The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

If you've seen me in person in the last week or we have e-mailed, chances are that I talked your ear off about The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.  I haven't read or listened to anything that has motivated me as much maybe ever?  As soon as I started reading this book, I couldn't wait to get home and start de-cluttering our house (which, for the record, is not particularly cluttered to begin with).  The gist of the book is the following:

  • Put your hands on everything you own and ask yourself if it sparks joy.  If it doesn't, thank it for its service and get rid of it.
  • Once only the most joy-giving belongings remain, put every item in its place where it is visible, accessible, and easy to grab and then put it in its place every time you use it.

This approach might sound hokey (sparks joy?) but it really works.  I was finally able to part with a number of clothing items that I've held onto purely because I bought them only later to discover (after one wearing the removal of tags) that I don't like how they fit, the color isn't great, etc.  I've felt guilty getting rid of them, but they just hang in my closet taking up space.  Now I can say that everything in my closet is something that I wear and, more importantly enjoy wearing.  It felt cathartic to donate a lot of items that I really don't need and use.  And the approach is not just for clothing, but also books, kitchen gadgets, papers, mementos, toys, etc.    Clothes are an easy place to start since they typically don't have sentimental value, so begin in your closet and progress toward items like photos and letters.  Two other areas where I was able to clear out a lot were books and papers.  I have a lot of books that I read in college that I've been holding onto (no idea why, I'm never going to re-read them) and books that I have received or purchased that I will probably never read.  So why keep them?  They just make me feel guilty!   

One Kings Lane did a nice summary of the book, as did The Today Show, and the NY Times interviewed the author on how to employ her techniques with children.

Has anyone else read this book and been inspired?  Do I sound totally crazy?  But has my house ever been more organized?  No, it has not.