer.

For memorabilia she stresses the importance of not holding onto the past. It’s not about whether the thing brought you joy. It’s if it brings you joy now. Treasure the memory and let things go. She says a lot on this topic.

Once you’ve finished deciding on what you want you then decide where things go. She stresses the importance of putting everything in the same place. Don’t scatter your possessions around the place. Have one place for books, one place for clothes, one place for electronics etc. This way you can keep track of what you have easily.

After all this you will have a house full of things you love and only things you love. This is a very powerful thing. My wife and I have been going through our belongings for the past three weeks, we have two kids so the process is a bit slower than it would be if you didn’t. So far we have thrown out around about 10 rubbish bags full of stuff as well as done five trips to the recycling shop. Over the weekend we did everything to do with the kitchen. Now our kitchen is ridiculously neat and clean. We threw out so many things that we didn’t even know we had. Please note though, this process isn’t about throwing things out. It’s about deciding what you want to keep in your life. We haven’t finished yet but already I am happier for it. I strongly recommend watching the video, reading the book and doing it immediately. Don’t worry this is a once only event which will inform you of what you value, who you want to be and what you want to do.

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