I don’t want to sound too dramatic, but I stumbled across a book a few months ago and eventually got a chance to read it. And it really has changed my outlook. Here is what happened.
I was getting ready to take a long flight to London, so I was at my local bookstore, getting a guidebook, and saw this book on display, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” It was on the best-seller shelf and because it was small in size, I figured, what a perfect book to read on a long flight…
…except I never read it. I slept through my flight instead. A month later, I ended up gifting it to a friend as we both joked that it would be good for her adult daughter!
And then, one day, I was looking through my Facebook feed and saw this post:
The review of the book looked so interesting and simple that I immediately went to the bookstore and purchased another copy. This time, I read it right away. It’s only a couple hundred pages, so it went fast. And Marie Kondo’s methodology was so simple.
Marie is actually a Japanese organizing consultant, who started organizing her home when she was young. She developed a unique approach to de-cluttering. In fact, two things were especially intriguing to me.
First, Marie said the first thing you must do—before you even start—is decide why you want to tidy up or de-clutter. So, I had to think hard about that one. I realized that I did not want to look at anything I didn’t like anymore.
She also claimed that if you followed her exact order of tidying up—clothes first and personal mementos and photos last—that you would never go back to your previous habits.
Two months later, this is what I have to report.
When you follow Marie’s way, you start by taking all your clothes and putting them on the floor in the middle of the room. If you have a lot of clothes, you do them by category—all tops, then all pants, and so forth. Then you pick up each piece of clothing and ask yourself, “Do I feel joy?” And if the answer is no, then you thank the piece of clothing and put it in the give-away pile.
I had to prepare myself mentally (which she coaches you on in the book) to not worry about a gift I was given by a friend or family member, clothes that didn’t fit anymore or that I didn’t feel good in but were super expensive. Once you remind yourself of why you are tidying up, it becomes super easy.
Would you like to know how I did?
I ended up giving away about 50 percent of the clothes in my closet and about 30 percent of my costume jewelry to Working Wardrobes, a local charity. I thanked each piece of clothing for its service, and now other women can benefit from it!
I realized I had 100 pairs of shoes and gave away 27 that I never wore, were not comfortable, or were worn out but I had been hanging on to “just because.” Coincidentally, once I purged my unneeded shoes, the remaining pairs fit perfectly into my shoe closet.
I emptied my bookshelves at home and donated more than half of the cookbooks and novels I had collected over the years. My first job ever was in our local library, so I was thrilled to drop off my books there to allow other people to enjoy. I only kept my favorite books that I know I will continue to enjoy and that will give me joy.
On to my office at Frieda’s. Years ago I learned about the Chinese art of feng shui. One of my greatest lessons was that if the area you are looking at is messy, crowded, or disorganized, you will feel messy and disorganized. With that in mind, I applied the same principles of the book at my office.
Now I’m encouraging my coworkers to do the same. In fact, everyone is getting excited and participating! For starters, we have removed all the filing cabinets in the accounting department and gone digital. After all, there were 27, most of which were empty! And then there were three spare desks outside my office which I finally had taken away. I actually found myself breathing easier and feeling more relaxed.
In the last two months, I have purchased multiple copies of Marie’s book and have been gifting them to friends and coworkers. I posted about my journey and success on Facebook and based on the comments, shares and likes, I can tell that I have inspired many others to de-clutter.
So, if you want to breathe easier, get a sense of accomplishment, and make room in your life for new opportunities and inspiration, you may want to try the KonMari method of organizing.