The Life-changing Magic of Tidying

magic of tidyingI have a tendency to get a little, um, obsessed by things and my ‘thing’ of the moment is tidying the house. This, in itself, is pretty magical. Or, if you prefer, crazy-unusual.

I love my home and my ‘stuff’ and like to keep a basically sanitary environment (clean kitchen and bathroom, hoover-up the hair balls once a week) but I’m not a great housekeeper or what you’d call anywhere near house proud.

However, over the last couple of years I’ve been feeling less comfortable and happy in my home and more ‘argh, I’m going to get buried under all this STUFF’. You know when you go to sort out a tower of clutter and just end up wandering from room to room, searching for places to put things, and then, defeated, you put the pile back down again? That.

I like to think of myself as a reasonably non-materialistic person. I don’t often shop as a recreational activity and hardly ever buy clothes for myself. However, there are four of us in a modestly-sized bungalow and I do have tiny book-buying addiction (although that counts as business-related, right?).

Add in my thrifty mindset, which has always been of the ‘make do and mend’ and ‘keep hold of it in case I need it/can upcycle it’ bent, then it’s not surprising that we ran out of places to store the clutter quite some time ago.

Even knowing all of this, I thought I was keeping on top of things fairly well. I have regular decluttering sessions and am good at passing on outgrown clothes.

I had just started one of my periodic half-hearted tidying sessions, when I heard about Marie Kondo’s The Life-changing Magic of Tidying: A Simple, Effective Way to Banish Clutter Forever via this blog. It cropped up on another of my regular reads and I took the hint from the universe and bought it.

Well. This is a short book, but it’s certainly changed my thoughts on how to tidy.

The author is sweetly bonkers but I love her positive approach. She advocates showing gratitude to your home and your possessions and letting go of those which no longer bring you joy. She recommends that you focus on the things you actively want to keep, which makes the whole exercise more enjoyable.

She also recommends that you tidy by category, rather than area of the home. You gather every single item that belongs in that category and lay it out on your bed or the floor. Kondo says that this approach will really help you to see your things afresh and help you to make decisions about them and, I have to admit, she’s right. Plus, you only have to make decisions about that category once, rather than several times as you encounter items around the house.

Anyway, I started with clothes on the weekend and managed to fill seven bin bags for the charity shop. Seven! And I haven’t even started on the children’s stuff, yet…

I’m dreading the ‘books’ category so I’m going to skip it for now and go onto paperwork. I see lots of shredding in my immediate future…

So, although it is early days, I’d definitely recommend this book/her approach. For starters,  I wouldn’t have started decluttering in the ‘hidden’ spaces of my drawers/wardrobe (I would have begun with visible surfaces) but I swear the room actually feels lighter, which makes me feel motivated about tackling the rest.

How about you? Got any tidying tips? Advice for tackling my book collection?




5 responses to “The Life-changing Magic of Tidying”

  1. judy G Avatar

    You and me….sisters separated at birth…lol! I am married to someone who doesn’t collect things and is a very neat and organized person. I am not – though I can always find whatever it is I’m looking for – unless Ive been “encouraged” to clear up a few corners….and then I lose things.
    Anyway, midwinter now, and housebound a lot, it has forced me to look at my big three bedroo colonial with a fresh eye, so I’ve been taking steps – baby steps, but steps forward. I also follow the Minimalist guys…and wow, can they make you feel like a pack rat!

    What about a taller bookcase? I’m thinking of that. In addition to books (many are on Kindle and Nook now, so that helps a bit – I have a yarn addiction. I crochet a lot and knit a little. I have been trying to remind myself to use stash before buying more – but one always needs another color for a project. At least now I have the upstairs spare bedroom as my Mom Cave – and a closet for my yarn, so the downstairs is neat – mostly.

  2. srpainter Avatar

    Hi Judy! Thanks so much for reading and commenting – and for the empathy! So glad it’s not just me… I also have a yarn/fabric/papercraft addiction. Part of me is looking forward to getting all my supplies out so that I can see exactly what I’ve got, but a larger part of me is terrified of exactly that. I love the idea of a bigger bookcase, but Marie Kondo would tell us both off – she doesn’t believe in adding storage, only reducing what you have to store… Meep!

    1. judy Avatar

      Loops….then I guess it’s time to toss books I know I won’t read…lol!

  3. maggie Avatar

    Good morning Sarah, I too have found that all the ‘stuff’ I have actually makes my mind unable to fully relax. My wardrobe have been full of clothes crammed in and the result of that is me only pulling out the same clothes to wear! The other day I took some time and got rid of some and organised my clothes to summer and winter and put all my colourful scarfs together on one hanger. I found that not only is it less stressful going in the wardrobe now but every morning I choose something different to wear and then add a lovely shawl or scarf to it. It has made me feel so much better about myself and my husband has made some nice comments so that was really worth while!

    Have a great day Sarah and your other readers of the blog xx

  4. Sarah Avatar

    Thanks, Maggie! Well done for sorting out your wardrobe – and what a great result! I found a couple of favourite tops that I’d forgotten about, which was nice, and I’ve got a much better idea of what I actually own… Just hoping I can keep up the motivation to tackle the rest of the house. Gulp. x