Instead of organizing our homes only to have junk pile up again and again, Kondo’s approach to tidying up is a one-and-done affair. Her method involves actively deciding whether each item really adds value and discarding the rest. It is about living in the present, prioritizing the things that we need and that make us feel good. It is a minimalist approach to minimalism. This can lead to improvements in other areas of life, namely more confidence, better relationships, and a reduced sense of need.
One might get the impression that all the junk being discarded is bad for the environment. While many things will inevitably end up in the landfill during the initial purge, there is a potential to sell or donate clothes, electronics, and other items. After the liquidation, the individual is much less a consumer, actively deciding whether new items are truly necessary. The person can live more humbly, in a smaller home that requires less energy to operate. The reduced mental load allows the individual to channel his or her energy to more productive or creative pursuits.
The stuff we own tells the story of our past interests, pursuits, and needs. Tidying up is about respecting every object, thanking it for the role it has played in our lives, and deciding how we want our current and future lives to be. This approach can help alleviate the stress of discarding items that no longer add value, while making those objects we decide to keep last longer.
I can’t wait to read Kondo’s second book, which is supposed to provide illustrations to help implement her approach. Some of the clothes-folding techniques presented in the first book seem especially difficult to implement without visuals.
Tidying once has positive impact on other areas of life – life transforming
People who follow this method will not have to re-clean
– “never revert to clutter again”
– continue to declutter but never rebound
Involves discarding unnecessary items
“art of organizing”
Kondo offers a course, probably mostly in Japan
approach is not a technique – but putting things where they belong
root of problem in mind – problem of mindset
adopting the mindset is a technique – KonMari method
Little at a time not an effective approach
Cleaning in one fell swoop prevents rebound, empowering to keep space in order ever after
Aim for perfection because we are bad at commitment
Two decisions: what to discard, and where to put the thing
Storage solutions not the answer, hiding things we don’t really need
Exercise self control and resist storing until after evaluation
Tidy by category not location: “clothes today books tomorrow”
– otherwise we can’t grasp the overall quantity of stuff
3 types of people
– can’t discard
– can’t put away
2 types of tidying
– special event – what this book pushes for
– daily use and putting away – inevitable part of life
Finish discarding first
Don’t even think of putting things away until discarding
Begin by identifying goal
Deep visualization of outcome
Ultimately to be happy
When deciding to keep or discard, ask for each item “does this give me joy?”
Lay all items in a category out.
Things stored out of sight are dormant.
Do not start with items that are hard to decide about, e.g. mementos
3 qualities an item can have
– Emotional attachment
Don’t let others interfere or even see what you discard, especially parents. Extra especially for mother-daughter.
Getting family to tidy up: tidy your own space first. This will inspire them. Do not try to force them.
– also allows one to tolerate a different level of tidiness among family members
If you want to give something to others, consider if they would actually like it before offering
Tidying can be meditative. Quiet space, potentially don’t even listen to music. Shoot for early morning
Two types of reasoning: intuitive and rational.
Rational actually causes problems since we can rationalize keeping something, while intuitive is more straightforward.
Examine things like when you bought it, how often you wear it, etc.
That item has completed its role, even of only to teach what does not suit you.
Express gratitude for things you get rid of. They played a role in your life.
Follow this order: Clothes, books, papers, misc., mementos
– Hanging clothes (jackets, suits, etc)
– Specific clothes (swimsuits, kimonos)
If you do not wear it out, do not demote that item to loungewear
Fold clothes correctly
Prefer folding over hanging
Store clothes vertically and compactly.
Clothing should match height of drawer
All clothing stands on edge, adjacent, not stacked
Organize by category
Kimonos have always been folded into rectangles to fit a matched storage solution
Never bunch up socks. They need a chance to rest.
Store clothes so they rise to the right. Heavy on the left, light in the right.
Heavy = dark, long, thick
Light = bright, lightweight
Do this within each category as well
Do not store off-season clothes separately
Keep all clothes ready to be used year-round
Do not over-categorize, e.g. by season or activity
Better to store more generally, e.g. cotton-like and wool-like
Only store truly seasonal items like swimsuits and mittens
Remove all books and put on floor
Categories of books
Unread books: sometimes means never
Same with half-read books
Does the book move you?
Get rid of moderate pleasure books
Do not transcribe books that you aren’t currently reading
Get rid of all but those required legally to keep
No need for filing system
For necessary but infrequent store in file folder
For more frequent store vertically but do not subdivide. Continually refer these to “needs attention”
Seminar materials. Be more present at the seminar potentially taking notes. Otherwise plan to discard.
Do not keep billing statements and the like
Sort one by one
– Valuables (passports etc)
– Household tools
– Household supplies
– Kitchen tools
Save gifts that bring joy
Gifts that don’t bring joy: discard
Gifts are meant to be received, if they are not really “received” by the person they should not be kept around
Get rid of electronics boxes and miscellaneous cords
Spare buttons discard, but for coats sew another to the lining
Do not send unused things to parents/friends. That is not truly tidying up.
Keepsakes: treasure how we have grown through past relationships, not the specific items
After tidying you will know exactly how much you need. Different people will have different amounts. You will realize what gives you joy, and will not rebound
Everything has its appropriate place
For families, each person has one spot for his/her stuff, and no communal space
Forget about flow planning. Better to have distinct, individual space.
Never pile things including books and clothes. Vertical storage is much better:
– stacking can be done nearly infinitely, there is a limit when things are side by side
– things at the bottom of a pile have a lot of pressure on them, and we are less likely to access the item
No need to buy storage solutions. Use what you already have.
Shoeboxes and their lids are one of the best solutions
Small Apple products like iPhones have ideal size boxes for drawer dividers
More important to finish organizing than to go out and buy a storage solution. Then when finished, can go out and buy solutions you really like
Empty bag every day
Keep things out of the bath and kitchen sink
Dry shampoo bottles with towel and put in cupboard to prevent scum buildup
Store dry sponges and soap under sink
Squeeze sponge after use and dry. She recommends no dish rack but dish rack is probably best for drying in temperate regions
Store oils, salt, etc in cupboards, not near stove. Easy to clean and looks neat
Top shelf of bookshelf is personal shrine
Transform home into sacred space
Decorate closet with very personal items
Unpack and organize new clothing immediately
Do not buy things in bulk. More economical to consider storage space. Better to buy as needed
Information takes a lot of space. Remove labels from things
Appreciate belongings, even with verbal affirmations for their support
Just as we need a home to return to, giving our objects a home gives them the respect they deserve.
When you treat belongings well they will respond in kind.
Tidying helps people discover what they really want to do
Our possessions recount our decisions, tidying lets us decide what we really like.
It’s about subtracting, removing invisible weight, instead of adding.
More effect than feng shui etc.
Lives of those who tidy are dramatically altered.
When having trouble deciding, consider if it is an attachment to the past or fear of the future
Even mass-produced items are unique to us
Without clutter, easier to clean. We want to clean and do it more often. Better for health. We also learn to become content.
Organize by color, lighter in the front darker in back has calming effect
Owning only what we love and need is the most natural state
Things that are cherished shine
“Life truly begins after you put your house in order”