Monday, 6 April 2015

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying - Part 1

I recently bought and read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying: A simple, effective way to banish clutter forever* by Marie Kondo.  I'd seen mention and rave reviews of this book in multiple places online, and thought I would give it a go.

I found the book very motivating, and I really feel that it could work!  As I attempt to implement her ideas, I will document my progress and findings here.

Part One - Categories (aka Sorting My Tights)

When I was not very far through the book, I became inspired to make a start.  Marie recommends tidying via categories (such as clothes, books), rather than area (such as room, cupboard, drawer).  You can break the categories down as much as you like, the important thing is to gather together everything in that group that you own and to handle each item.

I started with a sub-category of clothes - tights.  (Yep, starting small - wouldn't want to overwhelm myself!)

Quite by accident I realised the benefit of making sure you've got every part of that category in front of you.  I'd emptied all the tights out of my underwear drawer, and out of a bag under the bed, and set about handling each item and deciding whether to keep or discard it (whilst wondering why on earth I had so many tights, as I spend 90% of my time in jeans or trousers!)

I was nearly done when I had a niggling feeling I'd missed something.  Ah, hiding under the bed was yet another bagful!  (Why, oh why, did I have so many tights?!)  Luckily I was still in the zone and rethought some of what I'd already done.  There were some tights that I'd kept that now, in light of the extras I'd found, no longer made the cut.  For example, I'd kept a pair of a certain type as it was the only one I had, although it was a bit tatty.  When I discovered two more in good condition, that pair could go.

I realised how important it was to gather a whole category together, to better enable you to make decisions regarding them.  You are better able to choose whether to keep or discard if you can see everything you have in front of you.

In addition, if I had remembered the extra bag of tights at a later time, I probably would have just shoved them back under the bed, as I'd already sorted and tidied away my tights and wouldn't want to have to go through them again and redo what I thought I'd already done.  Or I would have crammed them in with the rest of the ordered tights, just to have them in the same place, ultimately undoing all the good work I'd done and setting myself back again.

I know tights are pretty insignificant items, but these lessons also apply to the bigger things we need to sort and tidy too.  Forgetting the extra bag under the bed provided some backup to the KonMari method of sorting by categories.  It hit home that she really might be on to something here!

When I think about it now, it seems pretty obvious to sort and tidy in that way.  However, I had always sorted by area.  Even when going through clothes, I would deal with a drawer at a time, or a rail of the wardrobe.  It's quite demotivating when you've worked on a drawer, sorted through a pile of t-shirts, stored the keepers neatly back in place, to then find t-shirts in other spots.  How do they fit in?  It's in that way that tidied spots deteriorate into messy spots again.

This is why Marie Kondo says that you should only store the items away once you have handled everything in that category and made your decisions regarding discarding.  At that point you know exactly what you need to store and can neatly put them in place.  From then, there is absolutely no reason for the neat storage of that category to ever get messed up again.  Every item has a spot, and once used can be returned to it.

I still have a lot more work to do in 'Kondo-ing' my home, and will pop back to let you know how I'm getting on.

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1 comment:

  1. I'm like you, I usually work on areas. When you think about it, it does make more sense to work on a type. I shall have to put this into practice. Thank you for sharing.