Netflix recently released “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo,” a TV show based on the book from the Japanese organization expert. It’s gotten a lot of attention (and some criticism) and reignited many people’s desire to live more simply with only possessions that really make them happy. Marie’s method, known as KonMari, is inspired by principles from the Shinto religion, like being grateful for items you no longer need, treating objects with respect, and purifying one’s living space. Here are some of the best tips from Marie:
Get rid of papers
Look around your house. How many pieces of paper do you see? We live in a digital age, so while it’s okay to keep hard copies of really important documents, you don’t need to keep every paper bill that comes in the mail. I love to paint and draw, so I have a lot of of that kind of paper around, too. Recycling old scratch paper and drawings I don’t plan on displaying clears out a lot of space.
Only keep clothes you really love
Most of us have way more clothes than we actually wear. Go through your closet item by item. Take the time to really look at it, remember when you wore it last, and if you love it. If you don’t, donate it. It’s okay to have a small wardrobe and wear the same things over and over. It worked for Steve Jobs. It’s also okay to have a wardrobe that isn’t especially small, as long as you actually love every item and wear them. Marie Kondo’s method isn’t about getting rid of as many things as possible; it’s about identifying what truly makes you happy, or in her words, what sparks joy. People just tend to downsize because they realize they own a lot of things that don’t do that.
Empty your purse/bag/briefcase at the end of the day
This simple task ensures you never lose something in your bag again, and you aren’t treating it like a trashcan. You’d be surprised by how much junk ends up in your bag during the day, and cleaning it out can be really cathartic. Aim for a quick cleaning every week if every day seems unnecessary.
You don’t have to keep every gift
A lot of people keep random items around the house simply because it was a gift. If that’s the only reason you’re keeping it and you don’t really care about the item itself, it’s probably time to part ways with it. If that makes you anxious, Marie Kondo addresses this by saying the person who gave you the present wouldn’t want you to keep it out of obligation. Giving someone a gift isn’t really about “the thing,” it’s a representation of an emotion, and as long as you respect and understand that, it’s okay to let go. You also don’t have to tell the present-giver.
Keep books you really love
There’s been a misconception about Marie’s book philosophy. People keep saying she only allows 30 books, but she never said that. She just says to only keep the books you really love, just like you should only keep the clothes you really love. If you have books collecting dust and you aren’t even aware you own them, what’s the point? Donate them to a library or some other organization, where someone else can enjoy them. Books are meant to be shared, not hoarded.
The simple binder clip is a really good tool for organization. Click here for ideas on how to use them.