The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up - book summary

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The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing - Marie Kondo

Rating: 8/10

Short Summary

Having a clutter free environment is a key enabler for your own well being and to your productivity as well. To achieve this goal, we need to go through three main phases.

First discarding, removing any item that doesn’t spark joy to your life.

Second is categorisation by grouping similar items together and create a “home” for every item.

Third stage is creating a system to protect you from cluttering your home ever again.

Notes

There is a key difference between cleaning via storing thing or discarding them. Storing things hides clutter from our sight but is destined to fail due to the lack of a system and philosophy. Tidying up properly is an essential skill that unfortunately most of us don’t learn in school or from family.

Clearing the clutter from your home can have a profound effect on your life on daily basis. Not only in terms of productivity but also it has a direct impact on your well being. The act of tidying up makes sure you only have useful things that bring joy to your life.

Tidying up also forces you to deal with your past and future mentally. The process can be very therapeutic in a good way.

To achieve that goal we need to follow proven to work methods and create systems to protect us from clutter.

KonMari method

Phase 1 – Discarding

The idea is discard thing per category. Collect all items that belong to the category in question and place them all in one spot. To realise how much stuff you actually own you must see it all of it in one spot. To me personally it was a surprise as I thought I am already a minimalist.

Most of us tend to be attached to our items but discarding is a learnable skill.

Starting discarding per category starting with an easy category up toward to harder ones. The recommended order is:

  1. Clothes – including shoes, bags.
  2. Books
  3. Paper – receipts, documents, newspapers, etc..
  4. Miscellaneous – kitchen stuff, electronics, etc..
  5. Sentimental – items that have a sentimental value for you

Phase 2 – Categorisation

The philosophy here is to order your items in a way that you see all of it at a glance and place similar items next to each other.

To group items together, boxes are an amazing tool for that. For example you can place all your socks in an old shoe boxes.

An example of how to fold cloth.

Phase 3 – The System

The main idea is to put systems in place to protect you from clutter and help you make quick decisions about what happen to new items that come to your house.

For example immediately when you get a letter, read it and decide if you want to keep it or discard it. If you decide to keep it then you should put it in its dedicate spot aka “home”.

Since all the items will be stored in a way that you see all of it, you will notice immediately if you have any extra stuff that need discarding.