Minimalism is an excellent goal, but many people struggle to get cutter under control. I’ve been working on decluttering and minimalizing my life for years. I’ve done monthly runs to Goodwill, dropping off box after box of things I no longer need. I’ve gone to the dump to throw away broken things that wouldn’t fit in my garbage can. I’ve read countless articles on decluttering. Still, I look around at my space and see clutter. Where did all this stuff come from?
When I picked up “The Magic Art of Tidying Up” (TMATU), I thought it was silly. The book has a whimsical title, but I’d heard good things so I dove in. In my opinion, TMATU has been one of the most helpful and inspirational items that I’ve had during my decluttering process. My experience with decluttering books is they focused on the negative. They have time limits like if you haven’t worn it in 6 months or they make strange suggestions, take photos of your sentimental items and keep those. Instead, the basic concept of Marie Kondo’s book is emotionally positive. You choose to keep items in your home as opposed to deciding which items to get rid of. Starting with the assumption that nothing is staying, and collecting the things you care about to keep was a game changing thought process for me. I especially loved the concept that everything I own should bring me “Joy”. I should survey my house and should feel happy to see my things, not overwhelmed.
Her main method, is to lay everything of the same type (shirts, papers, books, etc) in the center of the room, and hold each item individually. You then decide whether the item “brings you joy”. If it doesn’t, you thank if for its service and give it away. This ritual of sorting through all my belongings felt fulfilling. It allowed me to get rid of a lot of things I was holding on to, not because I loved them, but just because I had them. This dramatically increased the number of things I could get rid of. I was sorting and keeping the items that I wanted around me. I was making a home where I loved and cherished every item in it.
My favorite part was I didn’t just take my stuff and throw it in the garbage, I thanked the items I was getting rid of. I recognized that even if it didn’t “bring me joy”, the items did do something for me. And thanking my processions and recognizing that fact, it was a lot easier to let go of the objects that I was neutral or a little sentimental about.
She also suggests that the entire declutter process take place over the course of one weekend to ensure you don’t lose momentum and to truly process all the clutter before you start organizing. My calendar is so busy there is no way that would work, so I created a 30 day challenge to tackle the KonMari method in a timely manner while being a little more flexible of my busy life.
The Magic Art of Tidying Up helped kick start my minimalism goals after years of dragging on. The small annoyances I felt reading the book in English was all but made up with the joy and calmness I felt being able to let go of so many things and send them off to find new homes where they would bring joy. I’m doing the Magical Month of Tidying Up again for my January Resolution. If you are interested in following my month long KonMari 30 day challenge, you can download the free printable here.