the life-changing magic of tidying up

Have you all heard of this book? It's been kind of a huge deal lately. A friend of mine mentioned it the other day, and since I've been in a de-cluttering/spring cleaning mood, I thought I'd give it a whirl!

Little did I know that after finishing this book, I'd fall down the rabbit hole of getting out every single item in my house, deciding if it brought me joy, and then deciding whether to keep it or discard it (hint: if it didn't bring me joy, I didn't keep it!).

The process went like this:  

1) Remove all items of a single category (like clothes, books, papers, etc) from their storage place and lay them out in front of you.

2) Touch each item individually and ask yourself "Does this spark joy?" 

3) If the answer is no, place it in a donation/recycle/trash pile. 

4) If the answer is yes, decide on where you will store it, and commit to that place as where it belongs (i.e. my hairbands now belong nowhere except in the little box in the bathroom)

Here we are, getting out all of the books:

(Don't worry, Tina made the cut)

It's crazy, but this process has actually been sort of life changing for me. I'm naturally a cluttery/lazy sort of person with mild hoarder tendencies, which means we have a lot of stuff and a lot of times it ends up all over the place. But now that 1) I've gotten rid of the items I don't love and 2) I've decided that every single item I own has a specific place that it belongs, I don't have all sorts of junk to leave out, and I don't leave out the things I do have because I know where they belong. 

The cds we got rid of--about 80, if I remember right!

Something I had to try hard to remind myself was NOT to think "Will it be useful?" I discovered that if an item does not bring me joy, it will never be useful, because I won't use it! This was a sort of ground-breaking realization for me--that I don't have to keep an item "just in case" I need it (with the exception of items that are very expensive, rare, or hard to replace). 

It's so funny, we thought we loved all of the items in our home, but apparently we didn't, as evidenced by everything we found that didn't bring us joy.

In the end, I spent about 30 hours in the past week sorting through items, with the result being about 2 bags of trash, 3 bins of recycling, and 5 boxes of books (about 150) and 20 garbage bags full of items to donate. 

I would definitely recommend this book to everyone I know. That means you! Even if you are not a cluttery or hoardery person, it's very empowering to walk around your space and know that every single item, from the paperclips to the violin, brings you joy. 


bRob said…
That's awesome! I saw someone else mention this book but...well...she was sort of a neat freak so i completely disregarded it. Was it interesting? How long did it take to go through all your things? My apartment looks like a thrift store upchucked...
julis said…
I bought this book! I haven't read it yet, because I am a "cluttery/lazy sort of person with mild hoarder tendencies" !!! You have inspired me. I will read the book. And get rid of everything that doesn't bring me joy. >_<
Demarae said…
Oh my gosh!! It only took you a week??? I cannot get my mind around that. I read the book (literally life changing) a little over a month ago. I got clothes, books and papers done within that first week, but then I got sick. And then I got sick again. And now I'm in a funk again. I need to look through. Its hard when you have other people's stuff in your house too (ie husband and kids) and can't just get rid of all their stuff you don't like. Lame. But it's made such a difference for my bedroom (no more piles of clothes) and my wallet. Im sort of a target and thrift store addict and used to always come home with stuff because it was cute and on sale. Hasn't happened since I read the book. I bought one shirt and a really cool kids book at the thrift store last week. It's amazing!!!! Now to finish all the komono.
Michele said…
I did it like a month ago! I wasn't in love with it, but it was a good book for me to read. The best advice was thinking what your vision for your home would be and not to let your mother know what you are tossing it. ;)

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